Thursday, May 16, 2013

{Thoughts On} This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Title: This is Not a Test (Goodreads)
Author: Courtney Summers
Pages: 322
Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

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 wantto 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?

Anyone who knows me knows that I've become a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead thanks to my friend, Mandy. Since she got me hooked on the show, I've been trying to find a good post-apocalyptic zombie-ish book to read. Enter Kat's The Aussie Zombie Recommends page on her fantastic blog. I looked up all the titles she mentioned and my library only had one. This is Not a Test was awesome. 

Although the cover is entirely creepy, I am not sure what it has to do with the plot. The title, however, is genius. I loved how it played out in the book.

Sloane was hard for me to like because she is just so depressed and ready to give up. But she has a strength that she doesn't even know she has and I enjoyed how she grew through the book. While I still don't really like her, I do admire how she handled things. When she made mistakes, she admitted it and put others in front of herself.

Cary, Rhys, Grace, Trace and Harrison were well developed characters and I was easily able to put myself there in that high school with them. The first part of the book was a bit slow for me but once the action picked up and I got to know the characters better, I wasn't able to put this book down until I finished it. I read it at night which added to the tension and a well timed text I received just about made me come out of my skin. Note to self, don't read scary book in the dark and forget that your phone is on vibrate. *shudder*

I thought that Summers did an excellent job of making the days seem like I think they would be. A whole lot of action but times of just sitting around...waiting for the end. One thing I was thinking throughout is that if we are hit with a zombie apocalypse, I want to be in a in school that has a library...water and food from the cafeteria and all the books I can read until the zombies eat out my brains. 

There are realistic dynamics between all the characters and I loved seeing them develop over time. They were stuck together for better or worse and that leads to all kinds of interesting scenarios. I don't want to be spoilery but I will say that a couple of scenes were completely unexpected but completely believable and totally hot.

I wasn't sure what to expect with the ending but it was satisfying and very well done. Summers writing style was wonderful so I'm looking forward to picking up her other books soon. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars only because the beginning was a bit slow for me but the last 2/3 of the book was excellent and it was about so much more than surviving.

Fans of zombies, post-apocalyptic and just flat out excellent writing will enjoy this one. This is Not a Test packed a punch...made me laugh, made me cry, made me scared and in the end, made me very glad I read it. It seemed like it could be real life but with zombies thrown it for added awesomeness. 

Rating: 4/5

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