Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... This Is Not a Test

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers

Published by St Martin's Press
on June 19, 2012

Source: bought from independent bookstore



My Summary: When the world seems like it's coming to an end, six teenagers take refuge inside their high school. Outside, chaos reigns as family, friends and neighbors fall prey to mindless, rampaging zombies or -- worse yet -- become unrecognizable monsters themselves. Sloane Price finds herself among the teens barricaded inside her school. She watches as they worry about their loved ones, argue about how best to survive. Before this disaster struck, Sloane wanted to die. Now she'll have to decide how much she wants to live.

My thoughts: Okay, I'll say it one more time. Hate zombie books. Love Courtney Summers.

I could not put this book down. Yes, there were scrabbling, milky-eyed, flesh-eating zombies for those of you who are into that kind of stuff. But This Is Not a Test was so much more than zombies. I'd say this book was about the will to live. What gives us that will, what can take it away, and how it might be reignited.

Courtney Summers excels at writing characters who are wounded, vulnerable, and emotionally raw. Sloane, her protagonist in This Is Not a Test,  is no exception. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that Sloane is borderline suicidal when the whole zombie thing hits. As the book opens, she's also reeling from the loss of her security blanket -- her sister, who ran away from home. Sloane watches the whole zombie thing play out with a sort of detached interest. She's amazed at how much people can care -- about each other, about life.

That's not to say that this book is nothing but a bunch of navel-gazing philosophizing about life and death. I mean, there are rampaging zombies right outside the school. Inside the school there is also a lot going on: conflict, suspense, and nail-biting moments of tension. As the story unfolds, each of the six kids comes into sharper focus. Each is dealing with feelings about their lives outside, feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, longing.

I don't want to say too much, because I want you to be able to enjoy every twist and turn that this book offers. I still don't like zombie books. But I do like good books, and this book happens to be both.

I'll be offering up an extra copy of this book tomorrow on Freebie Friday!

Still not interested in zombies? Okay. Later today I'm guest-posting at YA Bookmark about books that evoke the carefree spirit of summer. Take a look at my recommendations by clicking this highlighted text! Guaranteed zombie-free!



37 comments:

  1. Hmmm, sounds good. MAYBE I'll try it.

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    1. It's less gory than a video game. Promise. I had NO nightmares.

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  2. This looks really good. I have Cracked Up To Be on my kindle and I've been meaning to read it since forever! I'm going ot bump it up my tbr pile.

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    1. Read it!! I think my favorite is Some Girls Are, but I liked Cracked Up To Be a lot too.

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  3. I am so glad that you are reading zombie books, even if you still don't really like zombies!! I really do think you would love Rhiannon Frater's As The World Dies series. It is so much more than zombies. Talk about being invested in a story and characters. Great review hon!! I can't wait until my copy of this comes in!!

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    1. I am trying to be open-minded. If a book is just all action scenes and gore, I'm not happy. But with a great story and characters, I can put up with some zombie stuff.

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  4. Ahhh! I need to read this book ASAP! It sounds so good and everybody has such great things to say about it. and I'm GLAD this is a great book, even if it features something you don't like. ;)

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    1. I did read one review that didn't like the whole psychological component. I think the reviewer was expecting tons of action and zombie gore. So if a person is expecting that, they might be disappointed. I do prefer it if all the characters' eyeballs stay put.

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  5. Hmm, might have to try this zombie book then..lol It sounds like it could be really good.. but I'm so not sure about zombies.. I'll add it to my TBR and hopefully try it soon.

    Great review!

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  6. Great review! Obviously I was planning on reading it but now I am even more excited. I can't wait for Freebie Friday!

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  7. Good to hear that its more than zombie book, I usually avoid zombies as well.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  8. Well...you already know I really want to read this one!! Really looking forward to it! It's next on my "to buy" list soon :-)

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    1. Somehow I have three copies (two now after Freebie Friday).
      I may not love zombies, but they must love me :)

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  9. I don't like zombies at all. I just can't get into them. But you seem to really like Courtney Summers and I've never read one of her books so I think I'll check out her other books :)

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    1. Yep -- try one of her other books first. She's amazing!

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  10. I am soo not a zombie person either. But since you and I have such similar taste I need to dust off my copy and read it. It sounds fantastic! Great job with your review and kudos to reading outside of your comfort zone! :)

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    1. It's a contemporary .... with some zombies. Try it and see!

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  11. I flippin loved this one! Soo good, kept me up all night- I was so grumpy at work the next day haha! :)

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  12. I also hate zombies but I've heard so much good stuff that I will definitely be trying this. It also helps that I've read and enjoyed 2 previous Summers books.

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    1. If you loved her prior books, definitely try it!

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  13. I'm not big into zombies, but I've heard good things about this one. Thanks for the review!

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  14. I don't like reading about zombies, or watching zombies - hey, zombies in general. I think there are enough good books without zombies to keep me happy.

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  15. I don't like zombies either, but I'll give this a try. Thanks for the review!

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    1. I just don't see how anyone could like zombies. But this book is really interesting in spite of them!

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  16. Maybe I will give this one a try sometime. It does sound pretty good and everyone seems to rave about it. It's good to read a review from someone who also doesn't care for zombies much, so thank you! :)

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  17. Okay, methinks this non-zombie lover is going to have give this one a try! This is the second positive review I have read written by someone who is not so into the zombie apocalypse. Navel-gazing philosopher's aside (Ha! That cracks me up!) I'm bumping this one up on my tbr. Nice review, Jen:)

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    1. Let me know what you think. Hope I don't give you guys nightmares!

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  18. I had no interest in this book until I found out it was about zombies lol
    The best zombie books are really about the human condition IMO. This book sounds like it accomplishes that.

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    1. You are too funny. Well, I gave this book to a video game playing teenage boy and he read it in one sitting. Tried to get him to write a review, but no dice. But I think it has broad appeal!

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  19. I read and reviewed this book as well and absolutely loved it! I had a love/hate relationship with zombies... mostly dislike because they tend to scare the crap outta me but I totally agree about the part saying that this book doesn't completely revolve around zombies, it was definitely more about survival and I loved every minute of it!

    Shae @ Understanding Shae's Story

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  20. I love zombie books! I also love survival books! I love the dynamic of a bunch of people stuck trying to work together that normally wouldn't be together. They way they fight and argue and attempt to figure out what is best. The instinct to survive is strong and most people would do anything. Interesting that the main character starts off not wanting to live but hopefully that changes.

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  21. I really want to read this! And I'm so glad you enjoyed it even though you really hate all things zombieish. ;) Great review!

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