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?
It starts with a shocking scene of Sloane discovering the zombie invasion. I was hooked from chapter one. She ends up with a group of teenagers from her high school with whom she has barely had contact before. They seek shelter in her High School and must coexist while they figure out what to do next. With the apocalyptic threat on the background, the problems end up being more within.
Gripping and addicting, This is Not a Test is everything I hoped it'd be. Courtney Summers' words are made of awesome. Every sentence is so emotionally charged that it seems like all these feelings are just trapped inside the story, waiting for YOU to feel them. It's like a peek inside the world of REAL teenagers who just need to be heard.
This book was no exception. Even though it has zombies, it also has the trademark Summers contemporary feel. It's basically a realistic fiction book with a touch of zombie-rific-ness, which just serves as a threat in the background. And OF COURSE it has the tension. The constant vibrating tension, an obvious relationship tension (between all characters) and a new tension brought by this threat of zombies.
To be fair, this tension did seem to diminish a bit in the middle of the book, but I felt it was somewhat needed. It's hard to read while biting your nails during the whole book.
The character development was very well done, and one of my favorite things about the story was the relationship between the group. We know that in difficult circumstances the dynamics within a group become belligerent, and people become hostile and estranged. Courtney brilliantly portrays these dynamics from the point of view of one of the less problematic characters. All the unease and suspense within the group was fascinating.
I may be a little biased because I LOVE anything Courtney writes, but this book was incredible. I can't wait for more from her!