Monday, September 3, 2012

REVIEW: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Title: This is Not a Test (#1)
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Release Date: June 19/2012
Acquired: Purchased
Goodreads: ADD

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 think it should be noted that this was my very first "zombie book." The first chapter of this book alone was enough to make me want to close it shut, throw it to the ground, and not pick it back up. Which isn't a negative implication on the author's writing ability, but quite the contrary, Ms. Summers just succeeded in scaring the living crap out of me.

Many reviewers pointed out that this book wasn't so much a "zombie" book as it was a book that explored the very core of survival, and all of the self-deprecating and enlightening things that can ensue when one is faced with their untimely demise. I, for one, was terrified beyond belief,
 and less capable of concentrating on what was happening INSIDE of the school, as opposed to what was happening on the OUTSIDE: the constant terror of a possible breach. Courtney Summers managed to create a very unfortunate series of events (hah) in this one. On the one hand, I completely understood Sloane's state of mind before the zombies showed up: she was living in a home situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But once that situation was conveniently solved by the sudden outbreak of zombies, I just couldn't empathize with Sloane's still present "I still want to end it all" attitude anymore-it just didn't seem realistic to me. There are zombies..ZOMBIES! suddenly infecting and wiping out every and anyone you have ever known, therefore I can hardly believe you would be so blasé about that tidbit, no matter what your situation was prior.

But those issues aside, I enjoyed the way this storyline played out- the scenes held just enough drama and dialogue to keep the momentum going. The side characters were diverse, and for the most part, made me believe what they were feeling when they claimed to be feeling it. Other times, I just wanted so much more considering the circumstances.

I will definitely be checking out more of what Courtney has to offer!

Read if you like:
Monsters of Verity series by Victoria Schwab
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Key themes:
zombies, suicide, survival, loss, death 

credit: (author page)

COURTNEY SUMMERS was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. When she was around 10 years old, her local theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha (directed by her father) sparked a dream of telling stories that would move people the same way that musical had moved her.

At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. During this time, she explored various creative mediums in search of the one that would best suit her desire to be a storyteller. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. When Courtney is not writing, she enjoys playing video games, watching horror movies, Supernatural, and planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. In 2016, she was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30.



  1. I completely agree with you. I had the same issue-- I can't really relate to a main character who just wants to end her life the whole time. I felt like she just wanted to fling herself into a mass of zombies. If she actually succeeded, this book would have been a lot shorter.

    1. RIGHT!? It just took away from the book so much. I really want to check out other books by this author though, have you read any?

  2. i love this book..i gave 4 of the best zombie's book i've ever read....

    1. It WAS pretty great right. I haven't read many zombie books since, I need to get on that!

  3. I've been really interested in this book for awhile now, never got to read it though. Looks ok. Great review.

    1. I say you definitely give it a chance if you're into the genre. Courtney Summers is pretty talented with her words!

  4. I actually kind of liked this book :/

  5. Great review, I've had this on my TBR for a while and this makes me want to read it more (I love zombies).

  6. I was torn on the whole suicidal aspect of it--it bothered me some, but I also found it really fascinating to see someone who is suicidal thrown into a situation where they're one of the lucky few survivors and having to face the guilt of wanting to die when everyone else is fighting so hard to stay alive.

  7. This is one I really want to read. There are actually other books that talk about people who are suicidal in those types of situations. The Jonathan Maberry Rot and Ruin series has a cult similar to that. Great review!


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