This Is Not A Testby Courtney Summers
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Review Copy via NetGalley
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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 wantto 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 doyou hold on to?.
Book ReviewAs a fan of zombies and Young Adult fiction alike, I rather enjoyed this book. This Is Not A Test, the message that was broadcast by a female voice over and over during this particular zombie apocalypse and who later was baptized as Tina-T, is not your typical zombie book. There's gore, death, and all what you would expect to find in a novel about zombies, but TINAT is actually very character-driven. You end up very invested in all the survivors' stories and from the beginning you are feel very inclined to pick sides and in your head decide who will inevitably meet their impending death.
Sloane, the main character, is a very depressed and suicidal young girl. She and her older sister, Lilly, are constantly beat by their abusive father, a fact that forces the sisters to formulate a plan to escape. Lilly, being the older sister, ends up taking charge of this plan and saving money to get herself and her sister out of their father's home. Eventually Lilly splits and leaves Sloane alone with her father. Faced with Lilly's abandonment and her father's increasing violent behavior, Sloane makes the decision that she no longer wants to live in this world. Only, Sloane doesn't get a chance to put her plan into action because before she knows it, zombies are all over the place and her survival instinct kicks in. She ends up running away from home and meeting up with a group of teens who seek shelter at their high school, where they barricade the doors and make a temporary home for themselves.
The real grit of the story is in the characters' individual personalities and the things they are capable of. Being stuck in a school gym with other teens that you may not have necessarily talked to in the school hallway, coupled with the fact that you may very likely die, has a way of bringing out the worse in all these characters. Sloane, constantly reminding herself that she isn't supposed to be there, because she doesn't be alive in the first place, is unknowingly the strongest of them. I had a hard time believing that Sloane truly didn't want to live. She sort of reminded me of the character Andrea in the popular TV/Comic Book series "The Walking Dead". This book was a very entertaining book. It starts off slow as it gets into the characters' stories and the conflict that arises between the survivors, but it really picks up with zombie action in the end where unexpected things surely happen. 4-Stars.
About The Author
Courtney Summers can't wait for the zombie apocalypse. Also she is the author of CRACKED UP TO BE and SOME GIRLS ARE, FALL FOR ANYTHING (available now) and THIS IS NOT A TEST (June 19th, 2012), four edgy young adult novels published by St. Martin's Press.