TITLE: This is Not a Test
AUTHOR: Courtney Summers
GENRE: Young Adult Zombie/Dystopian
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?
THE GOODThere’s lots of good stuff in this book. Number one – emotion, or as my son would say (he actually picked this up off my desk to read it) DRAMA. I did warn him this was what I would consider to be a girl book. But it did not deter him. Regardless, he said he could’ve gotten by without the DRAMA in the beginning.I kinda liked the drama in the beginning, to be honest. So, forget him.Some of the characters in this book were well developed. By which I mean, they were unique and created with care. I liked Sloan the best and Trace and Grace second. They both get second since they are twins. Funny – the main love interest, Rhys, did nothing for me. Harrison was annoying, but that was his purpose, and Cary had a lot of potential, but never lived up to it in my opinion.I enjoyed the story and the writing style. It was an easy book to read – and that’s not saying it was simple. I’m saying it flowed, so it was easy to read. I’m reading another book right now that does not flow at all, and it makes reading it difficult. Sometimes I think authors want to write difficult books on purpose. And it’s not about plot either, it’s about complicated, profusely gushing sentences that you have to read so slow to get all the vowels in, you forget why you should care.This is Not a Test did not have that to muck it up and I liked it. Which is probably why my son devoured this book, regardless of the DRAMA.
Really, besides what I mentioned about the characters above, the only thing that was disappointing was the ending. But this is a big deal. Endings make the book. I’m not sure if there’s a sequel planned, I could not find mention of it on Goodreads, so I’m assuming not. The ending was unsatisfying.My son excused this with the hope that there would be a sequel, he said he felt like there should be one, so he’s basing his opinions of the end on that assumption. Otherwise, I think he’d feel the same way I do.
All in all, This is Not a Test is a good four star book that could’ve been a lifetime favorite, but just missed the mark for me. If there is a sequel I will definitely read it and maybe I’ll change my rating. It’s pretty clean, a bit of swearing and some teenage groping and assumptions - as well as talk and or implications of other characters having sex. But Sloan is a virgin and her purity stays intact. There is some drinking, smoking, and mention of pot, but it's the end of the world, so... For mature teens only for these reasons, as well as the violence of zombies, which can hardly be avoided.