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?
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
What an incredibly emotional book! Summers is a raw talent and I can’t believe this is the first book I’m reading by her! This Is Not a Test is still haunting me and it’s definitely not a novel I’ll forget anytime soon. If you haven’t picked up this book, read it now! (End of overly enthusiastic exclamation marks)
I’m sure I’ve talked about this before in my reviews, but zombies are hit or miss for me. I’m very squeamish so I have a hard time watching movies and TV shows that feature zombies. However, I’ve checked out a few zombie books and I enjoyed them enough to not make me completely shy away from the genre. Although This Is Not a Test is a zombie apocalypse novel, it’s so much more.
Before the chaos even begins, readers are introduced to the dark place that Sloan has found herself in. She’s abused and contemplating suicide when all hell breaks loose. Her inner thoughts were startlingly honest and bleak. Her actions in the novel are all attributed to her underlying depression and her death wish was hard to read about at times. I had hoped she would snap out of it and develop a will to live, but I never felt she fully came around.
The kids holing up in the gym had a very Breakfast Club feel to it. I love the conversion of different personalities and how non-friends were forced to bond because they were thrust into this extreme situation. The relationships were portrayed in realistic ways and the reader could see how they were all becoming gradually undone the longer they waited for help to arrive.
The pacing was phenomenal. I ended up barking at my family to leave me alone because I was so engrossed in the plot. I was on the edge of my seat as I wondered how everything would be resolved. I had the sense of foreboding the more I read and I had a feeling that not all of these characters I had grown to love would make it to the end. There were some great twists that kept me guessing.
My only complaint was the end. Ambiguous endings drive me nuts! They haunt me and I have a hard time realizing that I’ll never really understand how things turn out for the characters. I would’ve also liked more world building. The reader never really finds out how society is faring or how the apocalypse came about.
Overall, an incredibly intense read that I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy YA books with darker elements.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
A few favorite quotes:
“I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared. I opened my eyes and I felt it go.”
“They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”
“Sometimes you catch something specific like the screams and cries of people trying to hold on to each other before they're swallowed into other, bigger noises.
This is what it sound like when the world ends.”