This Is Not a Test

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This Is Not a Test

by Courtney Summers

St. Martin's Press | June 19, 2012 | Trade Paperback

This Is Not a Test is rated 4.2727 out of 5 by 11.

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?

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 8.25 × 5.47 × 0.87 in

Published: June 19, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312656742

ISBN - 13: 9780312656744

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional and heart-wrenching I haven’t had a lot of experience reading zombie themed novels, but I’m glad I picked this one up because it was written so well. The gore that is supposed to be splashed all over zombie novels are gone, and the writing is written with more character development and back story than actual action and violence. Told from the viewpoint of Sloane, she’s not your average character who wants to survive. She is such a different character in a way that she doesn’t know if she wants to survive. Her suicidal plans have already failed and what she wants most can be easily met if she just let it. And that point is why I believe she’s so much more vulnerable to the zombie attacks. Because she would let them take her and not fight. She’d give up. I love Courtney Summers’ writing style. It’s fluid and dynamic and it makes me feel like I’m an observer dropped into Sloane’s world full of chaos, murder and even sadness. She is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more from this fellow Canadian in the future. I believe she has a couple of books already published so I’m hoping to pick them up soon!
Date published: 2014-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and real I loved this book. This was my first foray into zombie fiction as I typically don't care for the gore and brain/flesh eating imagery but this book was different. Sure it had those people eating moments and possibly one of the best and most intense opening chapters I have ever read, but the focus doesn't stay on the zombies but rather on the small group of teenagers that have survived locked inside the local high school. The zombies become secondary to these characters as they try to figure out how to navigate in a world without their friends or parents or anything resembling the world they knew. Sloane is a somewhat unsympathetic main character so I found myself as conflicted as she is as to whether or not I wanted her to survive. But the story itself was heartbreaking and wonderful and full of teen angst and panic.
Date published: 2013-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Different take on zombies! I had a really hard time trying to write a review for this book. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but to try and get all of my feelings to words is really proving to be difficult. I thought this book was going to be about zombies and is group of kids trying to survive, think The Walking Dead but with teenagers. The book did have zombies they just weren't the main focus. This novel deals with something that may be hard for some readers, that concept being a suicidal teen. The only thing is this suicidal teen survived the end of the world. Sloane lived with her sister and abusive father until the day her sister left and abandoned Sloane. This broke Sloane. Lily had promised they would leave together. Lily always told Sloane that she would die with out her. I felt really bad for Sloane. She had a crappy childhood and I feel like her sister kind of brainwashed her into thinking she couldn't survive without her. Therefore, once Lily left and the end of the world happened, Sloane kept trying to find ways to off herself but in ways that the others wouldn't know she was actually suicidal. I'm hoping if there is a second book Sloane realizes that she has survived when others didn't and that she deserves to live. There are quite a few secondary charcters that I liked but I don't want to give to much away. I enjoyed reading this book. I really hope that there is a second book so I can find out what happens to Sloane and I also hope the author makes a prequel from Lily's POV. I would recommend this book to people who want a new take on zombies or those who just want a good read. If you have a chance to read this book, do it.
Date published: 2013-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unintentionally terrfied me half to death I think it should be noted that this was my very first "zombie book." The first chapter of this book alone was enough to make me want to shut it, throw it to the ground and not pick it back up to read what happened next-which isn't a negative implcation on the author's writing ability, quite the contrary, Ms. Summers just succeeded in the scaring the living crap out of me. Many reviewers pointed out that this book wasn't so much a "zombie" book, as it was a book that explored the very core of survival, and all the self-depricating and enlighting things that can ensue when one is faced with their untimely demise. I, for one, was terrified beyond belief, and was highly incapable of concentrating on what was happening INSIDE of the school as opposed to what was happening on the OUTSIDE-and the constant terror of a possible breach. Courtney Summers managed to create a very unfortunate series of events (hah) in this one. On the one hand, I completely understood Sloane's state of mind before the zombies showed up, she was living in a home situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But once that situation was conveniently solved by the sudden outbreak of zombies, I just couldn't empathise with Sloane's still present "I still want to end it all" attitude any more-it just didn't seem realistic to me. There are zombies..ZOMBIES! suddenly infecting and wiping out every and anyone you have ever known-I can hardly believe you would be so blasé about that tidbit, no matter what your situation was prior. But those issues aside, I enjoyed the way this storyline played out- the scenes held just enough drama and dialogue to keep the momentum going. The side characters were diverse and for the most part, made me believe what they were feeling when they claimed to be feeling it-other times, I just wanted so much more, considering the circumstances. Though I will definitely be checking out more of what Courtney has to offer.
Date published: 2012-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Much More Than a Zombie Book I finished reading This is Not A Test a week ago and I still haven’t fully recovered. So much more than a ‘zombie’ book, it was hard to read for reasons that I did not expect. Usually characters in Zombie novels are running from death, not toward it, and as the story continues we learn that Sloane’s home life is scarier than most apocalyptic fiction. It was interesting that though Sloane had given up on living she turns out to be the one with the most courage….is it that she has nothing left to lose? There were so many pages filled with stand out, beautifully crafted writing. Not overly gory as zombie books go, but disturbing and intense just the same. Take complex characters and throw them into a life or death situation and it becomes a book that is impossible to put down. I couldn’t wait to get back to read this everyday and when I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was my first Courtney Summers book but it won’t be my last.
