Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on August 20, 2012 | 6 Comments

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney SummersThis is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Published by Walker Childrens (6.19.2012)
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 323 pages
Source: Gifted
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4 Stars

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 wantto 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 doyou hold on to?

My thoughts

This is what it sounds like when the world ends.

I’m kinda still mulling this one over. My first thought upon finishing this book? Jeesh, I need to go read something about rainbows and unicorns now. This is not a happy book. But that was perfectly fine with me! Every once in a while, it’s nice to read something dark that doesn’t have a HEA, because life doesn’t always have a perfect ending.

The beginning grabbed me right away, with the short scene showing some insight into Sloane’s life immediately followed by a zombie intro. I was expecting a lot more zombie scenes like that first one: Action, danger, and gore. But sadly those scenes were few and far between. It was really more about the kids dealing with how to survive than the actual zombies. When the zombies did appear though, it was awesome! They were portrayed so vividly in my mind that I felt like I was watching a zombie flick. I would have loved to see more of that.
I haven’t read many zombie books (other than this, just Dearly, Departed and Forest of Hands and Teeth are the only ones), but this one made me enjoy the subject.

I’m still not sure how I felt about Sloane. She annoyed me a lot in the beginning because all she could think about was killing herself. On one hand, I kinda didn’t blame her because her situation was terrible, but on the other, I found her irritatingly weak. I didn’t connect with her at all, and for the most part I felt she lacked personality. She was the only character that didn’t have much dimension.

I despised Trace. He had a few moments where I thought, Okay, maybe he’s not so bad after all, then he’d just go and do something totally asshole-ish and ruin it. There were so many times I wanted to knock his teeth out. I hated Harrison too. He was a spineless, sniveling coward that couldn’t even think for himself, and he irritated me so much that I spent the majority of the book wishing he would get eaten.
I’m not sure how I felt about Cary. Sometimes he was a complete asshat and sometimes he wasn’t. But overall, he was just there. I didn’t really care about him either way.

I think Courtney did a great job simulating what a group of people would be like while stranded and desperate. There were a few times where Lord of the Flies popped into my head, and I was wondering if it was going to turn out like that. Emotions ran high and got out of control a lot, and the characters did stupid things and acted in stupid ways. We saw all sides to the characters: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

This book had many shocking moments! I love a story that can keep me on my toes. Things didn’t always go the way you wanted it to, and a few times when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Many times I found myself thinking, Did that really just happen? Oh, yeah. It totally did.
Favorite character: Probably Grace. She was the best of them.
Plot: 3.5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5 starfish
Jessi (Geo)

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6 responses to “Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

  1. Great review! I’ve been getting much of the same from other reviews.
    It’s unfortunate that you weren’t able to connect with the characters and there wasn’t enough zombie action for your taste. (Many have said the same thing) I haven’t read this one yet, but from what I’ve heard, I think I might wait a while on this one. It sounds so dark and awesome that I just need to get my hands on it, but I’ve read many mixed reviews on this one.

  2. I always like to read a dark book sometimes (and I really loved The forest of hand and teeth series <3) Such a shame that there aren't so many gore zombie scenes, but I also like the sound of reading about surviving. How unfortunate that you couldn't connect with the characters, but I love the shocking moments ^^ I can't wait to dive into this one myself!

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while now and it’s so sad that it’s not available here yet. I also like novels that could keep on the edge of my seat so I’m really excited to read this one. Great review!

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