AUTHOR Courtney Summers
PUBLICATION June 19, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
READ June 2, 2012
BUY IT Amazon / The Book Depository
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?
A copy was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.
This book blew me away. I have had zero luck with the zombie genre which has been a huge let down for my because I love zombies in my movies and on my TV. This Is Not a Test completely broke through my zombie rut and gave me hope for other books in it's genre. What I think I loved the most about it, was that it was really about the characters, and how they grow and change throughout. Yes there is a fair amount of biting off faces and crowbars through faces, but it's more a character study and an exploration into how people deal with dire situations.
Our MC Sloane Price completely tore my heart out throughout. I can't even count the number of times I found tears streaming down my face as her thoughts about her past and her future sunk in. She was so empty, her life was so depressing and she had completely let go. It was hard to read at times, I will admit, but I love brutal honestly in my books. The pain that Sloane felt because of her sister abandoning her and being the sole victim of her father's evil tirades was so real. I can't even tell you how well the melancholy setting of this novel was conveyed, you have to read it, you really do.
The 5 others that Sloane takes cover with within the walls of Cortege High School are all 3 dimensional characters that I found myself totally invested in. Trace & Grace are twins and their bond is something that I would long for in a situation such as this. Trace was a very hard character to like, and I really didn't like him, but the protectiveness he showed for his sister and the love he showed for his parents made me at least connect with him. Harrison, though frustrating, was a perfect contrast to the strengths of those around him. I wanted to reach into the book, shake him, and tell him to grow a pair, but he really does evolve as the story goes on. And Rhys and Cary were the kind of jilted leaders that are necessary to have around.
There is a touch of romance within these pages, as much as there can be during a zombocalypse, but it did not overshadow the desperate emotion of the story and played a small part. The ending is quite abrupt and it did not go the way I was expecting but that served to make me love this novel even more. This is definitely a must read this year, but be prepared that you are in for some emotionally charged reading. I absolutely loved everything about this book and can't wait to read more from Courtney Summers.