This is Not a Test (Paperback)
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Short Description for This is Not a Test 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.
- Published: 09 July 2012
- Format: Paperback 320 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780312656744 ISBN 10: 0312656742
- Sales rank: 8,868
Reviews for This is Not a Test
It's so hard for me to talk about this book. I don't want to forget it, I don't want to read anything after this, I feel kind of numb actually, and I sure don't want... I don't even know what I want or don't want anymore. All I really do know is that This is Not a Test has touched me incredibly, and I seriously hope I'll never be in a situation like the one Sloane or any other character from the group, was. It's desperation to its maximum. It's constant fear. It's dealing with the unknown, with the infected ones, the starved ones, who will haunt you, hunt you, chase you and eat you at the first chance they get. This story is so well written, the characters are so astonishingly damaged and scared and lost, the plot is so damn emotional and raw and thrilling and mysterious... that anything can happen and everything undoubtedly will.
I fell in love with Sloane at first line. I'm still in love with her. I'm still in love with Rhys, and Cary, and Harrison, and Grace, and even with Trace. I absolutely love them all, because every single one of them is special, was special, in their own way, and every single one of them served a purpose. Not all had a happy ending-or when you come to really think about it, they just might have had their happy ending-but they were certainly all memorable. Sloane for her numbness and persistence, Rhys for his passion and loyalty, Cary for his leadership and strength, Harrison for the innocent panicked comments and questions that somehow made me laugh even when they were not intended to be funny, Grace for her beauty and forgiving will, and Trace... Trace for his devotion to his sister and his beliefs and, of course, his edgy side that always kept me in alert mode. But more than just a book with remarkable characters, this is a story about tension, about sacrifice, guilt and about being unable to move on, to subsist, when all we care about and everyone we love are simply taken away from us. It's a book about will, about what's truly important, and more importantly, about survival.
Nothing could have ever prepared me for the journey I was about to enter when I started this novel. Ingenuously, maybe, I thought I was going to read a cool book about zombies-I admit, I haven't read many living dead stories so my curiosity was really high-but this ends up being so much more than that. In fact, this is not a zombie book. This is a book about a group of kids who clearly have no idea or are even prepared for what just happened to them and to their city and that, somehow, have to manage to survive together... oh, and with some zombies in the mix. What I mean with this is that the zombies are just a small piece of this overwhelming puzzle, and although their presence is a heavy burden, they are not the main core of the book or the reason-in my opinion-why this story was written.
I will always cherish this book deeply. I felt it in my bones, with my entire being, and whenever I had the opportunity to turn some pages, I would go completely oblivious to the world. I would hear nothing, see nothing, and speak nothing. Gosh, what a powerful experience this reading was! It's so wonderful when, a day or two later, you can still sense the characters around you, sense the pressure they were under, and still think about them like they were real to you, like they exist. To me, that's the most gratifying gift an author can give me.
At the end of the day, I just wish I was Sloane's sister and that Lily would continue to be a ghost in her life. I wish I knew what happens next, 'cause that ending was literally to die for. I guess, ultimately, I just wished there was more, because I need more, I want more. Absolutely amazing. by Patrícia Pilar Pecegueiro
Review from Esther's Ever After
Zombie books seem to be growing in popularity and that's something that I have no complaints about! I've mentioned before that I have a certain weakness for zombie films, and books are no exception to this.
But what I found particularly intriguing about This Is Not a Test is how the zombie storyline serves more as a backdrop to the real story; which deals much more with Sloane's personal growth and development than anything else. That's something largely unexpected in a zombie book, but it does make for something new.
It does a fantastic job of questioning who the real zombies are - the killer undead wandering around outside, or the absolutely broken and shattered living girl who can't feel anything?
Reasons to Read:
1.A zombie book with depth:
Like I mentioned above, it's really great to see that there's so much more to this than just undead humans trying to kill living people (with some good old government conspiracy thrown in). Sloane is desperately unhappy and angry; quite frankly, she really isn't concerned with her survival at all. Which makes it rather interesting to throw her into a survival scenario. And it's so enriching to see what the motives are behind her actions, and the changes which take place to her as her situation moves along. And it's especially interesting because Sloane doesn't feel like she's really missing out on anything with the zombies taking over- her life wasn't any better before that happened.
