This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

July 6th, 2012 kimbacaffeinate Review 20 Comments

6th Jul
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
This is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers
Series: This is Not a Test #1
Published by: St. Martin
Genres: Horror
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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?

I have not read any of Courtney Summers’ previous novels but after devouring, This is Not A Test, I certainly plan too. This YA horror takes us on a riveting journey as a zombie outbreak occurs. She shares with us the tale of six students who seek shelter in their high school. Its the Breakfast Club meets Zombie apocalypse and I totally loved it.

It begins when we meet Sloan Price. She is sitting in her bathroom contemplating suicide, when her father orders her to breakfast. We immediately get a sense that something is seriously wrong with this family, as Sloane is overly fearful of her father. Suddenly there is someone pounding at the front door, screaming and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Zombies are attacking. We next meet up with her, as she is helping to barricade the school. Here we meet the other characters who will ride out this nightmare together. Summers’ delivers an eerie tale, giveing us an intense look at the effects of the outbreak on individuals and the group as a whole. Some scenes reminded me of Lord of the Flies and kept me completely immersed in the tale. From the first page to the last I was spellbound. I became emotionally invested in the characters and the outcome.

The characters in This is Not a Test are beautifully fleshed out. Each is damaged or fragile due to their own experiences before entering the school. They have spent almost seven days together, traveling what would have been a twenty-minute journey across town to reach the school. There is tension from the get go; as some blame others for losses they are experiencing. Sloan at first just observes. She doesn’t want to be here; she was prepared to die till the group found her. I wanted to hug Sloan for the suffering she has experienced and at the same time I admired her. We get to see her emerge, grow and feel. The other characters all have different personalities and problems and my emotions towards them were all over the place. It was similar to the dynamics of the Breakfast Club characters and I loved getting to know them. I laughed, cried and was scared right along with them. I loved each and every characters.

While we don’t see a whole lot of the zombies in Summers’ world, we know they are there and the fear is real. Imagine being totally cut off from society with an enemy banging at your door. Not really knowing the people who are with you. Imagine trying to work as a team but in the back of your mind wondering if they will have your back. She utilizes this to bring us a captivating look at human’s in a stressful situation and nails it! The tale was beautifully paced, with scenes that captured all of my emotions. The last part of the book was terrifying and had my heart racing as I moved towards the dramatic conclusion. I love when the tale becomes real and the characters come alive. This is why I love to read and this is the high I chase in my addition to reading.

I highly recommend This Is Not A Test to fans of horror, suspense and character driven novels. Summers grabs you at page one and holds you long after the tale has ended. This novel is currently on my top ten list for 2012. I have added Summer’s to my author list and hope to read some of her other works soon.

Copyright (c) 2011-2013 Caffeinated Book Reviewer

About Courtney Summers

Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. To date, she has authored five novels. Her first novel, Cracked Up to Be, was published when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published three more books–2011 YALSA Top 10 Quick Pick and White Pine Honour book, Some Girls Are, 2012 YALSA Quick Pick, Fall for Anything, and 2013 YALSA Top 10 Quick Pick and White Pine Honour book This is Not a Test. Her next projects are an e-novella, Please Remain Calm (a sequel to This is Not a Test) and a new novel, All the Rage, both out in 2015.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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20 Responses to “This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers”

  1. Chapter by Chapter

    Fantastic review Kim! I agree with you about everything. The characters are unforgettable, the world a living nightmare, and the pace seemed go go go all throughout. The ending was excellent in everyway! Totally a 2012 top lister and Summer’s has easily become a new fav. author for me.

  2. kara-karina

    Great review, Kimba! If Courtney Summers wasn’t on my wishlist already, and would have added her after reading this! 😉

  3. Tammy Sparks

    So glad you loved this book. I just got it from Amazon and can’t wait to read it!

  4. Nick

    Beautiful review, Kimberly ! 🙂
    I’ve heard so many great things about this book that I can’t wait to read it myself. After reading your review, I’m planning on buying it this week itself.
    The characters seem to be the shining stars of this book.
    Ahhh ! Can’t wait ! 😀

  5. Barbara W.

    Wonderful review! Well, you know I wanted more of Rhys’ perspective, but you definitely hit on all the best parts of the book, beautifully. I may have to go reread it. 🙂

  6. Jenea Whittington

    Great review. I keep stalking my library for them to have it. LOL

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  7. Tabitha

    Fantastic review! I seriously just ordered this from my local bookstore because of your review. I was going to skip out on this book, but your review made it sound absolutely amazing.

    Thanks for the review!

  8. Leanne

    Yay, I’m delighted you loved this book, since it is one of my favourites this year too. 🙂 Excellent review!

    By the way, have you ever read Courtney Summers’ contemporary novels, such as Cracked Up to Be, Some Girls Are and Fall for Anything? They’re all quite good as well. 🙂

  9. Sally

    Amazing review!
    I seriously can’t wait to read this book, but it’s not published here in the UK until August.
    The only other book of hers I’ve read is Some Girls Are- but it was very good, very powerful.

  10. Ajoop. S

    I loved Courtney Summers’ other books and I can’t wait to read this one. It sounds amazing! I have it on my Kindle. I just can’t wait to read it. Fantastic review, Kimba 🙂

  11. Christa

    I thought it was impressive that you almost never saw the zombies yet it was a very real and present danger you could feel throughout the entire novel. I haven’t read any of her other books but I definitely want to check them out now!

  12. Christina

    I totally loved this one too. Courtney Summers’ other books immediately went onto my Goodreads list. For so long, I avoided contemporaries (except for John Green) and I really don’t know why. Branching out is awesome!

  13. Liz

    I knew you’d like it! Your review is excellent, spot on 🙂 My only hope is that there will be another book, but I guess I can’t say why lol.

  14. Beckie

    Great review, Kimberly. I so want this book but my library does have it. 🙁 So Sad.

    – Beckie