Title : This Is Not a Test
Author : Courtney Summers
Publisher : St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date : June 19th, 2012
Red Flags : some violence, some sexual situations and language (older adolescent appropriate)
Three Words : character driven, zombies, slower paced
How Obtained : from the library!
Summary : Sloane Price has decided to kill herself. Six months ago her world ended when her sister left her alone in their father’s house. Now it is time to get out as well. The day she decides to do it just happens to be the day that the zombie apocalypse happens. So her plans to kill herself are put on hold as she actually fights for her survival. Sloane and five other teenagers have managed to make it to the high school and hole up there in hopes that they will be rescued or at least don’t get eaten. They seem to have found a perfect place, the high school has food, water and few windows for the zombies to get inside through. As the days slowly crawl by, the teenagers must struggle with their own issues and with each other. Sloane finds herself seeing the apocalypse through the eyes of those who still want to live. Soon the group dynamic will change drastically and they will have choices to make….who will survive? Will Sloane even want to?
My Take : First I have to say if you are a big fan of zombie books then this will probably NOT be your cup of tea. This is not a zombie book, it is a book that happens to have zombies in it. This is a character study where the circumstances of the zombie apocalypse provide the background for seeing what the heck these people are going to do.
Wow! I really enjoyed this book. I can see why it made YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for YA readers in 2013. The characters were so interestingly developed, the story was slow-paced but that actually was fantastic for this book. These teens are trapped in the school for days with nothing to do except deal with each other and the things they have done. It was super interesting and while you don’t fall in love with any of the characters per se, you certainly can relate to their feelings. In the quest for survival you would have to do things that may haunt you – is it worth surviving if you have to deal with all of that?
Although this is mainly a character piece, there are still plenty of events that happen to move the story along. It is a slow pace but not in a boring way. I would say that my only issue with this book is that I wasn’t all that jazzed about Sloane herself. She didn’t exactly endear herself to me in that she didn’t have that much of a personality outside of her deep depression and issues with her father. That being said, it may just be the point of the whole book. We are all made up of our pasts and the things we have done to get to our present. Some of it may not be so great. (oooh I’m getting all philosophical here).
My Rating : Nine shoes – Excellent