This is Not A Test
by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin
Publication date: June 19, 2012
Genre: YA Horror
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
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.
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
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.
everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
I have not read any of Courtney Summers' previous novels but
after devouring, This is Not A Test
, I certainly plan too. This YA horror takes
us on a riveting journey as a zombie outbreak occurs. She shares with us the tale of six
students who seek shelter in their high school. Its the Breakfast Club
meets Zombie apocalypse and I totally loved it.
It begins when we meet Sloan Price. She is sitting in her
bathroom contemplating suicide, when her father orders her to breakfast. We immediately
get a sense that something is seriously wrong with this family, as Sloane is
overly fearful of her father. Suddenly there is someone pounding at the front
door, screaming and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Zombies are attacking.
We next meet up with her, as she is helping to barricade the school. Here we
meet the other characters who will ride out this nightmare together. Summers' delivers an eerie tale, giveing us an
intense look at the effects of the outbreak on individuals and the group as a
whole. Some scenes reminded me of Lord of the Flies
and kept me completely immersed in the tale. From the first page to the last I was
spellbound. I became emotionally invested in the characters and the outcome.
The characters in This is Not a Test are beautifully fleshed
out. Each is damaged or fragile due to their own experiences before entering the
school. They have spent almost seven days together, traveling what would have been a twenty-minute journey across town to reach the school. There is tension from the get go; as some blame others for losses they
are experiencing. Sloan at first just
observes. She doesn't want to be here; she was prepared to die till the group
found her. I wanted to hug Sloan for the suffering she has experienced and at
the same time I admired her. We get to see her emerge, grow and feel. The other
characters all have different personalities and problems and my emotions
towards them were all over the place. It
was similar to the dynamics of the Breakfast Club characters and I loved
getting to know them. I laughed, cried and was scared right along with them. I loved each and every characters.
While we don’t see a whole lot of the zombies in Summers' world, we know they are there and the fear is real. Imagine being totally cut
off from society with an enemy banging at your door. Not really knowing the
people who are with you. Imagine trying to work as a team but in the back of
your mind wondering if they will have your back. She utilizes this to bring us a
captivating look at human’s in a stressful situation and nails it! The tale was beautifully paced, with scenes
that captured all of my emotions. The last part of the book was terrifying and had
my heart racing as I moved towards the dramatic conclusion. I love when the tale becomes real and the characters come alive. This is why I love to read and this is the high I chase in my addition
I highly recommend This Is Not A Test to fans of horror,
suspense and character driven novels. Summers grabs you at page one and holds
you long after the tale has ended. This
novel is currently on my top ten list for 2012. I have added Summer’s to my
author list and hope to read some of her other works soon.
I gave this novel 5 coffee cups out of 5.
Labels: character driven, Courtney Summers, eBook Challenge 2012, Ya Horror, zombies