Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers
Published June 19, 2012 
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Source:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour
Rating:  5/5 Stars

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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?

My Thoughts:  Sloane lives with her father, who beats her.  Her sister Lily left 6 months ago, shattering her world.  Without Lily, she felt she had no way to escape.  She was ready to give up on life, had written a note to Lily, and was planning to end it all.  There is a knock on the door and standing there is a woman covered in blood, the window shatters, a crazed woman is attacking her father.  Sloane runs outside and finds utter chaos.  People, who are no longer people, but vacant, soulless beings attack one another, feeding on one another.  Sloane and five other high school students make it to the school to take refuge.  They turn the radio on and hear a woman's voice "This is not a test."  That is how this books starts out.  Courtney Summers has you hooked from the very first chapter.  

There are zombies in this book, but the focus is not on zombies, but on the six teens that are trying to survive inside the school.  Six teenagers thrown together in a very stressful and fearful situation.  Each with their own unique issues to deal with, while trying to survive the constant threat of killers trying to get to them.  Sloane, Rhyse, Cary, Trace, Grace, and Harrison - this is their story.  Sloane the main character, appears strong, yet on the inside she just wants her life to end.  Rhyse, doesn't want to let that happen, but also has his own inner turmoil going on.  The twins, Trace and Grace, lost their parents on the way to the school to the zombies.  Then there is Cary, the leader, who they blame for their parents death, yet is more plagued with guilt than anyone is aware of.  Lastly, Harrison, the freshman who cries all the time, and is fearful.   As they fight for their lives, trying to survive, they each also try deal with their own issues, their own personal demons that they must face.  Friendships are strengthened, enemies are made, emotions are raw, love is found.  Not everyone will make it out of this.  Not everyone survives.    

This is Not a Test is one of those books that stays on your mind for days after you finish it.  I was completely consumed by the first chapter and did not want to put the book down.  This is a zombie book that is in a class all its own.  The best one I have read.  The characters were real, they had real issues and real problems, and Courtney Summers did an excellent job of enabling you to get into their heads and experience what they were thinking and feeling.  The story focused on these six students, yet there was always the element of fear and the threat of danger from those infected, which keeps you on the edge of yours seat.  There are some very intense moments.  The story is filled with twists and turns, and it is also very emotional, as these characters fight to survive.  If you are a zombie fan, then you won't want to miss this one, and if you are not, after you read this book, you just might become one.  This is Not a Test is an outstanding book and I would definitely recommend it.


  1. Great review! You describe everything so eloquently. I, too, enjoyed This is Not a Test and you did a great job at listing all the reasons why. *thumbs up*

  2. I loved this book so much too, great review!
    www.mostlyyabookobsessed.com (new domain, same blog)

  3. Courtney Summers is one of my favorite authors. This is her best book yet. Great review!

    1. Thanks. This is the first book I have read by her and I thought it was great.


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