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This Is Not a Test Paperback – June 19, 2012

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Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable. Hardcover | Kindle
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up-Sloane Price has been raised by an abusive father, and her life is a living nightmare. Her only silver lining is her older sister, her protector and her main source of strength. But Lily runs away, abandoning Sloane and leaving her to deal with the consequences. The past six months of torment have left the teen a shell of her former self and destroyed her will to live. When the zombie apocalypse strikes, she flees one life of horror in exchange for another. Rescued by a group of teenagers, Sloane and company painstakingly make their way across town, finding refuge inside Cortege High School. Huddled behind barricades, the group tries to make sense of the madness outside while grieving for their loved ones-all while hearing the constant thump, thump of the zombies at the doors. This Is Not a Test is a riveting and powerful novel that unfolds through the brutal first-person narrative of Sloane, a broken teen who in many ways is already dead. As the story evolves, the relationships among the characters intensify as they are pushed to the brink of humanity. Summers's brilliant writing has readers confronting their own fears while witnessing what happens to good people when forced to make ruthless decisions in a senseless world. This fascinating and haunting story with sophisticated content and themes will stay with readers long after they finish the last page.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"This Is Not a Test is both sexy and desolate, and it will blast a hole through your heart, yet somehow start to stitch it back together again"—Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds and The Rivals

"Courtney Summers is a ferocious talent in YA fiction. This Is Not a Test brought me to tears, caused me to gasp in shock in public places, and almost put a stop to my heart . . . Summers' voice is raw with emotion, and utterly right for the impending zombie apocalypse."—Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls

"[Courtney Summers] blends all the perfection and simplicity that defines her writing so well with this added paranormal element for a snappy, exciting story I just couldn't stop reading, and then I got to the very end and realized that it was about so much more than just making it out alive."—Julie Cross, author of Tempest

"Intriguing.... It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices.... Unusual and absorbing."—Kirkus


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312656742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312656744
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada. She is the author of several novels for young adults including CRACKED UP TO BE, THIS IS NOT A TEST and ALL THE RAGE.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nikki Wang on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
*Complimentary copy provided. This does NOT affect my review in any way.*

What happens when the girl who never wanted to keep going ends up being one of the only to survive?

This book just blew me away. The prose was absolutely wonderful, the book well-written, the plot shocking, and the characters are complex, each with their own ups and downs. I'll admit, I was worried that witht he zombies, I wouldn't like it, much less love it. I've never liked zombies so I was a bit nervous to start this book. And yet, I still dove head-first in this awesome book. This has been said so many times (About a gazillion), but zombies were not a major part of This is Not a Test. I repeat, they were not a major part of Thisis Not a Test. Another worry: They were locked in a school? How was Courtney Summers going to write a 300 page story in the same exact setting? I didn't know, I thought it was impossible. But somehow she did it and not only did she accomplish it, she made it into one of my favorite books of 2012!

Let's talk about the creep factor: I was reading This is Not a Test at night, despite many warnings not to, and had reached a part where the zombies come a-knocking. door creaked open. That was the part where I put the book down and turned out the lights. The writing is intense, to say the least. After all, we have 6 teenagers who are desperate to stay alive after everyone and everything they loved have gone up in smoke (figuratively, of course.) No matter how annoying the characters become, you can't help but forgive them for each stupid thing. They just felt so real, so sad, and so...ugh. Tehre are no words for how amazing these characters are, despite their shortcomings.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christina (Ensconced in Lit) on June 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been touted as one of the big YA blockbusters of the summer, so I have been waiting eagerly for it to come out.

Good zombie YA fiction is hard to come by. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is an attempt to rectify that fact. We are introduced to Sloane, the protagonist, who has been beaten repeatedly by her father and is completely emotionally dependent on her sister Lily, who has just run away and has left Sloane behind. Sloane is about to commit suicide when the infection takes hold of the rest of the town, converting everyone into zombies, except a select few teenagers who have holed up in their high school. What follows is a combination of a horror movie and Lord of the Flies. The teens have to make hard decisions and try to stay alive.

There are a lot of wonderful things about this book. The tone is dark and depressing, and it should be. I'm still thinking about what happened in the book. There are strong supporting characters and Summers is not afraid to kill off characters. How the future unfolds is not out of the realm of possibility in a zombie apocalypse. And how things deteriorate inside of the school is also very believable.

I wonder at the decision to make Sloane the protagonist. It's an interesting choice, because during the whole book she is trying to find ways to commit suicide, and yet, she still remains alive even though many other people succumb to the virus. She seems to drift through the book like a ghost. I try to imagine if another character had been the main one-- the idea that there is a suicidal person surviving in an end of world situation is interesting, but one that doesn't maintain interest throughout a whole novel.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wastepaper Prose on July 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a tough review for me to write because the concept had me hooked from the beginning, but it turns out I was more in love with the idea than the finished product. Solid as the elements are, they never gelled for me.

Six people who've spent years living on the outskirts of each others lives are now trapped together, barricaded inside their high school, facing down the end of the world. Their weak ties are just strong enough to bind them in the moment, in the most far-fetched hope of survival. They cling to each other, to memories, to the remnants of life and the hope that there's still a future to be had.

Told fits and spurts of thought and action, Courtney Summers captures the story of these teenagers in a series of intense moments. Summers storytelling and ability to convey complex thoughts and emotions in beautiful, concise, and poignant phrases are probably my absolute favorite things about this novel. It made for a quick read and only after I finished each chapter was I able to appreciate how much had "happened" in those few pages.

Sadly, the blending of genres wasn't as seamless as I'd hoped it would be. All the pieces were there. A people driven story full of need, regret and imperfection. A grisly, brutal world in which self-preservation is paramount. The problem was I felt more time was spent balancing the genre and contemporary elements than crafting a cohesive story.

I spent a lot of time wondering, "why zombies?" I have no problem with zombies. In fact, I've been reading a lot of them lately. I just couldn't grasp why that had to be what caused these teenagers to be trapped together. From early on you know the zombie apocalypse is nigh, but then you go 200-plus pages without seeing another zombie.
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