16 June 2012

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Expected publication: 19 June 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 336 (paperback)

Source: Publisher for review

Genre/s: YA, Zombie

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

More Info: Courtney Summers' website ~ Courtney Summers' blog

Synopsis (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 wantto 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?

My Thoughts

When I first read the summary of This is Not a Test, I knew I had to read this book.  A bunch of students barricaded in a school in the midst of a zomb-apocalypse?  Oh HELL yes!  I even did a little happy dance when I received my copy and immediately started reading.

I was hooked from the first page - the writing is so gripping, intense and emotional, it'd be hard for anyone not to be sucked into Sloane's story right from the beginning.

Zombies are not the focus of This is Not a Test, they are the catalyst.  Barricaded inside their school, six teenagers are isolated from what remains of the living world and emotions are running high as they begin to realise exactly what they have lost, with no real plan on how to survive except for minute-to-minute.

All the characters are flawed, but in a way that makes them more human and their actions and reactions are completely understandable and realistic, particularly Sloane who is battling so many inner demons whilst living in a fishbowl where nothing is guaranteed and the future is bleak.

It's a testament to Ms. Summers' writing that I didn't give a fig that zombies weren't at the forefront of the story - it was so intensely emotional that at times I almost forgot them lurking outside the school, and I'll definitely be checking out more of her work.

The ending for some may not be what the reader wants or expects, but for me it fit perfectly with the tone of the book.  All in all, This is Not a Test is an outstanding book with great writing, characters perfectly suited to the story and unique, gripping emotions.  


  1. This sounds promsing...onto the wishlist it goes!

  2. Ooo, it's already on my wishlist, Kat, but I want it so much more now! Great review! Have you read The Peculiar Superpowers of Eleanor Armstrong by K.A. Shloegel? It's really funny, and the main character actually a teen witing a zombie novel while suffering from bullying in school. I really recommend it.

    1. No, I haven't heard of that one, but I'm going to go and check it out, sounds great!

  3. I just started this one last night and it has definitely sucked me in, hardcore. I LOVE zombies as a means for character-driven drama. I love seeing how humanity is challenged, and in this case, how very personal the struggle to live can be.

    1. I think that's why I loved it so much - and zombie books in general, the whole survival thing and how characters react.

  4. Yay! This book is so good! I actually (don't hate me) tend to love most the zombie books that are about something else entirely with the zombies serving more as a symptom of what's wrong or a metaphor or something. Glad you loved it, too!

  5. I loved this book. First off, I love me some post-apocalyptic plot lines. I don't know why. I'm a guy. It is fascinating. As a society we walk a tight rope every day, over a thousand different ways, life as we know it could end. It's not likely to happen and we have tons of security measures in place, but it could happen. I think that's why I love these novels. It answers all the "what-ifs" in a fictional realistic way. Its over-the-top, but plausible, which offers a fun read.



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