Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Isbn:  9780312656744
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Paperback, 336 pages
Ages 14+

From Goodreads: 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?

Courtney Summers has this way with words and characters and emotions that is sorta like being run over with a truck again and asking the driver to back up . She's good at making you want more, even though there's so much pain involved. I've experienced it with every one of her previous books and This is Not a Test is no exception. 

I'm trying to figure out all the things that I loved about this book to write this review, and a week later I'm still a little unsure of what things to pinpoint. There's the characters, firstly. Character who, by every definition of the word hope, should have none. Their parents are dead. Their world is destroyed. They're living in the school while an army of zombies tear life apart. All of them are broken, each one in a different way. The story is told through Sloane, a girl who minutes before the zombies tore down her door, was about to kill herself. So the whole story is this battle--with her and with everyone else--about life and death. What's worth living for? How long do you fight?

Summers also did a great job weaving the zombies into the present world. It was totally believable, happening in more of a whisper than a bang. In mere seconds everything falls apart. As someone who likes all the zombie things, her interpretation was alarmingly fitting. The zombies aren't really in the forefront of the story, (as in there's no tearing of the flesh and trying to kill them all like in The Walking Dead) they're more like background noise. The lack of them, the threat of their appearance and the unknown that all that creates, only adds the tension of the book. It's like the reader is experiencing all this the same way the characters are. 

This book is a slow burn, and the more you read the more you're waiting for this moment to explode. Will it come? Will they survive? Sloane Price really makes the story for me. Her pain, her loss, her fear, the struggle that she is going through in fighting to survive, when all she really wants to do is die. What would that tension be like? What is worth fighting for? 

Some lines I loved and if I did not convince you to read This is Not a Test these lines will. 

"Outside, where everything is falling, landing and breaking at once. Sometimes you catch something specific like the screams and cries of people trying to hold on to each other before they're swallowed into other, bigger noises. This is what it sounds like when the world ends." (pg 19)

"I remember us huddled around this birdbath yesterday, yesterday morning. We cupped our palms together and lapped up all the dirty, stagnant water and it tasted so awful but so, so, wonderful because we were so desperate and isn't everything better when you're desperate?" (pg 23)

"The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens." (pg 223) 

"...I think if you want something bad enough it can be greater than pain, it can push you past it. I hope." (pg 285)


  1. I have this book on my TBR list. Thanks for the great review, I'm really excited to read it and I loved that you shared those great lines from the book.

  2. I absolutely loved this book. Your review definitely does it justice. :) I fell head over heels for Summers' beautiful writing style. And for Sloane. And Rhys. :) Great review!



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