Sunday, June 17, 2012

BR: This is Not A Test

by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers is a plus-one in my Holy Trinity of YA authors. That is all the introduction she needs.

Summary (goodreads)

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?

My Expectations: overwhelmingly high, but I hadn’t read any reviews for it.
Delivery: I died. (figuratively)
Put-down-ability: soooo low. I was in the middle of studying and just wanted to read a couple chapters… bad idea. Finished the book whilst in the library with all my textbooks open, 1.5/10

My Thoughts

Every time I read a new Courntey Summers book, I always end up declaring it my favourite, and I feel this shows the evolution of the author for the better. It was the same with This is Not A Test, which well, I loved. This review will avoid most plot points because I honestly believe if you go into this book not knowing much, it will be the best way.

Summers’ writing is almost a signature now—it’s as if each word has been carefully handpicked to give the most impact. I love her use of sentence fragments and the way Sloane’s thoughts were reflected on the page, the writing allowed me to get under the skin of the characters and really grasp me as I was reading.

And of course, the characters are outstanding. Having a cast of high school students each with their odd ties and conflicting personalities stuck at a school, during a “zombie apocalypse” no less, really brings character dynamics to a forefront. I freaking loved Sloane. In some twisted way, I loved the way the author portrayed her pain and her attitude towards life, and the thoughts behind her actions. But I also loved the other characters, yes, even the dbags because they were real. They felt real. The angst and the sadness and the pain all felt so real.

Also, I cried.

In addition, it’s a book that I read when I should have been studying for exams and yet I had to finish and I looked weird sitting in my library cubicle with trying to silence my sniffles. *shakes fist at author*

I don’t know what else to write. The book just got me. Zombie novels aren’t really my thing, but Courtney Summers’ novels are. They’re like the embodiment of “my thing”—writing that can break my heart, characters that grip me so deep, and a plot I become overinvested in. (oh yeah, the plot will get to you. Twists. Surprises. Heartbreak. Even some Hope with a capital "H". Gets your heart racing and breaking and oh, so good)

Read it. (also, read this review)

And I'm sorry my review does the book no justice.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding
Recommended for: all contemp fans, zombie fans
Acknowledgement: forgot to read! Oops. The dedication is lovely though.

9.2/10 - because I think I was taken surprise by this in the best possible way. I didn’t underestimate Summers but I was still completely impressed with her latest novel—the characters, the darker themes, the situations, and of course, the incredible writing. This is Not A Test is thrilling, intensely emotional, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

author website



  1. Ahh! I really am not a fan of zombies but everyone has been saying this is not your typical zombie book so I want to give it a shot. Plus, it made you cry? Wowza. Shamefully, I have not read any of Courtney Summers' books but I have heard very excellent things about her writing. I'm so glad this didn't disappoint you and I love how much Courtney Summers' books resonate with you.

  2. Haha-the reading when I should have been studying happened to me last year. It's so hard when the book is more interesting than the schoolwork and it's all you want to do. Best of luck on your exams!

  3. I ma so happy to hear this is every bit as good as it sounds. I really can't wait to read it!

  4. Summers is so good in that soul-neutering kinda way, isn't she? She is absolutely in my Holy Trinity, too. And yes, her writing just gets under your skin!

  5. This has been the ONE zombie book I am really excited to read. It sounds like it made you feel ALL THE THINGS. While trying to study at the library no less!! And a 9.2/10? WOWZA!!! I can't wait to read this one, it will be my first Courtney Summers read :)

  6. This Is Not a Test was a powerful contemporary novel masquerading excellently as horror. As with all of the best horror, it was the psychology of the big picture that really drove into your brain and made shivers run down your spine. The ending was perfect, the cover chilling, and the story astoundingly real.

  7. I am SO wanting to read this especially after your review! It just sounds SO good. I'm not as big of a Courtney Summers fan as you but I feel like she can definitely tackle the zombie genre. So excited to get my hands on this one now. :D


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