Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a TestIt’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?

I loved this book, but I have one question; why is it that most, if not all zombie books have the survivors camping out in a school. How are schools safer than skyscraper office buildings or houses or whatever... just a quick question...

Anyway, on with the book. I really liked the angle that Summers took on zombies. This book isn't an action packed or gore filled zombie book, instead it's a book that's dark and heavy on suspense and focuses more on the conflicting personalities and isolation and the fear of the zombies than the action and I really liked that. There are very few scenes where we actually see the zombies and I liked that.

When I heard that Summers was writing a zombie book I didn't know what to expect. This book isn't too far out of Summers' usual writing style. the character of Sloane is typical of the author as she is suicidal and angry with a big survival instinct when it kicked in and she showed some serious growth throughout the book. I didn't really like her as a character because she was very selfish at times and mopey all the time but I'm very glad that Summers didn't go it too much of a new direction and stayed a little in her comfort zone and to be honest the darker tone of the book is typical of some of Summers' deeper contemporaries anyway.

I liked the really diverse characters in this book. Trace is the 'bad guy' but he was well developed, Grace was lovely and sweet, Harrison was young and naive, Cary was tough and ruthless but also caring and Rhys is loyal to a fault and sweet and also quite angry. There was a little bit of romance, but it was well-developed and took a backseat to the rest of it.

Bottom line? I loved this book. The characters and the plot and the writing were outstanding and the zombies and the tone were absolutely awesome. Very well done to Ms Summers.

Overall Rating: A-

Book released June 19th 2012 by St Martins Griffin
Book received as an eGalley for review through NetGalley

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