Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

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?

Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombie
Source: My own Tower of Books

Not since I read The Book Thief over four years ago have I been so in awe of somebody's writing. I'm not saying the writing is the same as in that book, but it is so totally different from any other style/approach to a story and it is freaking amazing. The words 'verbal vomit' come to mind. BUT not in a bad way at all.  It's as if the author can harness the insane way our own brains work and think through things in our heads, where only we can hear, and that's how she writes for the MC in this book, Sloane. The emotions in it are so truthfully deep. Purely genius and fan-frickin-tastic to read.

Sloane (wishing I could have a fourth child to use this name on :) is living with her father when the world goes to hell. And it all goes wrong on the day she was planning to kill herself to be free from her abusive father and also to be free from the ache and betrayal of her sister leaving her there with her dad to basically suffer his abuse alone.

The progression of her character in this book is beautiful and poetic to read. She finds herself in a group of survivors inside of her old school. The problem being that she has never wanted to survive, the zombie outbreak hasn't shattered her world like it has all the others because she's never felt like she had something to live for anyway. As she's narrating the story I noticed that at first she's always talking about everyone else, narrating what's going on while she watches. She doesn't really get involved but as she starts trying to come to terms with the things warring within her she gradually becomes more present in her first person narrative. If that makes sense :) I was seriously in awe of Courtney Summers writing in this, like it was blowing my mind as to how someone could even write something so amazing.

I should definitely mention that this book will be appealing to absolutely everyone. Yes, I'm going to stand by that blanket statement. You don't like zombies? Cool, because this book isn't about zombies. You love zombies? Great, because this book has those. It's a book about people and emotions and motivations and so many other things...that just so happens to have zombies in it as the catalyst for all those other things to be revealed.

I want to also bring up how much I love the cover and title of this book.  The cover is just straight up awesome.  And I should point out that you'll be seeing some more blood spattering on the pages within the book as you go along. Now that title. Before reading the book I just assumed that it was playing into the fact that they were trapped in a school and it's not a test, get it? More literally it's taken from a radio broadcast in the book that repeats 'This Is Not a Test' over and over. But once you've read the whole thing it takes on such a new meaning in regards to Sloane and how she deals with the entire situation.

Obviously I loved this book and I think everyone should read it and love it too :)


Anonymous said...

Great review, I really want to read this book so bad. I'm glad you think it was good. I really hoped it wasn't bad. The blurb was soo interesting, like, Will she live? Will she go off into the zombie-fied world and get eaten? Hmmm...

Great review and blog.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved this book. Man, reading your review makes me want to read it again!


Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

Wow!!! I loved this book so much, and your review totally encompasses everything that is so amazing about it! Great review!!!

Jackie M. said...

@Kandee I can't wait til you read it b/c you will seriously love it!!

@Jenny and Jessi For reals...this book is one of my favorites ever. Sooo good :)))