Sunday, June 8, 2014

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Published: June 19, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Copy: ePub Format

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?


The story started with Sloane trying to get through the morning with her father. Her life was hell. Since her sister Lily had gone to who-knows-where and she's left with her abusive father, she's made up her mind to kill herself. Until one morning, when not only her life changes but also is everything else.

When I found out that this book has zombies, I was excited to read it. I was thinking of cool fighting scenes, action-packed, complete with adrenaline rush. But it wasn't like that at all. It's not a bad thing though. In fact, This is Not a Test just made it to my favorites list.

While yes, there are zombies, the main focus of the story is Sloane battling with her feelings. All her life she depended on Lily. She trusted her so much only for her heart to be broken. I was amazed how the momentum of the story never died. 90% of the book happened in Cortege High, with the six survivors interacting, or co-existing, mostly. The only time I got the action I wanted was near the end. But never did my reading experience get dull.

There are six survivors. Every character speaks volume and adds depth to the story. Grace's kindness. Trace's longing. Harrison's fear. Cary's leadership. Rhys' understanding and rationality. Even Mr. Baxter's craziness. And of course there's Sloane. I liked how she is both determined and resigned. Her straightforwardness, her bravery and cowardice. Sloane fights her own emptiness more than the chaos around her. And though resigned as she is, she cares for the people around her.

Of all the characters, I think I ached for Cary more. He wants to survive. He tells others that they can come along with him. Not the other way around. One can say that he has this "air of selfishness" but the shift in his actions made me like him a bit more.

There'll be an e-novella sequel entitled Please Remain Calm. And I'm looking forward to reading it!

Again, this may not be the zombie novel I was hoping for. But nevertheless, I really loved it!

That's all folks!

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