Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin.
Release Date: June 19, 2012.
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?
Confession: I'm sick to death (pun not intended) of zombies. If they're on TV, I turn the channel. If someone is referencing them online, I click away from the site. Once upon a time, they used to terrify me. Now their strange presence in pop culture today just annoys me. BUT. This is a Courtney Summers book. This is a book written by the same woman responsible for the amazingness that is Some Girls Are and Fall For Anything and Cracked Up To Be. Even with my recent frustrations for all things undead, how could I pass it up?
You guys, DON'T PASS IT UP. I was so happy that this story focused more on the emotions and stories behind the trapped characters than it did the apocalypse itself. At times, it felt like The Breakfast Club. Just a lot more morbid and crude. And instead of a jerkface principal, there's a psychotic teacher. I didn't really grow an attachment for anyone else except the protagonist, Sloane, and a cute boy named Rhys. (Who I wished had a much bigger role in the story. At times, he just felt like a distraction for Sloane) Sloane was such a conflicting character. On one hand, it's easy to understand why she's given up and why she's so callous about death. On the other, I just wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into her. In the end, I really like how Summers handled her. (And the entire story, for that matter) Nothing was sugar-coated, nothing felt "happily ever after" to me and though I much, much prefer happily ever afters, I felt content with how and where the characters ended.
And the zombies, though I'm terribly sick of them, still managed to freak me out. I started reading this at three in the morning one night and actually had to stop for fear of potential nightmares. The scenes were terrifying and gory and so descriptive but so, so good.
Overall, Courtney Summers proves she's not just the Queen of Contemporary with this dark, creepy, and emotional powerful story of survival. That lady has got mad talent and This is Not a Test is another example of such. If you want to be scared and entertained at the same time, get yourself a copy of this book NOW.
Other reviews for This is Not a Test:
The Windy Pages.
Dreamworld Book Reviews.
The Reclusive Reader.