This is Not a Test
This Is Not a Test is great storytelling. The author presents each theme in a very honest, realistic way. The characters are believable. It feels like a blend of zombie apocalypse meets Lord of the Flies.
Human beings can do some incredibly brave and heroic things when fighting for survival.A lot of apocalyptic and zombie stories touch upon this. This is Not a Test takes a different road and deals more with motivations and characters' dark histories. They can heroically cope with the zombie disaster. But they can also do some terribly selfish and cruel things.
The book focuses more on how the teenagers face surviving than on the zombie attacks themselves. But it does leave one to question: Are the real monsters flesh eating zombies or do the monsters reside inside of all of us?
While I didn't like Sloane and one of the other characters rubbed me wrong, I can appreciate the way Summers handled them. All the characters had very distinct personalities and I enjoyed watching the way they interacted as time went on. I really liked how Summers handled the subtle shifts in the group dynamic the longer they were stuck in close quarters together.
There's not really too much to say on the zombie front. They are a definite presence in the book, but there are only a few scenes in which they interact with our band of teens. I would have been down with more zombie scenes, but in the end, I didn't miss them all that much.
One more thing about Sloane: her stupidity almost hurt. I know her judgement was impaired by her mental state, but man, it was hard to read.
The Nutshell: In the end, I think I was a little let down by This is Not a Test simply because of all the hype. That, and Sloane is a bit of a downer. I'm glad I read it, though, and would probably suggest it to someone who enjoys contemporary and wants to dip their toes in the paranormal/horror genre.
I, personally, thought the last few paragraphs of This Is Not a Test were brilliant.
Basically, this is a zombie book, but it’s not a gory-type zombie book.
Sloane Price is sitting at the breakfast table one morning with a suicide note in her pocket, and someone knocks on the door. That someone is a zombie; the entire neighborhood is swarmed by infected. Sloane and five other teens make it to the high school and they barricade themselves inside. And then they wait. For almost three weeks.
This Is Not a Test isn’t some edgy, fast-paced action novel; it’s more of a psychological thriller. Similarly to William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, Summers focuses a lot on human nature and survival, which is pretty fascinating. Sloane and the other kids do a lot of arguing, they wait around, they have desperate l’m-dying-anyway-so-who-cares sex, they hate each other.
I think the characters were one of the most interesting things about This Is Not a Test. I honestly didn’t like any of them. I didn’t even really like Sloane, the narrator. But I did root for them, and I didn’t want them to die. It wanted them to survive, and they wanted to survive.
This is a really smart book. Summers creates a gritty horror novel with raw emotion and realistic personalities. For me, it was a book I loved but also cringed at. Summers’s prose is fluid and effective, yet sparse, and her characterization is brutal yet realistic.
My favorite quote: “I hate her. I hate her so much my heart tries to crawl out of my throat but it gets stuck there and beats crazily in the too narrow space.
I’m not a zombie expert, but I’d be willing to be that there aren’t many books out there like This Is Not a Test. It’s a book very much focused on the internal struggle for survival and personal demons, rather than the outward fight. I, personally, thought it was brilliantly done and can’t help wishing this was part of a series of connected stand-alones.
But I was completely wrong. Yes, it did actually turn out that everyone died except the main character and her lover, but it was so much more than that. It is such a chilling book that really draws you in and then breaks your heart.
I loved the main character because you know how they are usually the very determined, strong, survivor kind. That is not Sloane at all. Actually, she has been looking for a way to get out of her miserable life. She only joined up with the six others because she never thought that they would survive. But they did, and now she has to look for other opportunities to kill herself. But motivation to keep living keeps showing up.
When the blurb said: "Six month ago, her world collapsed," I thought it meant that the zombies had been around for six months, and that she had been dealing with them for six months, but actually it meant that her sister, who was her hero, left her and it broke her.
Don't be misled by the "zombie" part. Actually, this book is barely about the zombies at all. They only appear at the very beginning, a little in the middle, and at the end. The book is more about the world inside, and how it is just as dangerous as the world outside. Actually, it's not the walking dead that really makes you shiver, its what is happening inside.
This book is a really freaky thriller that will break your heart and chill you at the same time. The cliff-hanger at the end, oh my god, I was just like: "Are you serious? Are they gonna die? What happens next?" I am definitely going to be thinking about this book for the rest of my life, it is such a moving and chilling book.
I don't recommend this book to the faint-hearted, because some parts are quite scary.
I hope this review makes you desperately want to read this book. Trust me. You should. It is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!
I don’t want to write this review. I simply want to scream, “I love this book!” off a rooftop (or, you know, write it in my review space) and hope it encourages you to pick it up and hopefully love it as well. But I don’t know… I feel like I need to write a review for this book, but I know it will never come close to portraying how thoroughly amazing this book is, so please, just bear with me if you’re reading this review.
This is Not a Test was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year, and when glowing reviews from friends of my had started to roll in, my anticipation for this book only grew. Sadly, This is Not a Test was removed from NetGalley shortly before I started using NetGalley, so I was forced to wait a few months to read This is Not a Test. When it finally appeared on my Kindle the day of its release, I was extremely anxious to read it, but also nervous, not wanting my months of waiting and anticipation to only lead to disappointment. I can say—and very happily, might I add—that it did not.
I really, really love this book. I finished it not very long ago, and I had to pry myself from the seat in which I was sitting when I finished this book to write my review. As I turned the last page in This is Not a Test, I wasn’t sure whether I should sigh, or cry my eyes out. Ultimately, I ended up doing both.
This is Not a Test is the story of six teenagers, finding refuge in their high school in the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse. Having been beaten by her father and abandoned by her sister, Sloane—the main character—no longer feels the need or want to continue living. As friendships—and hatred—are formed among the six refugees, how far will one go to ensure their fellow refugees are safe?
It takes a very skilled author to have a reader go through and experience the grief and sorrow their characters are going through, and Courtney Summers does just that. All of the characters are real, they’re flawed, they’re emotional, and you’re praying they’re all just going to make it out of the apocalypse alive along with them. Summers has created such amazing and believable characters that you’ll find yourself caring very much for each and every one of them, even the ones you don’t want to care much for. She’s able to make you cry for a character you never really liked; make you cry for everything the characters have gone through, and Courtney Summers' talent as an author is immeasurable in that skill, and many others. This was my first book by Courtney Summers, but I can assure you that it won't be my last.
This is Not a Test is a book I will be thinking about long after I turn the last page, and it will likely be the same for you as well. I can only hope that everyone I recommend this book to feels the same way I do about it, if not more, because This is Not a Test is amazing, heartfelt, and special, and it’s so much more than just another zombie book.
(UPDATE: It's been months since I've finished it, yet I still get emotional just by thinking of this book.)
"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."
The blurb is a bit misleading where it says her world collapsed six months ago, because you think it means the zombies have been around for the past six months. I even thought it meant that Sloane had been trapped inside the school for the six months. But it really means that Sloane's sister, Lily, had left her family without any warning, and it shattered Sloane's heart. Don't be tricked by this confusing little twist of words.
I thought that it was so clever not to focus the entire book on the zombies outside the school, but on the teenagers inside, how they are dying as much as the rest outside. You hardly see the dead. They appear at the start, middle and the end. Perfect timings for perfect parts in a perfect book.
This is Not a Test is a freaky thriller. The walking dead are not what scares you, but the suspense and horror inside is what does. If you are up for the challenge and don't get nightmares easily, This is Not a Test (or Tina T) is the most perfect book for you.
-Everything comes together, no side stories shooting off into no where
This book is about a girl so dead inside that she wishes to join those dead outside.