This is Not A Test by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martins Griffin June 2012
Source: Borrowed from library
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?
I finished reading This is Not A Test a week ago and I still haven’t fully recovered. So much more than a ‘zombie’ book, it was hard to read for reasons that I did not expect. Usually characters in Zombie novels are running from death, not toward it, and as the story continues we learn that Sloane’s home life is scarier than most apocalyptic fiction. It was interesting that though Sloane had given up on living she turns out to be the one with the most courage….is it that she has nothing left to lose? There were so many pages filled with stand out, beautifully crafted writing:
One of My favourite scenes:
“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it. They don’t tell you how you will float through days. You autopilot, here but not really here, sleepwalking, and then every so often you are awake.
The next moment that matters turns out to be this one: “Do you need anything?”
Not overly gory as zombie books go, but disturbing and intense just the same. Take complex characters and throw them into a life or death situation and it becomes a book that is impossible to put down. I couldn’t wait to get back to read this everyday and when I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was my first Courtney Summers book but it won’t be my last.