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This Is Not a Test Paperback – June 19, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“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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Top Customer Reviews
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. And....my 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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
That being said, I still found the book to be pretty mediocre. As another reviewer notes, it doesn't really add anything to the conversation (whether that conversation is about zombies or teen angst). The author does throw around some interesting ideas about survival and the will to live and what it means to be alive, but again, it's not really anything new (or better).
Sloane's father beat her and her sister. Methodically and aggressively. Lily (older sister) and Sloane talk about leaving. They save money, they dream of a home without their father, and more importantly... with each other. Sloane's world comes crashing down when she wakes one day to find a note from Lilly 'I'm sorry I can't do this anymore', and Lily gone. She wants to die now but doesn't know how, Lily took her sleeping pills with her and Sloane can't cut herself. It seems though that the apocalypse tears apart broken homes as well as happy ones. Zombies start rising and Slone's world continues to crash.
Fast forward a week later and Sloane is in the company of other teens who are hiding out in their high school. The zombies are relentless and tempers come to a boil. Sloane just wants to die though, maybe heroically, maybe quietly, but she has wanted to die since she read Lily's note. But the other teens are survivors and Sloane finds herself being pulled along, until she starts quietly caring for someone else... another boy Rhys.
Tragedy strikes the group again and again, and the author throws twists at readers mercilessly. Good people who do bad things. Good people who sacrifice one person for the group, wimpy people who die saving others, the list goes on and on, until the readers are left contemplating human nature and the necessity of evil.
The end of the book left me feeling like I did when I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth... at the end of the journey is this it? Was the cost worth the sacrifices? What's left?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Courtney Summers is an absolute goddess and the complete queen of my bookshelf. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Samantha Reed
I generally steer clear of the horror genre and apart from binging The Walking Dead in December, I'd never been interested in zombies. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Rebecca
I enjoy horror stories and everything that goes with them, so I was really interested in this book especially based off of the plot. After reading it, I think it was just okay. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Amanda Torres
This Is Not a Test kept me up until 3am reading, then for the rest of the night stressing over zombies and the apocalypse and life and friends and... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Nicole
I really enjoyed this book! The plot was suspenseful and kept me wanting to read more. Most fans of The Walking Dead will enjoy reading this, as it takes place during the zombie... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Laura Hamilton
I wasn't really invested in any of the characters. The protagonist could be said to be suffering from depression and with the dead walking, it's awfully nihilistic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shane Michael Toumey
After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that Courtney Summers can do no wrong. This is so different from her other books. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cynthia Parten