This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test

4.3 72
by Courtney Summers
     
 

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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

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Overview

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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s The Breakfast Club, George Romero style, as six teens who barely know or like each other seek refuge in their high school while the undead hordes lurk outside. This isn’t as much of a departure from Summers’s edgy contemporary novels like Fall for Anything and Some Girls Are as one might think—it’s as much a character study as it is a “zombie novel.” The end of the world unfolds through the eyes of high school junior Sloane Price, who has been contemplating suicide since her older sister ran away six months earlier, leaving Sloane with their physically abusive father. But these worries are pushed aside as Sloane tries to keep her fellow students alive. The fragile dynamic is disrupted by the arrival of another survivor, a teacher, and a news report about survivor camps. The interpersonal dynamics and growing tension take precedence over any explanations regarding the zombies—Summers is more interested in what it’s like to be a girl who doesn’t want to live, stuck in a world where death isn’t what it used to be. Ages 12–up. Agent: Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency. (June)
VOYA - Laura Panter
Sixteen survivors become trapped inside their local high school when a deadly infection turns everyone in Cortege into flesh-eating zombies. One bite from an infected means a death sentence and resurrection to life as a monster. To Sloane Price, hiding out means no beatings from her father, but leaving the shelter of the school also means fulfilling her desire to give up on life since her sister's betrayal. Sloane contemplates how easy it would be to die until she realizes that she cannot let her actions jeopardize those who want to live. As emotions run high and the threat of detection seems inevitable, the survivors realize that their only hope of living means leaving their safe haven and venturing out into the ravaged city. What they find will make survival seem hopeless, as one by one the number of survivors dwindles. Summers's novel begins in a muddle of confusion. Several story lines crash together with a convoluted narrative of how the teens end up inside the school. Their original dash to safety is vague, while new obstacles sidelining the survivors are horrific. Characters do not evoke feelings from the reader until half-way through the book. Several plot developments stretch believability but may be overlooked by readers focused purely on the grisly deaths. The open-ended conclusion leaves the story open for a sequel, but will readers care? Those who love zombie stories will find much better fare in such books as Charlie Higson's The Enemy. This is an additional purchase for teens who love horror and zombies no matter the flaws. Reviewer: Laura Panter
Kirkus Reviews
A girl wants to commit suicide, but she's caught in the zombie apocalypse with a group that's trying to survive in this intriguing psychological thriller. It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices (Fall for Anything, 2010, etc.). Sloane was left trapped in her severely abusive home when her older sister, Lily, escaped. When the zombies attack, Sloane joins a group of her fellow students who take refuge in their high school, a building built almost like a prison. They barricade the doors and live off food from the cafeteria and water stored on the roof. Yet, although the zombie threat keeps tension high, Summers' focus remains on Sloane and the group of teens hiding in the school. The teen suffers from the betrayal she feels from Lily, while the others jockey for dominance and squabble over perceived ills done to them by others in the group. As events proceed, the teens make real decisions about life and death, while Sloane looks toward a possible reunion with Lily. Readers never learn why zombies attacked; they are kept in the moment by Sloane's first-person, present-tense account. The focus stays on the personalities and on Sloane's struggle with her emotions and her own decision to live or to die. Unusual and absorbing. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Sloane Price has been raised by an abusive father, and her life is a living nightmare. Her only silver lining is her older sister, her protector and her main source of strength. But Lily runs away, abandoning Sloane and leaving her to deal with the consequences. The past six months of torment have left the teen a shell of her former self and destroyed her will to live. When the zombie apocalypse strikes, she flees one life of horror in exchange for another. Rescued by a group of teenagers, Sloane and company painstakingly make their way across town, finding refuge inside Cortege High School. Huddled behind barricades, the group tries to make sense of the madness outside while grieving for their loved ones-all while hearing the constant thump, thump of the zombies at the doors. This Is Not a Test is a riveting and powerful novel that unfolds through the brutal first-person narrative of Sloane, a broken teen who in many ways is already dead. As the story evolves, the relationships among the characters intensify as they are pushed to the brink of humanity. Summers's brilliant writing has readers confronting their own fears while witnessing what happens to good people when forced to make ruthless decisions in a senseless world. This fascinating and haunting story with sophisticated content and themes will stay with readers long after they finish the last page.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312656744
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
06/19/2012
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
132,670
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

This Is Not a Test


By Courtney Summers

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2012 Courtney Summers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312656744

SEVEN DAYS LATER
 
 
“Get the door! Get the tables against the fucking door, Trace—move!”
In a perfect world, I’m spinning out. I’m seven days ago, sleeping myself into nothingness. Every breath in and out is shallower than the last until, eventually, I stop. In a perfect world, I’m over. I’m dead. But in this world, Lily took the pills with her and I’m still alive. I’m climbing onstage before Cary notices and gives me something to do even though I should be doing something. I should help. I should be helping because seconds are critical. He said this over and over while we ran down streets, through alleys, watched the community center fall, hid out in empty houses and he was right—seconds are critical.
You can lose everything in seconds.
“Harrison, Grace, take the front! Rhys, I need you in the halls with me—”
I slip past the curtain. I smell death. It’s all over me but it’s not me, not yet. I am not dead yet. I run my hands over my body, feeling for something that doesn’t belong. We were one street away and they came in at all sides with their arms out, their hands reaching for me with the kind of sharp-teethed hunger that makes a person—them. Cary pulled me away before I could have it, but I thought—I thought I felt something, maybe—
“Sloane? Where’s Sloane?”
I can’t reach far enough behind my back.
“Rhys, the halls—”
“Where is she?”
“We have to get in the halls now!”
“Sloane? Sloane!
I look up. Boxy forms loom overhead, weird and ominous. Stage lights. And I don’t know why but I dig my cell phone out of my pocket and I dial Lily. If this is it, I want her to know. I want her to hear it. Except her number doesn’t work anymore, hasn’t worked since she left, and I don’t know how I forgot that. I can’t believe I forgot that. Instead of Lily, that woman’s voice is in my ear: Listen closely. She sounds familiar, like someone’s mother. Not my mother. I was young when she died. Lily was older. Car accident …
“Sloane!” Rhys pushes the curtain back and spots me. I drop the phone. It clatters to the floor. “What the hell are you doing? We’ve got to move—” He takes in the look on my face and his turns to ash. “Are you bit? Did you get bitten?”
“I don’t know—” I unbutton my shirt and pull it off and I know he sees all of me before I can turn away, but I don’t care. I have to know. “I can’t see anything—I can’t feel it—”
Rhys runs his hands over my back, searching for telltale marks. He murmurs prayers under his breath while I hold mine.
“It’s okay—you’re good—you’re fine—you’re alive—”
The noises in the auditorium get louder with the frantic scrambling of people who actually want to live, but I’m still.
I’m good, I’m fine.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure—now come on—come on, we have to—”
Good, fine. I’m fine. I’m fine, I’m fine. He grabs my arm. I shrug him off and put my shirt back on more slowly than I should. I am fine. I’m alive.
I don’t even know what that means.
“Look, we’ve got to get back out there,” he says as I do up my buttons. “There are three other doors that need to be secured—” He grabs my arm and turns me around. “Look at me—are you ready? Sloane, are you ready?”
I open my mouth but nothing comes out.


 
Copyright © 2012 by Courtney Summers


Continues...

Excerpted from This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers Copyright © 2012 by Courtney Summers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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