Title: This Is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Publication Date: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Purchased myself
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 bit 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 onto?
"Lily, I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared. I opened my eyes and I felt it go."
In a Sentence
There are some things in life you can only see through death.
I remember how excited I was to read this book when it first came out. I mean, I'm one of those people who hears the word zombie and my ears instantly perk up. I read review after raving review, and finally bit the book-buying bullet when I read Kendra's from Novel Sounds rave coverage of it. (I also listened to her song picks for the book while writing this review, which you should totally check out as well). Furthermore, I'd heard a ton of great things about Courtney Summers from several of my favorite bloggers, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and read about zombies while checking another author off my try-for-the-first-time list.
However, as many of you have experienced personally, buying a book doesn't always means you get to read it right away. This book sat on my shelf for about six months before I got around to it (which sadly, is a pretty short for me these days). But I was DETERMINED to read it over Christmas break so I could finally see what all the fuss was about. And I can tell you this right off the bat...all the fuss is definitely well-deserved. I'm still not entirely sure that I've completely wrapped my head around everything that Summers managed to do with This Is Not a Test, but I loved that it kept me thinking about the story long after I turned the final page. In fact, I have at least three other book reviews that I needed to write before writing this one, but after finishing This Is Not a Test, I immediately felt compelled to share my thoughts, so I decided to bump it up on my review list.
I know other bloggers have said this before (though forgive me for forgetting where I first heard it), but I wanted to say it as well: This Is Not a Test is a zombie book, but it's so much more than that. In fact, I would highly recommend it to readers who are fans of zombies OR compelling, contemporary fiction, because it really does fit into both of those categories. And along with a compelling storyline, This Is Not a Test takes an in-depth look at a variety of complex themes that would appeal to those readers who are looking for a little more depth in their stories.
I have to admit...this is one of those reviews that was difficult for me to write. There's so much that I loved about this book, and I feel like I could spend hours talking about it in a literature class, but I also don't want to ruin the experience for anyone else. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed the book so much was that all I knew about it going in was that it was a book about zombies and a girl with a death wish. My recommendation for those of you who haven't heard a lot about the actual details of the story is to keep it that way. I think you'll enjoy it more. As far as my final thoughts? This is a book you don't want to miss.