- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: St Martin's Griffin (9 July 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312656742
- ISBN-13: 978-0312656744
- Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.2 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 277,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
This Is Not A Test Paperback – 9 Jul 2012
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"This Is Not a Test is both sexy and desolate, and it will blast a hole through your heart, yet somehow start to stitch it back together again" --Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds and The Rivals
"Courtney Summers is a ferocious talent in YA fiction. This Is Not a Test brought me to tears, caused me to gasp in shock in public places, and almost put a stop to my heart . . . Summers' voice is raw with emotion, and utterly right for the impending zombie apocalypse." --Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
"[Courtney Summers] blends all the perfection and simplicity that defines her writing so well with this added paranormal element for a snappy, exciting story I just couldn't stop reading, and then I got to the very end and realized that it was about so much more than just making it out alive." --Julie Cross, author of Tempest
"Intriguing.... It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices.... Unusual and absorbing." --Kirkus
About the Author
Courtney Summers is the author of young adult novels including Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, and Cracked Up to Be. She lives and writes in Canada, where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and a word-processing program when she's not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse.
Top customer reviews
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This Is Not A Test is a pretty good addition to the canon. It follows six students in the days after a zombie plague has broken out. They’ve found a safe place - their old high school - to barricade themselves into. They’ve got water and food and now they’re just waiting. For rescue? For the undead to finally break in and slaughter them all? Only time will tell.
I really enjoyed This Is Not A Test. While it’s obviously a zombie apocalypse book, it looks more at the six characters and how they deal psychologically with the threat outside and their plans for the future rather than being an action-filled road trip to the secret government base or whatever (there’s always a road trip in zombie apocalypse novels. Why? Surely it would be the worst possible time to go trekking across country).
So the six teens are stuck in their old high school, waiting for whatever’s going to happen to just happen already. They start to go a bit stir-crazy and snipey with each other. Poor decisions are made - obviously, because it wouldn’t be fun unless someone was making the obvious wrong choice in a situation - but these tended to add to the tension rather than just irritate me.
This Is Not A Test is a character-driven rather than plot-driven book, which is unusual in this sub-genre. We see a lot about the main character, Sloane’s desperately unhappy home life before the plague broke out, and also the interactions and relationships between the six characters.
One interesting thing I noticed, was that it basically reads like The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead. Seriously. You’ve got The Athlete, The Brain, The Basket Case, The Princess and The Criminal. In case you were wondering, Sloane is Ally Sheedy’s character! The sixth This Is Not A Test cast member, Rhys, is The Swoony One (a role not originally filled in The Breakfast Club) and I think he was inserted to provide the love interest. And that’s fine - he does the job well.
I wonder if the author realised she was writing The Undead Breakfast Club? She probably did. Or maybe she’s just watched too many John Hughes movies.
The ending to the book was a definite ending, although it did feel a little bit rushed and slightly deus-ex-machina-ey, but I’d still recommend it as it’s a lot more thoughtful than the usual zombie stuff out there.
I wasn't won over in the first few pages - a pet hate of mine is how most zombie apocalypses start as a normal day and rapidly go wrong - but by page 20 or so, I was hooked. The pace is nothing short of breakneck, and the scene quickly becomes incredibly tense, dramatic, and totally engrossing. Even sexy, as described in the blurb. It's all extremely tangible.
The characters are strongly established from the start and they all become more and more interesting as time passes. They're all believable, real.
Sloane, the protagonist, is a fantastic mess. She thinks and does several very questionable things, which the author is delightfully unapologetic about. It's super refreshing to witness. Sloane is also driven, I think, by in large by selfishness, in spite of her repeatedly saying she's not. However, there's something about her that's still very... Not likeable, as such, but you will definitely find yourself rooting strongly for her. You'll root for all of them, at some point or another.
The writing style is brisk and sharp, gruesome in detail and witty as hell in the dialogue. I rarely laugh out loud at books, but I did at this, more than once. I cried, too. It's heartbreaking on more than one occasion. There's plenty of emotional highs and lows in this.
The description of the protagonists' abuse by her father and her subsequent neurosis is extremely well handled. She's anxious, jumpy, and constantly on edge before there's even any danger - except, for her, there always was. Important issues like abuse and mental illness are so often portrayed badly, so I was relieved to see it being done right.
I'll definitely be reading more by this author.
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