Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal/ Horror/ Dystopian
Release date: June 19th, 2012
Pages: 323 (Paperback)
Rating: 5 out of 5
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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 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?
It's no secret that Sloane has had an awful past. When her sister follows their plan to run away without her, Sloane's world falls apart. Life as she knows it comes to an end and she finds herself face-to-face with the dead. Zombies attack and surprisingly, she makes it to the only safe building in town, her high school, with a small group of teenagers. Though she feels like giving up on life, and has since the day she found her sister's note, she turns out to be one of the most determined characters in this story.
Every character played their roles perfectly. No one unnecessary was mentioned and you open your heart up to these young individuals to realize that they could so easily be you. There are the twins, Grace and Trace, who are two peas in a pod. They'll do anything for each other, the way that Sloane used to be with her sister before she was abandoned and left to fend for herself. There's Rhys, the caring one. Cary, the one that holds the weight of death on his shoulders. Harrison, who knows no one and can do nothing but cry over the lives they've lost.
The writing was perfect for this story; brilliant and just enough detail to make your skin crawl, but not enough to give you nightmares. I loved everything about this book, right to the last page. The fact that Sloane had been hurt by so many people in her life, yet she never completely closed herself off to others is inspiring. The fact that these kids are terrified of what's going on, yet none of them give up. They always keep pushing to survive. There are times where they don't get along because the pressure is so high, but they always do whatever they can to help each other out in the end.
This is Not a Test is an incredibly horrifying and perfect zombie novel told from the perspective of a girl who has no will to live, yet finds herself fighting for her life when it comes down to it. She also realizes that even though she's been abandoned by the only person she thought she could trust, she finds friendship in an unlikely place. I loved that this book was more about the psychology rather than the actual zombies, and there is no doubt that I'll be adding Courtney Summers' other novels to my list of books to read.