Customer Reviews for

This Is Not a Test

Average Rating 4.5
( 65 )
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(33)

4 Star

(23)

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(4)

2 Star

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Easily best book of the year

This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year! Seriously, it was superb. It was terrifying and raw, and as far as I am concerned, a definite foreshadow of the future. It is not a question of “if”, but rather “when”.

This first chapter had such an eeri...
This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year! Seriously, it was superb. It was terrifying and raw, and as far as I am concerned, a definite foreshadow of the future. It is not a question of “if”, but rather “when”.

This first chapter had such an eerie quietness; it was almost like the silence was a character in the book. Do you know what I mean? Like it was thick with silence.

Then there is chaos at the front door. Pandemonium outside. Confusion and blood. Her dad is in a fight with a woman who is clearly deranged. Isn’t she?

There are six teenagers and they’ve made their way to the high school. Rhys, Cary, Trace & Grace (twins), Harrison and of course, Sloane. Somehow, someway they’ve made it past the hordes of infected “people” and they’ve barricaded themselves in the high school. Pretty darn smart if you ask me. You’ve got food, water, entertainment, every facility you could just about hope for. Except Sloane doesn’t want to really survive. She’s been a survivor her whole life, and so much has happened in a short amount of time that her will is just sort of short circuited. You really feel for her. This is a first person point of view, which doesn’t always agree well with me. But in this story it fits the whole urgent-but-waiting theme perfectly. There are a few action scenes, but this book is not battle after battle with the undead. It’s more psychological than that. There are some battles, but it’s not really about the infected, it’s about the survivors.

Part two of this book explores a lot of group mentality issues and how you deal with the zombie apocalypse (my words, not the author’s) as an individual and as a group. It is so interesting how quickly the author immerses you into this story, that you find yourself yelling at the pages. “Don’t go there!!” and “Turn around!!!!” If you find a survivor who isn’t a part of your original core group, well, they are not really a survivor at all then, are they? You can’t trust them, can you? Do you take them in and embrace the addition of another living breathing person, or do you toss them out and make them fend for themselves because you just don’t really know their intentions, do you?

Part three will shake the foundation of everything you’ve come to believe about this story. It is a game changer, and dynamics definitely shift. It’s hard to know what is real and what is not when everything in your life for weeks now seems like something out of someone’s imagination and not the real thing. Courtney Summers does such a perfect job at illustrating the characters with her words, and not just the glamorous good stuff. We get to see all sides of this group. We see how they break down and how they build up, how they handle living now that everything they know has been chewed to pieces.

And Part four, well, part four I’d call hope. Hope to die, hope to live, who the hell knows what you are hoping for. For every person it is different. Personally I was hoping it would never end, the book that is. Put this book on your to-be-read this. Follow it. It’s not just a zombie story; it’s a look at what happens when all hell breaks loose.

posted by FictionalCandy on June 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

This book was a little too young adult for me. The book really

This book was a little too young adult for me. The book really played on the tensions and interactions of the teen group during the zombie apocalypse rather than the actual apocalypse itself. As a result I didn’t really connect or like the characters, although the aut...
This book was a little too young adult for me. The book really played on the tensions and interactions of the teen group during the zombie apocalypse rather than the actual apocalypse itself. As a result I didn’t really connect or like the characters, although the author does do a good job of making you feel sorry for/know where, Sloan, the main character is coming from. It was an interesting but didn’t have the normal action you would see in a normal zombie book.

posted by Drewano on May 23, 2013

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  • Posted December 2, 2013

    Before you go: ¿ugh, not ANOTHER zombie novel!¿, just hear me ou

    Before you go: “ugh, not ANOTHER zombie novel!”, just hear me out. I’ll admit that I’m also tired of zombie-themed books. If you’ve read five zombie books, you’ve pretty much read them all (or at least, that’s how I feel). What more can you say about zombies to make it new and original, right? Well, Courtney Summers may use zombies as a theme in this book, but it really forms a very small, though not less important, part of the plot.

    How often do you read books with a suicidal protagonist in the lead? In my case, very seldom. That alone was refreshingly different. So, what else is left to focus on? The romance, of course! But, we all know I’m not a big fan of romance, so if I tell you the romance in this book was slow and subtle, it’s something you can count on. 

