Sunday, May 27, 2012

This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers: review

Goodreads rating: 4.29
Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: June 19th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: ARC tour

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
I'm not sure why I subject myself to reading books with zombies. I hate zombies. Like seriously, I hate them. They are the most likely paranormal epidemic to happen and it scares the crap out of me. But as much as I hate zombies, they seem to always be awesome in books, and this was far beyond my expectations. I think that's why I'll continue to read zombie books, because they always find a way to surprise me. This is not a test is basically a contemporary with zombies. Can you say awesome? And it's not like it's been a while since the zombie apocalypse; it happens in the very first scene of the book. I never found myself growing bored and I read it in one sitting, staying to 3 in the morning. Yeah, I liked it.

Imagine you're trapped inside your high school (I know, it sounds horrible already) while zombies are outside dying to eat you (ha! Dying...) with five other people your age that you don't really know all that well. And on top of that, you don't even want to be alive in the first place. Well, Sloane, our main character, has this problem. Her sister left her with their abusive father as soon as she turned 18, and Sloane has wanted to die ever since. This girl has so much baggage you can't help feeling sorry for her. But the other teens trapped with her have their own issues and it's all they can do not to butt heads constantly. Oh, and of course the zombies are still there, so there's that. Summers developed her characters so well in this book. Every single one. Even the absent sister. I could connect with all of them. Honestly, you can truly feel their constant pain and panic and loss.

This is more of a story about survival, not just through the zombie apocalypse, but also through death and loss and deep-seeded problems. There is some romance, which I was waiting for and it was so sweet when we got there. But it's not all unicorns and rainbows. As much as you don't want it to be true, not every one of them survives. The zombies don't go away when they all decide to get along. This story was beyond heartbreaking, but it was beautiful. If you've ever considered killing yourself seriously, read this book. I myself have not, but I know people that have. There's always a reason to live, even when it seems completely hopeless. This is one of the most heart-shattering books I've read in a long time and I highly recommend it.


  1. I don't like zombies too - I totally agree with your first three sentences - but I'm a big fan of C. Summers, so I don't doubt that she wrote this perfectly.

  2. Ah! I'm so insanely jealous that you got your hands on this book. I've seriously been pining and lusting for it ever since I read the blurb/saw the cover. There has been only one other book I wanted more then this one and that was The Night Circus. I reallllly hate waiting for this one to come out, especially with reviews like yours! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I found the book a bit boring and hard to get through. It's mostly the main character's emotional trauma dealing with her family issues and own suicidal tendencies mixed with the angsty turmoil of the other teens trapped with her who've also had various traumas (though most of theirs are related to the zombification event)

    There isn't much action - the zombie plot is pretty much a background to unrelenting depression. No cheery moments, no funny moments...

    It's not badly written, and if you like emotional drama and suicidal introspection you might like it. But don't expect there to be much drama or variety of tone...


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