Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

20 Aug

Holy goodness! This book was intense. I started it sometime around 7pm and finished before 3am. At one point (around my normal bed-time) I actually fell asleep while reading it and slept for a half hour. When I woke up I just had to finish it.

Let me start off my review by saying that even though This is Not a Test takes place at the very beginning of a zombie apocalypse, it is definitely not in any way about zombies or apocalypses. It is about what makes us live and want to keep living. It is about what makes a person be willing to give up any chance at a happy life in order to escape from the terrors of abuse and trauma. It is about 6 teenagers and how they survive a world that has abandoned them.

As far as the characters go, I didn’t really care much for some of them. The main character, Sloane, has plans to end her life. In general this is not a way out of a tough situation I am able to understand. Keep in mind she had these plans BEFORE the world was taken over by the walking dead. There is a whinny young teenage boy that doesn’t make much of an impression. There is a jerk who holds a grudge, even though this really isn’t the time to make enemies of only 5 other people you know are alive. Then there is the girl who seems to care too much, the boy who tries to lead and the last character, my favorite, is the guy who seems to hold it all together, Rhys. He was the highlight of the whole story. He is what brought me around to being able to cope with Sloane’s selfish tendencies.

It doesn’t even ask about the why or how of the whole event. It is far too important to worry about the survival. Some readers may be left asking the question of what caused the outbreak… or whatever you want to call it. My whole feeling on this is basically… Who cares?! With this book the science of what happened simply doesn’t matter. The author has written several other books that have nothing to do with zombies or apocalypses and I believe saw this kind of setting as a great way to illustrate a situation of extreme abandonment and confusion.

Some heavy themes are definitely discussed in this book… Physical and emotional abuse, death, suicide, and even drugs and sex are brought up. This book is an intense ride through the mental state of six desperate teenagers.

My Goodreads rating: didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)

 

Yes, even though several of the characters would have annoyed me in real life, I felt that each one was completely necessary and realistic. Therefore it deserves a full 5 stars!

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