Thursday, July 12, 2012

Double Review: This is Not a Test

This is Not a TestThis is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
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?

Thoughts:
 This book is insanely good. It was creepy, dark, terrifying, intense and just amazing.

Put simply this is about six teenagers who get stuck in a school after zombies take over the town. It is not clear where these zombies came from or even if the town was aware of them. Simple story not so simple characters. Each character has his/her own side story and not one of them is anywhere near happy. Sloane the main character has had a very hard life. Her father is abusive, her mother is gone, and her sister has left her alone with their father. Sloane is about ready to take her own life when the unthinkable happens and zombies invade her town. Left with no other option than to run from the house she somehow gets caught up with 5 other teenagers on the run for their lives. They all end up in a school that they barricade up and are lucky enough to have food and running water inside. At one point I did have a flashback to The Breakfast Club but that quickly changed to a Lord of the Flies vibe after several plays for power are thrown out. This book takes place mostly inside the school but don’t let that fool you into thinking there is no action.. There is plenty of drama, action, and mystery woven into this story and I am so glad that it did take place inside somewhere safe because if I had to deal with several zombie attacks I would have seriously lost my mind. I was trembling and glued to the pages as it was.

So much of what happened in this book shocked the poo out of me. After reading so many books that is very hard to do, but I found myself open mouthed at more than just one point throughout the story. Do not go into this thinking you will get a hea or that there will be rainbows by the end. This is Not a Test is a very dark and disturbing book. Ms. Summers is fearless with her characters and takes no shortcuts when it comes to the hard stuff. I even had nightmares from this book *shudders* If you have read my other reviews you know that I am loving the scary creatures and this book brought back the terrifying zombie. I hope she writes more in this genre.

Never Too Late by Three Days Grace
                                                            5 Snowflakes
                                          
                                 
                                                                      
Thoughts:
Well I’ve read a couple of books by Courtney Summers, including Cracked Up to Be and Fall for Anything; and if I’ve learned anything about this author it’s that she doesn’t go light on her subject matter. With Summers, you’re going to get an emotionally charged book that includes characters on the verge of collapse because of some pretty intense experiences.

Her stories are contemporary novels that hit some heavy subjects head on… pretty clear cut. So when I heard her new release This is Not a Test was about zombies I was a bit taken aback to say the least and I don’t think I’m the only Summers fan that felt that way. What a stretch from her typical style! Part of me was put off because of the zombie bit… not a fan really. But then again I recall being drawn in by this author’s writing so I gave it a try. So glad I did!

Now, I’m definitely not going to be the first one to say this is a book about zombies, but it’s really not about zombies. Don’t worry, I was perplexed when I read that too. But it’s so spot on! This book is about six teenagers that come together in the most unlikely of circumstance. They are trying to survive the demise of society that has fallen victim to a zombie attack. They take shelter in the high school and baracade themselves from the outside world in the hopes that help will soon come their way. All of them are fighting to survive… except for one.

Sloane’s life fell apart long before the zombie epidemic. She comes from a highly abusive family and her only hope for survival (her sister) escaped the clutches of their brutal father six months prior which left Sloane to fend for herself. So, she has no reason to survive, but every hope to end her life. However, when she stumbles upon this group, she finds a reason to hang on just one more day… just one more day.

I’m not sure what grabbed me so profoundly with this book. Possibly the writing, the shocking events, the fragile world building that kept me curious of how this all happened and how it would end, the continuously moving plot… it all blended perfectly together to have me hooked to the pages of this book. I have to say again, the zombie factor was such a miniscule part of this reading experience. There wasn’t a ton of gore, but watch out because those zombies just don’t quit… not for one moment.

This book really left an impression on me, but I can’t say that’s the first time Courtney Summers has done that, and I’m sure it’s not the last.

Well here’s my playlist song. I went with this one because Sloane was the focal point of this book and her agony really shook me in a way I wasn’t expecting. To me this book was more about Sloane fighting the pain within her rather than the threat surrounding her.
Dear Agony – Breaking Benjamin


                                                                  4 Stars
                                               
                                                                         
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