Review: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

This Is Not A Test (This Is Not A Test #1)
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback/Own

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?

Review: I didn't completely expect this book to be the way it was. But I actually really enjoyed it despite it being different than I thought. I was completely expecting it to be more zombies involved in the story than there actually was. The story focused more on the 6 teens and their emotions and lives as they try to survive hiding in their school more than fighting the undead. It was interesting seeing certain characters let go of their pasts and grow while others held onto things and lost it. 

You really see each person either grow or lose it throughout the book. Starting obviously with our main character Sloane. She starts and goes through a good half the book wanting to die and not caring about surviving in the least. All that matters to her is dying because her sister left her with her abusive father and she just feels like she can't survive without her. But after she slowly starts to bond with Rhys, and even Grace and Cary a little bit, she slowly starts thinking about living a little bit more and actually wanting to survive. Sloane really has to work for this though. She had already gave up when this started, so finding reasons to live and keep surviving were a lot harder for her. She eventually finds those reasons after talking with Cary about her sister. And bonding with Rhys and opening up to him about her father and her sister. She slowly starts to realize she's not completely alone and has some small reasons to live. Eventually when the group finds out there's an emergency shelter in a town about 100 miles away. She decides on taking the risk to help them get to it. 

Another character that really grew in the story was Harrison. He was a weak little freshman when the group found him and took him with them. He stayed scared and weak for most of the book. He cried a lot, hid behind stronger people and pretty much became their lackeys. He was just a blubbering mess. But finally at the end of the book he realized he wanted to do something with his life. Something to show he was better than that. He ended up throwing himself in front of infected so that the rest of the group could get away. He decided if he was going to do something, it was going to be helping the others survive. 

However, one of the group, Trace, pretty much loses it. He blames Cary for getting his parents killed when they were on their way to the school to hide out. And he uses this to be awful to everyone but his sister throughout the entire story. He gets such an attitude and starts acting like he's so much bigger and better than everyone else. The loss of people he loved really just turns him into a psychopath. If I'm honest, I don't feel too bad about how he goes out in the end. 

I thought the infected were unique. They seemed to hang around when they couldn't find food. Instead of just wandering off after a while they just waited. Waited for food to come to them. And they just hung around after chasing people as well. Instead of going away they just stayed. It definitely seemed different than undead we've seen in other books and even on TV *cough* The Walking Dead *cough*. 

There were a few things I didn't like however. There was a few spots the story seemed slow. Just explaining things or flashbacks. They weren't super long though so compared to other books, these slow parts were much more manageable to read and get past. The other thing was repetition. It seemed like we were always talking about Lily leaving Sloane. Always talking about how Trace blames Cary for his parents death. I felt like these two particular points were a bit excessively brought up. 


  1. This book was on my radar a few years ago but I never got hold of a copy. It sounds interesting; I like the idea of a book that focuses on the psychology of the survivors rather than just pure action.

    1. I've actually had the book since around the time it released. I just never read it. It was interesting. Not a lot of books take the time to really focus on the psychological reactions of a situation like this. So it was neat seeing that.


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