    “This is Not a Test” is a character-driven novel that moves at a leisurely pace. Even though I didn’t feel that emotionally invested in the characters, I felt sympathetic towards them, and even more surprisingly, I actually cried at the death of one specific character (who, coincidentally, wasn’t bitten by a zombie). Each character brings something of value to the story and I was so immersed in their plight I finished this quick read in less than a day. 

    As far as post-apocalyptic novels go, this one has very little action in it, but it is well worth the read for the characters alone. 

    This is the first of Courtney Summers’ books I’ve read, and I’m definitely going to read more of her books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    .

    .

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    To Ethan

    Go to 'highschool' result three and find Emma. She very active. Very beautiful, shes extremely popular in MB and head cheerleader. Her last Boyfriend dumped her for a nerd.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    this was excellent! read the whole thing the day I got it. it

    this was excellent! read the whole thing the day I got it. it does end a little abruptly and I wish there was more.

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  • Posted January 7, 2013

    i really liked the book. it was emotional and it really got your

    i really liked the book. it was emotional and it really got your thinking and putting yourself in the characters shoes. the only downside was the ending. it kind of left you hanging on what exactly happened and how it exactly ended. happy? or completely sad?

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  • Posted December 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I remember how excited I was to read this book when it first cam

    I remember how excited I was to read this book when it first came out. I mean, I'm one of those people who hears the word zombie and my ears instantly perk up. I read review after raving review, and finally bit the book-buying bullet when I read Kendra's from Novel Sounds rave coverage of it. (I also listened to her song picks for the book while writing this review, which you should totally check out as well). Furthermore, I'd heard a ton of great things about Courtney Summers from several of my favorite bloggers, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and read about zombies while checking another author off my try-for-the-first-time list.




    However, as many of you have experienced personally, buying a book doesn't always means you get to read it right away. This book sat on my shelf for about six months before I got around to it (which sadly, is a pretty short for me these days). But I was DETERMINED to read it over Christmas break so I could finally see what all the fuss was about. And I can tell you this right off the bat...all the fuss is definitely well-deserved. I'm still not entirely sure that I've completely wrapped my head around everything that Summers managed to do with This Is Not a Test, but I loved that it kept me thinking about the story long after I turned the final page. In fact, I have at least three other book reviews that I needed to write before writing this one, but after finishing This Is Not a Test, I immediately felt compelled to share my thoughts, so I decided to bump it up on my review list. 




    I know other bloggers have said this before (though forgive me for forgetting where I first heard it), but I wanted to say it as well: This Is Not a Test is a zombie book, but it's so much more than that. In fact, I would highly recommend it to readers who are fans of zombies OR compelling, contemporary fiction, because it really does fit into both of those categories. And along with a compelling storyline, This Is Not a Test takes an in-depth look at a variety of complex themes that would appeal to those readers who are looking for a little more depth in their stories. 




    I have to admit...this is one of those reviews that was difficult for me to write. There's so much that I loved about this book, and I feel like I could spend hours talking about it in a literature class, but I also don't want to ruin the experience for anyone else. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed the book so much was that all I knew about it going in was that it was a book about zombies and a girl with a death wish. My recommendation for those of you who haven't heard a lot about the actual details of the story is to keep it that way. I think you'll enjoy it more. As far as my final thoughts? This is a book you don't want to miss.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    Good

    This was a really good story and really well written. It was dark and emotional and the characters were all very vivid. My biggest complaint was that it was so short. It was only 150 pages, which for me took about 5 hours to read. I wouldn't have paid $10 for it if i had known it was so short. It seems like a lot of money for such a short book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    quick read, page turner

    i got stuck at airports all day and bought this book in the morning. by the time i landed home, i had finished the book and had been entertained all day. it was a good read with an interesting back story. definitely teen level reading, but still kept me interested. i didn't regret the spontaneous airport nook purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Good quick read

    Not a bad read makes you think what you would do.

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  • Posted August 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review: This is Not a Test

    This immediately went on my to-read list just because its Courtney Summers. I have to admit I was a little wary about zombies (not because I don't like zombie book, but because Courtney hasn't tackled this type of book before). Turns out that I should have realized this book really isn't about zombies.

    I found it interesting that Sloane is so ready to turn it all in. We get a little bit of a glimpse of why (and the full pictures comes throughout the story), but she never seems suicidal. To me it just didn't fit with her character. If she was that willing to die, I don't think she would have made such an effort to get to the high school. I think in the back of her mind she knew she had something to live for.

