Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers

Summary: 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? 

Why I read it: I've heard so many great things about Courtney Summers books, and especially This is Not a Test. So when I made my rather large Book Outlet order and saw this on the site, I knew I had to pick it up. Since it's got zombies, I decided it would be a perfect October read!

Thoughts: I totally understand why everyone loves Courtney Summers so much.

I had high expectations for This is Not a Test, and it fulfilled every one of them. This book has been described as The Breakfast Club with zombies, and I can see that. I've also heard from many a reviewer that this is not really a "zombie book." It's more like a contemporary that just happens to have zombies in it. I honestly think it's a bit of both. I'm having a really hard time putting my feelings into words here.

I really can't go into too much detail on plot or characters because it's a book best read blind. Read it without knowing too much, and just let the words speak for themselves.

However, I do love the characters. All six survivors in the high school, Sloane included, have such a variety of motivations and personality quirks that make them all different. And none of them are purely good or bad. Courtney's teenage characters are extremely realistic, each one having both their own strengths and flaws.

And the writing is marvelous. As I said above, I think this is both a contemporary book AND a zombie book. The heart of the book is the character development for all six characters--especially Sloane--but that doesn't mean that Courtney skimps on the action scenes. Every time the main characters interacted with the dead had me on the edge of my seat.

After I finished this book, I had to go back and read the last few pages again a few times, and really let it all sink in. This is definitely one of those books that make you think, and it's so wonderful and heartbreaking.

Oh, and Courtney is releasing an e-novella sequel in January, titled Please Remain Calm. I am literally jumping up and down in anticipation of another glimpse at this world.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read This is Not a Test? What were your thoughts? 
AND have you read any other Courtney Summers books? If so, which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 

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