Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test
Goodreads Summary:
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 Review:
I picked up this book because so many bloggers had written that they were really excited to read this book. One mentioned some blood spots on the cover- I didn't notice those. For whatever reason, I took this to mean the book was about teen suicide. So, imagine my surprise when it becomes apparent- in chapter two- that it's a zombie book. At that point, I went and read the summary because I was a little confused and discovered,  "Wow, it is a zombie apocalypse book. "

Short summary: "The Breakfast Club" meets Lord of the Flies with zombies. Well, Breakfast Club plus one because there are six students and as we know, the Breakfast Club was composed of:

Is it a ripoff of The Breakfast Club? No, not at all, in my opinion. TBC is basically an ensemble movie and like TV shows or books with large casts of characters, it divides a population (like teenagers) into easily identifiable archetypes. So, the characters fit into convenient boxes that you can recognize and/or relate to. In the case of This is Not a Test the author uses this to explore how different types of people respond under stress. (This is where the Lord of the Flies thing kicks in.) Actually, zombies only make a cameo in this book- they rarely appear. Not going to give an exact number of times, but it's not many considering it's about a zombie apocalypse. Instead, like Lord of the Flies, what the story is really about is what people do when there's no external and higher authority exerting influence or able to mete out punishment. Will people end up creating a society (even in microcosm) like a utopia, dystopia, or something in between? What types of people function the best in the new world? Will it be a jock (strength) or the brain (knowing how to construct a solar oven)? Well, you have to read the book to find out.

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Genre Rating: 4 1/2 tombstones

Author's Website
Courtney's Twitter
This is Not a Test


  1. This sounds straight up fantastic, but they don't have it at my library T_T Oh noes! I'm going to have to dig around to see where I can find a copy. Great rec, and btw, I <3 TBC!

    1. My library is awful in some of their ordering choices. Quite a few times this year I've gone to request a book that's in the top 20 most popular books of the month on GR, and my library hasn't ordered it. But, they've ordered 50 copies of some wrestling DVD. I think when they do the annual library survey I'm going to suggest they assign someone to check out GR's popular books lists.

      Yay, another TBC fan. There are a few scenes in this book that are straight out of TBC.

  2. Wow, this sounds so good I will be trying to get a copy as soon as possible! Great review and nice blog :)
    Alex @ Possession of Books


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