Review: This Is Not a Test

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: This Is Not a TestThis is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 19, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Horror, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 323
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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?

The writing, which has a very particular style, definitely took some getting used to. Even now, I’m not completely sure how I feel about the book or the writing. I think it’s probably because it’s so beautiful, so nuanced and so gut-wrenching. Her writing also has a strangely lyrical quality, enhanced by the strange placement of punctuation.

The world-building in This Is Not a Test is minimal. All we really know is that there was a zombie outbreak, and that’s about it. That’s because the dystopian aspects aren’t what make the book unique, they’re not what the book is really about. Whereas most dystopias focus on a person, or group of people, desperate to survive, This Is Not a Test focuses on a girl who wants to die. This viewpoint really changed everything. What scares Sloane is not the zombies, not the dying. She fears having to live.

I’ve seen this book called “The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead.” I see where they’re going with that, and it’s valid. I want to add a comparison to Laurie Halse Anderson and Ilsa J. Bick. If you enjoy those authors, you will love this, and by love I mean be seriously depressed by. I think this one is going to stick with me.

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