Book review: This Is Not A Test

This Is Not a TestThis Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not a pretty book. It’s dark and it’s depressing. And on top of that, it’s an amazing read.

Summers doesn’t dwell long to plunge into the action. We get a brief glimpse of Sloane and her life before all hell breaks loose. Living with an abusive father and the fact that her sister left her, Sloane actually welcomes the end of the world. The first attack happens and we flash forward seven days. We never really get told what exactly went down in those seven days, but the aftermath of it gives us an inkling that it wasn’t pretty.

Sloane is not your typical heroine. She is marked by what life handed her and that’s what makes her such an interesting character. I haven’t read many books where your main character is in such a depressing state as Sloane is. I thought I would grow tired of it but it was actually amazing to have a character that is so different and who has lost all her reasons for living and to see her handle all of her bleak feelings during this crazy time. And you want her to overcome this darkness, you want her to be happy admidst all the insanity that surrounds her.

If asked to describe this book, I wouldn’t necessarily define it as a zombie novel. The zombies are actually more of a backdrop for the real story in this book. I love me some action and gore and believe me, you will get your fix here, but I was amazed that I found the characters’ stories to be more intriguing and fascinating. After setting this book down, I’ve found myself still thinking about these six characters and their ordeals.

Sloane is joined by five other young characters, all high school students who got thrust together and barricaded themselves in the high school. It’s not an easy alliance, these characters most often don’t see eye to eye and we get quite a lot of confrontations. It’s amazing to me how real this book and especially its characters feel. All of them are relatable and most of all believable.

I took my time reading this book. Most often you tend to skip over words or sentences when reading but here I savored every syllable, no matter how raw and painful they might have been.

If you enjoy a book that leaves you at times shocked, depressed, gasping, emotionally hurt and above all contemplative after finishing it, then “This Is Not A Test” is for you.

An ARC was provided by Netgalley. “This Is Not A Test” is scheduled for a June 19, 2012 release.

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