Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

Author: Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: June 19th 2012

(Read an excerpt here.)

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? ~ Courtesy of Goodreads

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.

Find out more about THIS IS NOT A TEST at these sites!


  1. I need a good "wow" book and I'm glad to hear that this was one of them. I love when books show how desperate and terrible people can be in times of despair and Summers has always been good at dealing with the ugly. Great review!

  2. I do like the idea of the book taking place when the zombies are first attacking. I can imagine the horrible things that will happen. I know the human survival instinct causes people to do some truly bad things. Curious to see how it all works out.

  3. "The zombies were scary, yes, but the people were scarier". Love it! :) Impatiently waiting for the 19th so I can read this. Thanks for the review, it's made me that much more excited!

  4. I absolutely loved your review! Especially the last paragraph! This book was hell, it was terrible, and horrible, and suspenseful, and depressing... but I loved it! I never had a choice in loving it lol it made me love it! I have a question though: did you get the ending? Like... the very last paragraph of the book was just a question mark to me lol. Great review!

    Shae @ This is Not a Test review


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