Title: This Is Not A Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 2012
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
Shhh, wait., What was that? Did you hear that? I thought I heard something.
Meet Sloane, a depressed teenager abused by her father, abandoned by her sister, and ready to plunge into an abyss where there is no turning back. Now, imagine her father answers the door one morning, only to come back in, screaming, with blood all over him. And Sloane enters into a nightmare.
Zombies have taken over and she many false starts, she flees with a group of kids and barricade themselves in the school. But how long can they last, not only from the outside but from each other?
Dirty, gritty and uncomfortable, This Is Not A Test is a rare book that kept me up, late into the night. Which is seriously impressive. Because I AM SCARED OF ZOMBIES. Like, seriously. Scared. Like ever since I watched 28 Days Later, I am terrified of lightening fast zombies. See, zombies should be slow. Sssslooow. And in my head, for some reason, I think they're less frightening. But crazy fast zombies that want to eat my brains? Terrifying.
So Summers's fast zombies made me put the book down a couple of times to remind myself it's only a book. It's only a book.
....What was that sound?....
Sloane is a complicated character. I can't say I liked her, but I enjoyed the raw and truthful feelings she was experiencing. And how can you really blame her? Already depressed before the world ended, the few lights in her life now shattered, Sloane isn't trying to survive. But she's not trying to get the others around her killed either. As the zombies tap at the school doors, I couldn't help but feel for Sloane and crew. Some are born fighters, like Cary. Some are lost and misguided, like Harrison. Every kid in that school has their own agenda. The vast spectrum of emotions that swell and dissipate between each teenager is real, haunting and bitter.
Sloane's thoughts on suicide, the grim and hopeless world surrounding them, and the man eat man attitude within the school were all well developed, creating a very stressful and well written read.
I won't give away the ending, but to say that it did end abruptly and left me hanging. Usually, I don't mind that in most books. But I felt such perpetual motion, such a forward sprint to the end, I was a little disappointed. That doesn't mean that dear Sloane doesn't have her epiphany, her cause, her realization. It just means, even if she does have it, does she know what to do with it.
Perhaps that's the beauty of the ending.
You just don't know.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check my barricades.
Rating: 8 Cookie Worthy