This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test #1)
Author: Courtney Summers
Publication: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Genre: Dystopian, Paranormal, Horror, Zombies
Read: October 2015
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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?
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This was much more of a psychological type of thriller than I thought it was going to be. It had some action but it was much more about the problems that this type of situation causes in your mentality. It was scary and intense and full of death, not just in physical but also in thought process. It was all very anxiety inducing without being a very fast read.
Writing Style – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoy Courtney’s writing style, one of the reasons I picked up this book in the first place. It’s poetic but in a very ‘in your face’ and honest sort of way. It’s very sharp and unapologetic and doesn’t beat around the bush with tough topics or things that may be taboo. It’s very detailed and incredibly gruesome which lent itself very well to this genre.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is where it fell a little flat for me. I am huge on character driven stories and I just didn’t connect very much to the main character or to the others if I’m honest. Sloane is just plain weird. She’s depressive and has dealt with physical abuse for years and she has the kind of mentality of someone whose given up on life. She’s has this obsessive quirk to her personality and she’s suicidal which then makes her be kind of selfless in regards to the other people in the group of survivors she’s in. She’s a little bit off her rocker and while it turned me off a bit, it didn’t surprise me at all. Courtney Summers has the tendency to write really off putting characters to open your mind to their situations. The rest of the characters are all just a bit off, for their own specific reasons. The group dynamic was also really strange but there was a kind of camaraderie that built up over time.
I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was very very weird but intriguing.
The plot is strange. In a lot of ways. We follow a group of teenagers who get thrown together while trying to survive what can only be described as a zombie apocalypse. They end up sheltered at their high school and the story surrounds them, their relationships and their choices. This is the kind of story that could’ve been really boring, even with the zombie element, because it’s more about the people than about what’s going on around them. And I’m not going to lie, there were some parts that had me yawning but it always managed to keep this really anxious undertone to everything. It kept me on the edge of my seat without it needing to be fast paced or full of action to accomplish it. Just a little lingering sense of dread and horror to keep you interested. Most of the time these kids were waiting around or discussing what to do with their existences but there were certain scenes placed in just the right moments that keep the reader engaged and in the mindset of the genre that this book is in. Otherwise, this would’ve felt like a really sucky contemporary novel.
Sloane is one of the weirdest points of views I have ever read. She’s suicidal, which makes me uncomfortable and I imagine that is the point. She is very clear and decided on her wish to leave the Earth and is just looking for the right moment to execute it without hindering her companions. It was really disturbing but sweet at the same time, even when she’s down on herself, she’s being selfless. Really strange, don’t gotta tell me twice. She has this obsession with her sister who is not around and it builds this driving force for her and her actions. She was just a generally off character and it was really hard to connect with her.
The rest of the characters all have some sort of issues. Grace and Trace, a brother and sister duo who are stuck in the past. Harrison, a freshmen unknown to the rest of the group who is really emotional and vulnerable. Cary who is the pseudo leader and has some issues from his actions. And last Rhys, who is probably the most level headed and determined of them all. This book wasn’t what I expected but I am interested to know how things progressed from the ending to the sequel.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know if you’ve read this and what you thought. Thanks for reading and see you on my next post.