This is Not a Test – Courtney Summers

Synopsis 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.

“…I think it isn’t enough to survive for the sake of surviving…. Surviving should mean something like it means something to them. And if it doesn’t-
If it doesn’t.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.

An Exchange of E-Mails between a friend and I.
[Censored for spoilery badtimes]

Last night.
10.49 pm.

OMG THIS BOOK.
THIS IS A BOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

[blank] and then [blank] and omg [blank] !!!

OMG CATIE. WHAT…. WHAT…. *head implodes*

11.06pm.
[A reply from Catie, aka, President of Courtney Summers’ Fan Club.]
THIS BOOK. The title just kept passing through my head – THIS IS NOT A TEST. Too [blank]ing right it’s not! She really pulled out all the stops I think. Her best.

11:20 pm.
CATIE. A chav just threw a snowball at my window and I swear I literally just died for a split second.

11.31 pm.
OMG WHEN HE [blank]. OMG I can’t even deal with this book now. I’ve actually had to stop reading for the night to calm down.
Blarrgh.

Next day.
11.45 am

[Shh, I had a lie in. It was Sunday!]
I hope [blank] doesn’t turn into a baddie. Or a zombie. Or a zombaddie.

11.48 am.
A [blank]?!?! OH COME ON *gnaws off hand*

11.55 am.
[At this point punctuation, never a strong point of mine, failed me completely.]
the [blank] ??? !!!! omg what is with courtney summers she is an evil evil GENIUS woman

12.08pm.
IS [blank] GOING TO BE A [blank]?!?!
Don’t tell me.
I don’t want to know.
UNLESS [blank] and then they [blank] and then omg [blank] and [blank].
no… still don’t tell me.

12.22pm.
OMFG.
Are you kidding me?!
ARE YOU ACTUALLY KIDDING ME?!

12.37pm
[When I reached the end. Censored for my language because I could make a sailor blush with my muck mouth.]
Holy [blank]-a-doodle-do.

The above should give you an insight on what this review is going to be like.
Manic? Possibly.
Gushing? Probably.
Incoherent? Pffft… you know me too well. ;-)
Let’s just call it passionate, shall we?
The above should also give you an insight on how brilliant it is to get an e-mail off me.

High Points.
In a perfect world. Survivors. Lockers. Notes. Sisters. Family. Pressure. “drenched in someone else’s life.” Book bags. Broken. Tina T. ”Thud.”. Saying good-bye. Safety in numbers. Bait. What comes next?

Low Points.
Trace and Grace…. Really? Are any parents that cruel?!

Heroine.
Sloane… crimeny.

“I’m lying because I’m the only one that can say the things I need to hear.”

Ms Summers sure knows how to create a broken heroine, doesn’t she?

“I’m just waiting for the rest of me to catch up.”

Gah.

Supporting Cast.
OMG [blank] AND WHEN THEY WERE IN THE [blank] and OMG [blank] OMG WHY DID [blank] JUST DO THAT?!?!?!
Guh.
The interactions between these characters in that last part?
Literally made my mind implode.
LITERALLY.

OK, maybe not literally.

Theme Tune.
Seeing as I was still jibbering at the end of this book, I asked Catie to help me pick out a song for this book.
I needed one bleak and horrifying and poignant and remarkably human.

How to Disappear Completely- Radiohead.

Strobe lights and broken speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes
I’m not here.
This isn’t happening
I’m not here.
I’m not here.

*shivers*

Sadness Scale OMFG Scale
I made two cups of tea while I was reading this book and both of them went cold.
The moral of this story?
Drink juice when reading Ms Summers.
Or, like, a milkshake or something.

You know that bit in a horror film when you see a shadow flick across the screen behind the doe-eyed heroine? And there’s the feeling in your stomach where you know terrible things are going to happen but you just don’t know when?
Ms Summers has turned that feeling into a book and that book is called ‘This is Not a Test’.

I think people who go into this book expecting it to be a zombook (“Braaaaains”) will be incredibly disappointed.
Because, to me, this isn’t a zombie book.
This book is a snapshot into suffering and despair and humanity and it’s one that’s blown up to such high-definition that it’s difficult to stomach because it’s honest and it’s brutal and it’s real and it’s so intense in its depiction of unbearable human emotions that you just want to gnaw on a pillow and curl up in the foetal position.

Also, there are zombies.
Zombies that eat braaaaaains.

Recommended For.
People who are ready to join the land of the living. People who are compelled to chase their nightmares. People who wonder what astronauts do when a zombie outbreak breaks…out. People who wonder what celebrities do in a zombie outbreak (Seriously Courtney Summers, get out of my mind! I always think of stuff like that!). People who wonder whether the zombies are the ones they should be worried about. People who could wield a crowbar without hitting themselves in the face with it. People who would stay on the side of zombie-infested side of the fence with me when they realise there is no chance in hell I’m going to be able to get over that because my upper body strength is non-existent. I mean we could try and find a loose slat or something but I might as well apologise to you now in the off-chance we find ourselves in that situation.

I received an advanced copy from the publishers.

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11 thoughts on “This is Not a Test – Courtney Summers

  1. Oh wow. Great review–LOL at your conversations! I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS AHHHH! *Courtney Summers fangirl*

    may have to send a letter to St Martin's Press and beg them rethink their decision and accept my request on Netgalley. Haha.

  2. You think this is her best? I've read all the other ones and loved them and I was a bit worried about her changing away from contemp but if you and Catie are endorsing it, I'm totally on board:)

    Also, you two swear like sailors. A melted milkshake sounds grody. And I like the line you picked, “drenched in someone else's life.” (whether it is good or bad)

  3. Pingback: Review: The Enemy – Charlie Higson « weartheoldcoat

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