Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (2012)
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?
It’s so hard for me to talk about this book. I don’t want to forget it, I don’t want to read anything after this, I feel kind of numb actually, and I sure don’t want… I don’t even know what I want or don’t want anymore. All I really do know is that This is Not a Test has touched me incredibly, and I seriously hope I’ll never be in a situation like the one Sloane or any other character from the group, was. It’s desperation to its maximum. It’s constant fear. It’s dealing with the unknown, with the infected ones, the starved ones, who will haunt you, hunt you, chase you and eat you at the first chance they get. This story is so well written, the characters are so astonishingly damaged and scared and lost, the plot is so damn emotional and raw and thrilling and mysterious… that anything can happen and everything undoubtedly will.
I fell in love with Sloane at first line. I’m still in love with her. I’m still in love with Rhys, and Cary, and Harrison, and Grace, and even with Trace. I absolutely love them all, because every single one of them is special, was special, in their own way, and every single one of them served a purpose. Not all had a happy ending—or when you come to really think about it, they just might have had their happy ending—but they were certainly all memorable. Sloane for her numbness and persistence, Rhys for his passion and loyalty, Cary for his leadership and strength, Harrison for the innocent panicked comments and questions that somehow made me laugh even when they were not intended to be funny, Grace for her beauty and forgiving will, and Trace… Trace for his devotion to his sister and his beliefs and, of course, his edgy side that always kept me in alert mode. But more than just a book with remarkable characters, this is a story about tension, about sacrifice, guilt and about being unable to move on, to subsist, when all we care about and everyone we love are simply taken away from us. It’s a book about will, about what’s truly important, and more importantly, about survival.
Nothing could have ever prepared me for the journey I was about to enter when I started this novel. Ingenuously, maybe, I thought I was going to read a cool book about zombies—I admit, I haven’t read many living dead stories so my curiosity was really high—but this ends up being so much more than that. In fact, this is not a zombie book. This is a book about a group of kids who clearly have no idea or are even prepared for what just happened to them and to their city and that, somehow, have to manage to survive together… oh, and with some zombies in the mix. What I mean with this is that the zombies are just a small piece of this overwhelming puzzle, and although their presence is a heavy burden, they are not the main core of the book or the reason—in my opinion—why this story was written.
I will always cherish this book deeply. I felt it in my bones, with my entire being, and whenever I had the opportunity to turn some pages, I would go completely oblivious to the world. I would hear nothing, see nothing, and speak nothing. Gosh, what a powerful experience this reading was! It’s so wonderful when, a day or two later, you can still sense the characters around you, sense the pressure they were under, and still think about them like they were real to you, like they exist. To me, that’s the most gratifying gift an author can give me.
At the end of the day, I just wish I was Sloane’s sister and that Lily would continue to be a ghost in her life. I wish I knew what happens next, ‘cause that ending was literally to die for. I guess, ultimately, I just wish there was more, because I need more, I want more. Absolutely amazing.
«"This is not a test. Listen closely. This is not a test." But I think she's wrong. I think this is a test. It has to be...»
«The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens.»
«I move closer to the glass, as close as I can get to it, begging her, begging Lily, begging Grace, begging all of them to tell me what's left, to just tell me, while the girl pushes against the window, turns her tiny hands into tiny fists, begging me for a taste of—life. My life.»