Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"This is Not a Test" by Courtney Summers

Genre: YA... something?
Format: Paperback
Publication: June 2012
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: 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?

My Thoughts: This book has been sitting on my shelf for SIX years! I've been trying to clean up my TBR books lately, and I knew this was one I really needed to read.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I felt about it. This is Not a Test is well written, and it kept me turning the pages... but I was left with the impression that this is NOT a Zombie novel. To me, this was more of a novel about a girl dealing with mental illness and PTSD from living in an abusive home, with zombie's in the background. It had some really good Zombie moments, especially towards the end, but ultimately I couldn't list this one as a YA Horror novel. I'm sure when I picked this up I was looking for something more like The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which is an EPIC Zombie YA), but TINAT just doesn't fall in that category.

Besides the non-zombie feel, I had three other big issues with this one. The first was that Sloane was annoying for a Zombie Apocalypse world. The truth was, I just didn't see her surviving as long as she did. If you read it, the reasons would become obvious. The second was that I felt zero chemistry between her and the other characters, which made for a lot of boring and forced interactions. And my last issue was that nothing really seemed to happen until the last 30 pages or so. They're basically all just hanging out in the school, doing nothing.

So, why did I keep reading? Despite my issues, the author really does have a seamless writing style. Everything flowed together perfectly and it kept me reading, even though there wasn't too much going on. I also really thought she had a strong understanding of PTSD and mental illness. And even though this won't be listed as one of my favorite books, I did enjoy the ending. It saved the book from becoming a one star for me.

Bottom Line: Of course, all of this is just my opinion and just because I wasn't a fan of it doesn't mean you won't be. I feel like the author should have either went all in for the Zombie novel or either all in for the PTSD/ mental illness novel and left out the zombies. But together it just didn't really work for me.

My Rating: 2.5/ 5 Stars

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