    At first I was a little annoyed about how the zombie apocalypse takes place. We know next to nothing about it. And it's never explained. One moment the world is fine, the next its not. But, as the characters get their moments in the book, I came to realize this story was about them. It's focusing on the tensions that can be created when faced with this grim reality. That the people who will survive are the ones who find their inner strength and courage to push on no matter what. And that sometimes the only way to do that is to put your trust in someone you normally would have nothing to do with. This type of catastrophe breaks down all social barriers. I think the author did a fabulous job with this.

    Once I let go of the zombie portion of the story, I found that this was really just like every other book I've read by Courtney Summers. And I enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Don't usually write these things...

    Now I don't usually write reviews, but this book deserves it. This is such a good book. I literally bought it, started to read it and couldn't put it down. Mostly because the main character is so relateable in so many different ways. And the connection you have to her is a beautiful thing for any reader. I was literally yelling out loud hoping for the best for her. It was awesome. Read this book people.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Emotional & Intense

    Wow. I’m still a little emotionally drained from reading this. It’s probably a little closer to reality than most books of its kind. These are normal teenagers in an impossible situation & they can’t always be strong & brave. Sometimes, they just crumple. The world has become absolutely terrifying and there’s really nothing they can do about it. They can only hide away from it for so long. This was very well and realistically written, so don’t expect it to give you a warm & happy feeling when you read it. But it will definitely make an impact!

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Kind of depressing

    This is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. That is why it has a B instead of an A. This Is Not a Test has plenty of action, suspense, and mystery. However, it just made me sad. That being said, I can recognize the quality of this novel, and I am going to do my best to review it objectively. You guys know how I feel about sad books. I just don't enjoy reading them. I'm a pansy in that way.


    This Is Not a Test is not your typical zombie book. Every single main character in the book (there are six) is well-developed and unique. Instead of having a gore-fest with no character growth, Summers took away a lot of the gore and focused more on the characters, making this a very character driven novel. The plot was pushed forward by each character's will to survive. Our narrator Sloane had no desire to live whatsoever, but the others seemed to want to get out of the zombie apocalypse alive. However, the book mostly focuses on Sloane and how she'd rather let the zombies kill her and turn her into one of them than remain in this world.


    Sloane's mother is dead, her sister left her, and her father is abusive. The beginning of this story is depressing and intense because the reader is able to fear Sloane's fear of her father. Then the woman knocks on the door and all hell breaks loose, literally. Sloane ends up being one of six surviving teenagers barricaded in the school's gym, which is kind of ironic since she just wanted to die. Throughout the course of the novel, Sloane is forced to repeatedly see the lengths the other people will go through to live. Being a part of these six teenagers deeply changes Sloane, and she is a completely different character in the end. I love when authors have a lot of character growth in a novel.


    The plot is a bit slow at first, and the zombies are never the main focus. They're always there in the background, and every time you almost forget about the, Summers brings them up again. This subtle addition to the story adds an underlying tension to the narrative that could have been forgotten in the hands of less skilled authors. As the story progresses, the tension builds and things begin to get more intense. Sloane learns a lot of information, some of it she would have preferred not to find out. The pacing toward the end is extremely fast, and I was literally white-knuckling the book and hurriedly turning the pages to see what happened next. The ending itself ties things up nicely. It's not exactly a happy ending, but there is some hope. After a zombie apocalypse, I suppose that's all you can really ask for.


    Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves emotional dystopian/post-apocalyptic books. Summers' writing is fantastic, the plot is captivating, and the characters are realistic and easy to relate to. As long as you're not a pansy like me, you will love this book.

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This Is Not a Test¿ is in a word, intense. Suspenseful

    <i>This Is Not a Test¿</i>
    is in a word, intense. Suspenseful and angst-ridden, the novel is a story of a girl whose life has totally fallen apart. Her dad beats her, mercilessly and without shame. She and her older sister made plans all their lives to escape together, make a new life somewhere different, somewhere where they could live without fear. But Lily couldn't wait, and left Sloane to fend for herself six months ago. Things got worse when she left. Sloane is desperate to end it all, but her plan falls through when she discovers that Lily took her sleeping pills with her. Shortly thereafter, civilized society collapse around her. The dead rise and attack the living. They are driven by hunger, and spread their infection with a single bite. Shortly after this fresh chaos, Sloane ends up with a group of five of her peers in their old high school, empty but fortifiable. But she's different than them. They are desperate to continue living.

