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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, 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 ...
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?
"Courtney Summers is a ferocious talent in YA fiction. This Is Not a Test brought me to tears, caused me to gasp in shock in public places, and almost put a stop to my heart . . . Summers' voice is raw with emotion, and utterly right for the impending zombie apocalypse."—Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
"[Courtney Summers] blends all the perfection and simplicity that defines her writing so well with this added paranormal element for a snappy, exciting story I just couldn't stop reading, and then I got to the very end and realized that it was about so much more than just making it out alive."—Julie Cross, author of Tempest
"Intriguing.... It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices.... Unusual and absorbing."—Kirkus
Excerpted from This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers Copyright © 2012 by Courtney Summers. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted June 20, 2012
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.
11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2012
THIS IS NOT A TEST is the story of a girl during a breakout of a zombie apocalypse. Most zombie books are about survivors of a zombie apocalypse, not the very beginning of one. Sloane doesn't know what's going on. She's not clued in to the fact that those are zombies running around outside her house. She's a poor, abused soul who doesn't understand that the world she so desperately wants out of is ending.
In this day of mega zombie movies, video games, and The Walking Dead, it's unusual to see a take on zombies where the characters aren't hip on the zombie phenomenon. It was refreshing to see how realistically Summers approached such a campy topic. It's not so much a zombie story, as it is a story about people who are trying to survive something horrible. The zombies were scary, yes, but the people were scarier. Everyone, everyone, did horrible things in order to survive.
The book was so full of despair and desperation, that it was almost addicting. It hooked me in a way that I've never been hooked before. I can honestly say that I did not enjoy reading it. It was horrible and depressing and your worst nightmare written down. But it's beautiful because of how horrible it is. And it will drag you in until you just can't look away. You have to finish it, even if it terrifies you. So I didn't enjoy reading it, but I had to read it. I couldn't not. It was too good.
The detail that Summers uses in her writing brings out the true horror of Sloane's situation. This is definitely not a book for the faint of heart. There is gore, adult content, violence and adult language, so if that offends you this might not be the book for you. There are a few sexual situations, nothing very graphic, but still. If you're uncomfortable with subjects like sex, depression, suicide and death, than like I said, this one is probably not for you.
The first word I thought when I finished the book was, "wow". THIS IS NOT A TEST is one of those books where you don't know how it could possibly ever end on a happy note, or even on a good note. And it doesn't. The government doesn't come and save everyone, the zombies don't go away. Sloane doesn't wake up and it was all a horrible nightmare. It's hell, and she's living it, and your living it with her. But in the end, somehow, someway, Courtney Summers manages to give you a little bit of hope when the world she's created is so hopeless. This is definitely Summers at her best.
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2012
Courtney Summers delivers a unique take on zombies in her genre-bending book.
Sloane's home life sucks with her abusive father. Sloane had her sister Lily to turn to, to love her, to support her, and to suffer with. They made a plan to escape their house together when Sloane turned 18. Except Lily breaks the promise, leaving Sloane to fend for herself. The abuse is so much that Sloane has no reason to have hope anymore. In the initial scenes of the book, it's evident how brutal her life has been, and she immediately garners sympathy. Even though what she wants to do isn't necessarily sympathetic, it's understandable. And when the zombies arrive, Sloane is elated; it's her chance to die.
Then we're tossed into Cortege High School, where Sloane and five fellow students have barricaded themselves. It's frantic and desperate, at least to those five; Sloane is annoyed. Her plans were ruined, and now that she's been dragged to safety, she's even more frustrated. The thing is, she can't seem to find a way away from these people who want to live, and even when she has the chance to end her own suffering, she doesn't.
Sloane is one of the most interesting characters I've read, but she's very challenging. She is obedient in every sense of the word. Because of her father, there's a sense of reluctance in her. She allows herself to be dragged to safety (where it would be easy for her to not), and she doesn't actively seek out her options for dying when she has the chance. Rather, she continues to follow what she believes is the right thing to do. To stay alive. Anything she could feel for herself has been taken away, physically and emotionally. That's part of why she's unable to actually go through with ending her life. Amid all of this, Sloane is likable; there's just enough hope inside her and just enough desire to move forward to make readers pull for her and believe she can survive.
This is a powerful character-driven novel. Despite the zombie apocalypse occurring, what matters is not the undead coming alive but the living coming alive. Secondary characters are fully developed, and they each serve distinct purposes for Sloane. Summers excels in her use of subtlety to develop the characters. There are single lines or short scenes so raw they sting, and they speak volumes to who Sloane really is (who she is, not who she's told she is or who she has come to believe she is). The pacing in the book is deliberately slow, begging the reader to pay attention to these things. The story doesn't drag, though. Summers delivers on strong writing that doesn't try too hard and works to advance these characters.
This is an extremely physical book. Each blow can be felt, as can each of the more tender moments. The book doesn't shy away from brutality nor from being gruesome; despite being heavily vested in reality, it's still a novel about the zombie apocalypse. I felt beat up and bruised reading this; fortunately, I had the same moments of hope and promise Sloane did throughout.
There's a definite conclusion to come away with at the end of the book, and the way it's done is savvy. Sloane has to make a series of very difficult choices that force her to confront everything she's been so eager to shy away from. She'll revisit everything with Lily and her father and come to realize her body and her choices and her life are hers. So while this is a story of survival, it's also a story about what we fight for, and why we fight for things at all.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2012
Posted June 5, 2013
Posted June 4, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2013
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Posted May 23, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2013
Posted February 13, 2013
Posted February 1, 2013
If i had to describe this book i would say its kind of like "monument 14" or kinda like the middle of a zombie appocalypse with a few kids trapped in a school with alot of drama going on between them. They rarley go outside into the whole mess. They only go out into the open twice after they get to the school when they have to defend themselves. But overall its an okay read i did enjoy itWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2013
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?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2012
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.
Posted December 9, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 30, 2012
Don't start this book until you have a good chunk of time available because you won't want to put it down. It starts quickly and grabs you from the first chapter. I read this over a week ago and I still can't get it out of my head. In the post-zombie apocalypse, Sloane and five other teens find refuge by locking themselves in their high school. They don't know how long their lunchroom food and water will last, and the zombies are roaming the streets waiting for someone to bite. The most intense conflict, however, comes from the teens' interactions as their patience, sanity, and very will to live are put to the test. In case I hadn't mentioned it...I am not a zombie-fan. In fact, if I had realized this was a zombie book, I would have put it back. I'm so glad I didn't.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.