Sunday, June 17, 2012

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Title:  This is Not a Test
Author:  Courtney Summers
Series:  n/a
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date:  June 19, 2012
Source:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC tour

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?


I don’t know if I can adequately explain how brilliant this book is, but I’ll give it a try.  I knew better than to expect an average zombie novel, based on the buzz This is Not a Test was already getting before I picked it up.  What I did not expect was how the book would affect me personally.  I finished reading this book almost a week ago, and I’m still dwelling on it, trying to collect my thoughts.  But I’ll try to keep this short and spoiler-free.
This is Not a Test was poignant, sad, disturbing…the end-of-the-world at its most real.  It was about the aftermath, not the before, not the cause.  This story is about what remains when the world collapses around you.  How you survive.  How you cope…or don’t.  It’s about six kids who become unlikely allies (or enemies in some cases).  The story follows these kids, through the eyes of Sloane, and it shows us just how little we know the people in our lives. This novel is full of deep characters with consciences but questionable morals, and they’re all trying to survive as best they can. 
This book was so raw and it felt so authentic.  So much so that it makes one wonder if Courtney Summers survived the zombie apocalypse in a former life.  It may not be a full-on zombie novel, but I still don’t recommend it if you’re squeamish.  The zombies ARE scary as hell when they’re around, but you don’t see much of them for the majority of the novel.  The threat of the walking dead is enough to be scary, in and of itself.  But what makes this story truly revolting is the choices that have to be made.  How do you kill someone who is infected but not yet turned?  How could that NOT affect you?  How do you go on living when everyone you knew and cared for is dead and gone?  The dilemmas faced in this book were far more terrifying than the zombies…at least until the kids are faced with the zombies once again.  Then all bets are off.
The author has created such a realistic portrayal of human behavior in the aftermath of an apocalyptic nightmare.  I fully expect to still be thinking about this one for weeks.  It's definitely not for the faint of heart.  This was my first Courtney Summers novel, though I have Fall for Anything on my shelf, but after This is Not a Test, I want to read everything she's ever written or even thought about writing.

Rating:  Photobucket

Book-A-Likes:  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick






17 comments:

  1. This sounds really awesome. Thank you for sharing :)

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    1. It really is...I hope you get a chance to pick it up.

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  2. Great review Jen! I too adored this book, and I don't even like zombies. I couldn't find the words to explain how amazing this book was either haha :p

    ~Emily@Emily's Crammed Bookshelf

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    1. I love zombies, but I think I would have loved this book either way. I'll have to check out your review to see what you came up with. :)

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  3. Yes yes yes yes yes! I REALLY liked this book. Courtney Summers is awesome. I absolutely love that this is a zombie book about choices and state of mind.

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    1. She is awesome. So so so awesome. I'm really anxious to read Fall for Anything now. I'm sure it'll be just as great.

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  4. It certainly is brilliant. Great review! I loved this one too..

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    1. I'm so glad it's receiving such positive feedback for pretty much everyone. :)

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  5. I'm dying to read this! And can you believe it... I've never read a zombie book! Great review!

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    1. What?!? :P Well, this would be a really great one to start with.

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  6. Awesome review, Jen! I can't wait to read this one!

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    1. At least there's not too long of a wait! ;)

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  7. I am reading this right now -- just started. Love Courtney Summers' writing -- it's always very emotionally charged.
    If a zombie book is really well-written, I'll try it!

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    1. It's very zombie-light, so I think you'll be okay. :P Seriously, the zombies are an external threat that you don't see much of throughout the book, so no need to hide under the covers...yet. :)

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  8. Awesome review!I am not a big fan of books about zombies and end of the world theme, but I think I would enjoy this one.I would like to know if what would happen in the end, the consequences, or the choice of the main character to hold on still in her life even if there is no reason to hold on at all. Thanks for posting!

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    1. It was definitely interesting to see how Sloane handled the situation, considering even before the zombie outbreak, she'd already felt she had no reason to live.

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  9. Great review! Couldn't agree more - this is about so much more than zombies!

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