Even though the zombies don't play a huge role in the story, they do create a very effective setting just by being there - it's like a looming dark shadow over the entire plot. And the fact that everything is so still, so quiet for such a long time it just makes the reader more anxious for that JUMP moment. And there are so many other dark, frightening aspects to it that add to the overall ambiance - it's impossible to escape. But these other aspects are ones we can easily relate to because they're so familiar to our society and happen all the time (as unfortuante as it is). That feeling of loneliness and losing those we care about - that's terrifying.
But unfortunately, I found that there wasn't quite enough development of the story for it to really appeal to me as a reader. I applaud Courtney Summers for being able to create a rich zombie book with so much more going on than zombies - but I also have to admit that I was expecting a bit more action, and to identify with the main character both of which I found to be areas lacking.
I wasn't particularly taken with many of the secondary characters either - it was understandable that they would be upset and angry, but it seemed like they were all working against each other in rather petty ways simply to get back revenge. Every character lacked an idea of what they needed to accomplish in the long-term, and ended up stuck on short term desires. Normally I would expect such heavy, dark books to move me but for whatever reason I found it far too difficult to root for any character because I just couldn't identify. And without that relationship, I couldn't LOVE the book although I can clearly see why so many others would.
Courtney's talent as a writer is exceptional and beautiful; lovely imagery, and captivating words that draw you in. A zombie book that truly stands out among the rest- it even has a vaguely contemporary feel to it, which could make it appeal to a large group of readers.
E-galley received from publisher for my honest review; no other compensation was received. by Brenna Staats
A raw & honest tale of survival...with zombies
Courtney Summers delivers a unique take on zombies in her genre-bending book.
Sloane's home life sucks with her abusive father. Sloane had her sister Lily to turn to, to love her, to support her, and to suffer with. They made a plan to escape their house together when Sloane turned 18. Except Lily breaks the promise, leaving Sloane to fend for herself. The abuse is so much that Sloane has no reason to have hope anymore. In the initial scenes of the book, it's evident how brutal her life has been, and she immediately garners sympathy. Even though what she wants to do isn't necessarily sympathetic, it's understandable. And when the zombies arrive, Sloane is elated; it's her chance to die.
Then we're tossed into Cortege High School, where Sloane and five fellow students have barricaded themselves. It's frantic and desperate, at least to those five; Sloane is annoyed. Her plans were ruined, and now that she's been dragged to safety, she's even more frustrated. The thing is, she can't seem to find a way away from these people who want to live, and even when she has the chance to end her own suffering, she doesn't.
Sloane is one of the most interesting characters I've read, but she's very challenging. She is obedient in every sense of the word. Because of her father, there's a sense of reluctance in her. She allows herself to be dragged to safety (where it would be easy for her to not), and she doesn't actively seek out her options for dying when she has the chance. Rather, she continues to follow what she believes is the right thing to do. To stay alive. Anything she could feel for herself has been taken away, physically and emotionally. That's part of why she's unable to actually go through with ending her life. Amid all of this, Sloane is likable; there's just enough hope inside her and just enough desire to move forward to make readers pull for her and believe she can survive.
This is a powerful character-driven novel. Despite the zombie apocalypse occurring, what matters is not the undead coming alive but the living coming alive. Secondary characters are fully developed, and they each serve distinct purposes for Sloane. Summers excels in her use of subtlety to develop the characters. There are single lines or short scenes so raw they sting, and they speak volumes to who Sloane really is (who she is, not who she's told she is or who she has come to believe she is). The pacing in the book is deliberately slow, begging the reader to pay attention to these things. The story doesn't drag, though. Summers delivers on strong writing that doesn't try too hard and works to advance these characters.
This is an extremely physical book. Each blow can be felt, as can each of the more tender moments. The book doesn't shy away from brutality nor from being gruesome; despite being heavily vested in reality, it's still a novel about the zombie apocalypse. I felt beat up and bruised reading this; fortunately, I had the same moments of hope and promise Sloane did throughout.
There's a definite conclusion to come away with at the end of the book, and the way it's done is savvy. Sloane has to make a series of very difficult choices that force her to confront everything she's been so eager to shy away from. She'll revisit everything with Lily and her father and come to realize her body and her choices and her life are hers. So while this is a story of survival, it's also a story about what we fight for, and why we fight for things at all. by Kelly Jensenunder review