12 April 2012

Review: This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Publication date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
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 made a personal decision not to review books at least a month before their release date, but I finished This Is Not a Test about a week ago and it still has me thinking about it. I love this book with all of my heart. MY WHOLE HEART. I initially wanted to read it because, well, zombies and I was curious as to how exciting a book could be that takes place inside one location (stage plays, yes, books, maybe). Well, it is exciting and I was never bored. Courtney Summers doesn't hold back or sugar-coat things. This book is intense. This book is raw. Sloane is one of the most complicated characters I have come across in a while and her struggles touched my insides (in a good way, not a dirty way). All of the characters are distinct from one another and I am impressed at how I could hate one of them one minute and agree with him or her the next. To me, this proves excellent writing and Summers has talent. Mucho. Talento. Can't wait to get my hands on her other books!

This Is Not a Test is not a book about zombies. In fact, I've read some reviews where people have found the zombies to be unnecessary. I would have to politely disagree and here's why: I can't imagine any other reason for Sloane to be stuck inside the school with some fellow students. Maybe a terrorist attack? But that one would make it a different story. To me, the book is about Sloane struggling to survive in a life she has already given up on before the book even starts. She's in a situation where all she has to do is go outside and she'll die. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Dead. Done. I think zombies are perfect and add a certain something different to the book. Plus, they're probably a metaphor for something I haven't quite figured out yet...or something.

I can't wait until I can get my hands on a finished copy and rub it all over my face. Because that's what I do with books I love.

Content warning: graphic sexual situations and language.


  1. I'm so excited about this book and reviews like this just make me even more excited! Glad to hear you loved it. Wonderful review!

  2. I also disagree that the zombies weren't necessary. It's what gave the book a gloomy feeling. I loved it completely!! Great review!

  3. I'm so glad to hear you loved This Is Not A Test! I've loved all of her previous novels, so I've been really looking forward to reading this one. Her characters are always flawed, but you can't help rooting for them anyways. Thanks for the review! :)

  4. so glad you liked this one. i have an e-galley that i really need to read. sounds awesome.

  5. @Nicola: Thanks!

    @Giselle: So glad you agree! I loved the feeling it gave the book. WOOT!

    @Midnight Bloom: I really really need to read her other stuff. Zombies or not zombies, she seems to be a pretty great writer.

    @@fishgirl182: You do need to read it! Read it!! ;)

  6. Wow this sounds like a really good read. I definitely interested in seeing the character's progression. One of my favorite things in fiction.

  7. I flippin loved this one! I couldn't stop reading it once I started! Great review Angie! :)

  8. So much of what happened in this book shocked the poo out of me. After reading so many books that is very hard to do, but I found myself open mouthed at more than just one point throughout the story. Do not go into this thinking you will get a hea or that there will be rainbows by the end. This is Not a Test is a very dark and disturbing book. Ms. Summers is fearless with her characters and takes no shortcuts when it comes to the hard stuff. I even had nightmares from this book *shudders* If you have read my other reviews you know that I am loving the scary creatures and this book brought back the terrifying zombie. I hope she writes more in this genre.


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