by Courtney Summers
Published by St Martin's Press
on June 19, 2012
Source: bought from independent bookstore
My Summary: When the world seems like it's coming to an end, six teenagers take refuge inside their high school. Outside, chaos reigns as family, friends and neighbors fall prey to mindless, rampaging zombies or -- worse yet -- become unrecognizable monsters themselves. Sloane Price finds herself among the teens barricaded inside her school. She watches as they worry about their loved ones, argue about how best to survive. Before this disaster struck, Sloane wanted to die. Now she'll have to decide how much she wants to live.
My thoughts: Okay, I'll say it one more time. Hate zombie books. Love Courtney Summers.
I could not put this book down. Yes, there were scrabbling, milky-eyed, flesh-eating zombies for those of you who are into that kind of stuff. But This Is Not a Test was so much more than zombies. I'd say this book was about the will to live. What gives us that will, what can take it away, and how it might be reignited.
Courtney Summers excels at writing characters who are wounded, vulnerable, and emotionally raw. Sloane, her protagonist in This Is Not a Test, is no exception. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that Sloane is borderline suicidal when the whole zombie thing hits. As the book opens, she's also reeling from the loss of her security blanket -- her sister, who ran away from home. Sloane watches the whole zombie thing play out with a sort of detached interest. She's amazed at how much people can care -- about each other, about life.
That's not to say that this book is nothing but a bunch of navel-gazing philosophizing about life and death. I mean, there are rampaging zombies right outside the school. Inside the school there is also a lot going on: conflict, suspense, and nail-biting moments of tension. As the story unfolds, each of the six kids comes into sharper focus. Each is dealing with feelings about their lives outside, feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, longing.
I don't want to say too much, because I want you to be able to enjoy every twist and turn that this book offers. I still don't like zombie books. But I do like good books, and this book happens to be both.
I'll be offering up an extra copy of this book tomorrow on Freebie Friday!
Still not interested in zombies? Okay. Later today I'm guest-posting at YA Bookmark about books that evoke the carefree spirit of summer. Take a look at my recommendations by clicking this highlighted text! Guaranteed zombie-free!