    Summers has created a novel that is as much a story about the dangers of abuse, vulnerability, and dependency on others as it is about the dangers of human nature when it is pushed to the limit. Desperation and fear lead to in-fighting similar to ¿<i>The Lord of the Flies¿</i>
    . When your survival depends on others, how do you know that you aren't just expendable in their eyes? When surviving together means spending endless time waiting together, how do you deal? The backdrop of a zombie apocalypse lends the perfect amount of terror and tension for this story to work as well as it does. I'd recommend it to fans of angst, zombies, survival tension, and stories about youth trying to find their way. With hints of ¿<i>The Breakfast Club¿</i>
    , <i>¿Lord of the Flies¿</i>
    , ¿<i>Dawn of the Dead</i>
    ¿ and ¿<i>The Walking Dead¿</i>
    , a lot of people should find something they like about this book.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is Not a Test was a pleasant surprise! It was actually the

    This is Not a Test was a pleasant surprise! It was actually the first survival novel I have read. I read this way back in february and to say I enjoyed it. I was so immersed in this novel that I couldn't put it down. I mean, a good survival book would do that to you. You just want to know what happens next, how will they barricade the school, did they miss a place? who will take the leadership role and basically how will they survive. I have read several survival books after This is Not a Test and this genre has become a fast favorite.
    I loved how you get to find out the true selves of each one of them brought out their survival instincts, whether good or bad. However I really did not enjoy how depressing the protagonist was. At the beginning of the book she basically gave up on living and since then she just wanted to die one way or another (i.e.: zombie attack). At the beginning it was a bit confusing, her depression, but then throughout the book you find out she lost a loved one and doesn't know HOW to deal with this loss. I really enjoyed the bonding of some of the students, but at the same time cringed at their need to lead and their mistrust of each other.
    However all in all, this book was definitely fast paced, action filled, and scared the crap out of me because of the zombies in it and their tendency to want to eat human flesh!! I would definitely recommend this book to any zombie lovers but also people who want to read a survival YA that would keep you on the edge of your seat and feel as if you are a part of the group and racing to survive from the zombie apocalypse.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Off the Charts Suspense! Review brought to you by OBS staff mem

    Off the Charts Suspense!

    Review brought to you by OBS staff member Dawn

    Within a few pages I was engrossed in the story. I read the entire book in one sitting, it took about an hour and a half and I enjoyed every minute of it. The story, more specifically the zombies, is a bit recycled but the characters make it unique.

    At first, the teens are just relieved to be safe and have food and shelter inside the school. It doesn&rsquo;t take long for tension to develop between them. One character is a leader, one is an instigator, another is a bully, yet another is afraid of his own shadow. They are all compelling characters despite their flaws.

    The teens are thrust into making adult decisions, decisions that could get them killed. They have a cohesive plan, BUT you cannot plan for the unexpected. Each new situation throws them for a loop and they struggle to come to terms with each other and the world around them.

    My favorite character, Sloane, is heartbroken after her sister disappears. She doesn&rsquo;t have a good home life. Despite that, she&rsquo;s tough, self-possessed and decisive. She&rsquo;s a bit misguided but it&rsquo;s understandable considering she went from a horrible home life to being trapped with people from her high school. She grows up a lot, she learns from her poor choices.

    The suspense, which is off the charts, kept me interested. You never know what&rsquo;s coming next. If you think you know how it ends, you&rsquo;re in for a big shock.

    This review and more at openbooksociety dot com

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    Sloane is not as unhappy as most "normal" people migh


    Sloane is not as unhappy as most &quot;normal&quot; people might be when the apocalypse hits. Her home life is deteriorating further and her sister has left. She hates her father, the reader will receive small hints throughout the book concerning why. When Sloane falls into the small group, she isn't as big on survival on the rest of them. The group isn't doing so well either, they are arguing amongst themselves over who really &quot;killed&quot; the two parents who were with the group.

    With the group Sloane is in stuck in a high school, much of the book takes place in that high school and it is the setting for the revealed secrets and developed relationships. Sloane is desperately trying to learn more about her sister and deciding if she truly cares to continue to live. The author does a terrific job of setting the other characters apart from each other; they each have an individual unique personality, they are memorable. The reader will be rooting for them all to survive to the end, but is that realistic in this type of atmosphere? The ending will leave the reader both surprised and oddly satisfied. This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Amazing... But...

    This book was awesome, but it seemed really short. The ending seemed rushed and unfinshed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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