first book I read by Courtney Summers was ‘Some Girls Are’ and I immediately loved both, her style of writing as well as the characters that she created. I devoured the book and read it in under a day. It was the same with the rest of her books. So when I first heard about ‘This Is Not A Test’ I was extremely excited to get my hands on it, but when I found out that the plot had to do with zombies… I was sold and it immediately went on my “MUST HAVE IMMEDIATELY” list.
However, it must be said that ‘This Is Not A Test’ is not your typical zombie story. There is very little blood, gore or brain matter as is usually found in a zombie novel. Instead of placing her survivors directly in harms way by making them fight for their lives in open spaces, Summers took a non-traditional approach and sent them into hiding in their old high school. Safer, perhaps. But certainly not safe, especially with tempers on the rise, several teenagers playing the blame game and an unsecure entrance in their fortress.
If you’ve never read a Courtney Summers book, then let me explain something. Her protagonists have all been fairly damaged, almost broken heroines. But they are heroines. Do not mistake damaged for weak. Each of the girls have been strong in their own ways. And Sloane is no exception. She’s spent most of her life talking her father’s abuse and now she’s been abandoned by the one person who understood exactly what she was going through, her older sister, Lily. Sloane wants nothing more than to stop living. And the day she chooses to attempt to do so, happens to be the same day that the world falls victim to a Zombiepocalypse.
Sloane’s pain is real. Each page of this novel drips with her pain. Her emotions are confused, and she is completely on edge. But even though the entire world has gone insane with an infection that creates these zombies and even though she’s angry at the sister who swore she’d always protect her, you can tell that Sloane, while not happy by a long short, finally feels as though she can breathe while the survivors are barricaded in that school. For once, she’s not worried that something she says, might end up with a black eye. Or broken ribs.
One of the things I loved about this novel is that it feels real. Real emotions from characters that come across as real. If you think about, you know someone just like each of them. Another thing I loved about this novel was watching Sloane get stronger with each chapter. My only complaint (and it’s really not even a complaint) is that I guessed the ending early on and that it was rather anti-climatic. I highly recommend this novel. I couldn’t put it down and anyone who says it’s just another zombie book, was definitely not reading the same book I was.(less)