Thursday, February 07, 2013 10:00

Review 123. Courtney Summers – This is not a test.

This is Not a TestTitle: This is not a test.
Author: Courtney Summers.
Pages: 323.
Published: June 19th 2012.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin.
Sort: Stand-alone.
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?
Rating: Favorite.

What a heart breaking book! Be prepared for a very dark, gritty story with a cruel ending. I literary spent five minutes staring at the last line. How can you end a book like that? I need more than this, Summers! And I missed the answer to: how did it start? The zombies were just there, appearing out of thin air. These two points lowered the rating to 4.5, still very good.

Let me start by saying that the characters blew me away. Summers know how to create them. Sloane is such a damaged, broken person. She has been abused by her father for years and she feels betrayed by her sister. They made these plans together: one day they would run away and built a life together. That was until her sister ran away six months ago, leaving Sloane under the rage of her ‘father.’ I can’t even think of him that way. He totally terrorizes Sloane. It’s even so bad that she is trying to commit suicide, but that’s when her whole world shatters apart. Zombies are roaming on the streets, killing and infection everybody.

Sloane ends up with five other teenagers in Cortege High, her school building. Trace, Rhys, Cary, Harrison and Grace, each of them has their own flaws and problems. I liked how I get to know all of them. The story is told from Sloane's POV, so I really connected with her. Her voice was beautiful. She was strong despite everything and I liked the development she went through.

What I also liked was the tension. It was always there, making them nervous and annoyed. Harrison is crying all the time, Trace and Cary are always fighting and Sloane is waiting for the moment she can give up. The idea that the zombies are all around them was intense, especially when they are trying to breach through the barricaded doors. The appearance of one of their teachers adds to the creepy situation and don’t get me started about their attempt to leave the building to find another safe haven. I can say that my heart pounded a couple of times. 

This is definitely not a standard zombie book and I think it’s a great book for someone who isn’t a fan of them. It’s more about the way these teenagers are trying to survive while the world around them is falling apart. Summers has a very pleasant writing-style and I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen, but the ending was a bit disappointing.

Maybe the only way our story can end is varying degrees of sad. And that I miss her, that I need her, and this kind of missing, this kind of need, the kind of emptiness it leaves behind is worse than waking up one day and finding the whole world has collapsed in on itself, that I was over long before it was.
I never thought anything could feel like the morning I woke up and she was gone but this is what that feels like. It feels exactly like that. I stretch out on the floor and press my face against the cool tiles. I wait for my blood to turn to cement, for my heart to stop beating.
author image


Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. Ahh! This is a book I have been dying to get my hands on! I like the fact that it is not all icky and zombie-ish! Thanks for the review :)

  2. I haven't read this one so putting it on my tbr list thanks. Popping over from the European Bloggers Linky, now following you xx

  3. I've been wanting to pick this up, but I'm scared about the ending. It sounds so good and unlike any zombie book I've ever read! Those quotes, wow. Great review, Mel. :)

  4. I loved this book so much but agree about that ending-what????

  5. I can not wait to read this book, Mel! I've had it on TBR list for a while but for some reasons I can't pick it up. But now, I will very soon. Your review was great! : )

  6. Eee!! I think this might be for me! I'm VERY new to zombie books. I used to think I hated them but then I watched the Walking Dead (love it!) and decided to give zombie books a try. I'm currently listening to The Forest of Hands and Teeth but I'm definitely adding this to my list after your review!

  7. Holy shit, pardon my language, but why isn't this on my TBR already? Hmhhh.. It sounds so good! Zombies? A heartwrenching story? Ahh, I wanna read this! Love that it's a standalone. It kills me that every awesome book out there has a sequel and if they don't live up to mmy expectations I need to suffer througout the whole series, because that's how I am. I just read the whole series once I start and find the first/second book fascinating enough. Love this concept though. Oh, and your cute little rating flowers are so prettaaa-h!! ;) Thanks for sharing, Mel! :)

  8. Zombies usually aren't my thing, and I'm so glad you said that it's not a standard zombie book & anyone can read it. Now, I'm definitely going to pick this one up Thanks!

  9. ZOMBIES.ZOMBIES are awesome, this has been gathering dust in my TBR pile for some time. I think I need to get reading it, like now. I LOVE LOVE THAT it is standalone. I feel like I will enjoy it more.

    Great review Mel<3

  10. I actually started this a while back and ended up putting it on hold because it was just too depressing for me in that paricular moment, but your review makes me want to pick it back up right now, which is probably what I'll end up doing. I agree that it's not your typical zombie books and I did enjoy the characters.
    Fantastic review!

  11. I have this listed on my Throwback Thursday post. I haven't gotten to it. Now you crush me with an ending I will hate? Oh noes! Still, doen't make me not want to pick it up... does the opposite in fact. LOL

  12. I always had my eye on that cover, and the synopsis just made me more interested! You said the characters are a strong point, and that's what really makes a great story, in my opinion. Awesome review! :)

  13. So glad you enjoyed this one. I'm not much one for zombie novels, but I loved reading this book too. Hopefully there'll be a sequel. Nice review :)

  14. Great review, sweetie :D Glad you loved this book. <3 Oh. I need to re-read it. It was just perfect. Sigh. <3 But yeah. Ending was evil! I need more. Lots more. But was also happy with the ending. Kind of :)
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  15. Wow, I've never expected this to be a zombie book but your review made that idea as interesting as it is revolting! I'll love reading about Sloane, how she and her friends survived because... I just love adventures :D

    Alicia @ Book a World

  16. I really want to read this book now! Im glad the characters blew you away!! I havent read any zombie books, but this one is def on my list now! Great review Mel!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  17. You know. I loved this book but I hated the ending. I'm still mad about it. I agree that this isn't your typical zombie book. You could replace the zombies with just about any other threat. It read closer to a contemporary (a dark one) than anything else. Great review btw!

  18. I have this is in my reading pile, but I think I'll definitely be moving it up on the list a bit. I'm so happy you enjoyed it, I want to read it soon :) Awesome review!

  19. Oh I've been wanting to read this. Glad to hear you liked it.

    Jenny @ Book Sojourner

  20. I rated it 5 stars too :D Glad you loved this.


  21. I've got this on my TBR... I love it when there's intercharacter conflict in zombie/post apocalyptic books-looks like I'll enjoy this. Shame about the ending.

  22. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Mel! I'm unfortunately not a fan of Courtney Summers myself because the last 2 books by her that I've read have largely offended me with the way profanities are casually flung around every other sentence. I do have to admit that this zombie concept sounds really refreshing and intriguing! It's great that there's nice and intense tension to it too, though too bad about that ending. Great review as always!

  23. Your line about how this is a zombie book also non-zombie fans will enjoy convinced me. I really need to read this! Added to my TBR :)

  24. The ending had me in tears. It's the most realistic version of a zombie story I've read in a while. If life gives you zombies, people will die. It's harsh, but seems true. I mean, how can you fight against them 24/7? Zombies wait for nobody!

    1. I'm glad I read your comment. I gave this book to my sister and a cruel ending will make her happy. She's a zombie lover, so I'm hoping the ending will satisfy her zombie-fan needs based on this comment and Mel's description of the ending.

  25. I have heard great things about Courtney Summers books, I have also heard great things about this one, I am so curious to read this one especially because of what you said about the ending. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  26. I really liked Summer. Mainly because she was consistent in trying to kill herself. I mean, if you want to kill yourself you don't forget about it just becomes the world seems to be ending :-)


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