Date published: 2012-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Zombie books seem to be growing in popularity and that's something that I have no complaints about! I've mentioned before that I have a certain weakness for zombie films, and books are no exception to this. But what I found particularly intriguing about This Is Not a Test is how the zombie storyline serves more as a backdrop to the real story; which deals much more with Sloane's personal growth and development than anything else. That's something largely unexpected in a zombie book, but it does make for something new. It does a fantastic job of questioning who the real zombies are - the killer undead wandering around outside, or the absolutely broken and shattered living girl who can't feel anything? Reasons to Read: 1.A zombie book with depth: Like I mentioned above, it's really great to see that there's so much more to this than just undead humans trying to kill living people (with some good old government conspiracy thrown in). Sloane is desperately unhappy and angry; quite frankly, she really isn't concerned with her survival at all. Which makes it rather interesting to throw her into a survival scenario. And it's so enriching to see what the motives are behind her actions, and the changes which take place to her as her situation moves along. And it's especially interesting because Sloane doesn't feel like she's really missing out on anything with the zombies taking over- her life wasn't any better before that happened. 2.Realistically scary: Even though the zombies don't play a huge role in the story, they do create a very effective setting just by being there - it's like a looming dark shadow over the entire plot. And the fact that everything is so still, so quiet for such a long time it just makes the reader more anxious for that JUMP moment. And there are so many other dark, frightening aspects to it that add to the overall ambiance - it's impossible to escape. But these other aspects are ones we can easily relate to because they're so familiar to our society and happen all the time (as unfortuante as it is). That feeling of loneliness and losing those we care about - that's terrifying. But unfortunately, I found that there wasn't quite enough development of the story for it to really appeal to me as a reader. I applaud Courtney Summers for being able to create a rich zombie book with so much more going on than zombies - but I also have to admit that I was expecting a bit more action, and to identify with the main character both of which I found to be areas lacking. I wasn't particularly taken with many of the secondary characters either - it was understandable that they would be upset and angry, but it seemed like they were all working against each other in rather petty ways simply to get back revenge. Every character lacked an idea of what they needed to accomplish in the long-term, and ended up stuck on short term desires. Normally I would expect such heavy, dark books to move me but for whatever reason I found it far too difficult to root for any character because I just couldn't identify. And without that relationship, I couldn't LOVE the book although I can clearly see why so many others would. Courtney's talent as a writer is exceptional and beautiful; lovely imagery, and captivating words that draw you in. A zombie book that truly stands out among the rest- it even has a vaguely contemporary feel to it, which could make it appeal to a large group of readers. E-galley received from publisher for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2012-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely Not Your Average Zombie Book! This Is Not A Test may be a slight departure from the contemporary novels which Courtney Summers usually writes, but it didn't deter from delivering a strong character-driven storyline. It explores human nature in the darkest of times and the difficult choices to be made in order to survive. This Is Not A Test is a post-apocalyptic novel unlike anything I've ever read before, with a theatrical touch that's easy to visualize but also brings out powerful feelings that settle in your chest. As humanity descends into madness and zombies pound against the barricades hastily thrown up at Cortege High, six students take refuge inside and wait in isolation from the rest of the world. Wait for hope. Wait for rescue. Wait for death to come and finally take them all. Sloane Price gave up trying to live several months ago, after her older sister, Lily, suddenly ran away from home. Now Sloane's struggling to simply exist in the present and find a reason to keep holding on. Everyone would like to think if they faced a life-or-death situation, they would act morally and bravely until the very end, but when it actually happens, that's a whole other matter. And that's what I really liked about This Is Not A Test; the actions and mindsets of the characters are very believable. My heart completely went out to Sloane. Similar to Courtney Summers's previous protagonists, she's a depressed young woman, one of those lost souls you want to wrap your arms around in comfort and banish her dark thoughts. Every page of the novel is emotionally-charged, and there's a delicate tension that threatens to snap as readers wait for the inevitable moment when something will go horribly wrong. This Is Not A Test is one of Courtney Summers's best novels yet, which is really saying something because I've loved all of her previous books! I cannot wait to see what she'll have in store for us next! You can also read this review and check out a Q&A with Courtney Summers at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.ca/2012/08/review-author-interview-this-is-not.html
Date published: 2012-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely for fans of The Walking Dead! This is Not a Test uses zombies as a stressor in the background, but what we’re really focusing on is human interactions. It does however follow the usual struggle for survival, barricades and mad dashes formula that is common in zombie movies - but really what else do you do in that kind of situation? So the world has ended, these six students take refuge in their high school. You’d think that not much could happen in a safely barricaded building with food and water right? Boy was I ever wrong. The cover for This is Not a Test is perfect for the book, but it creeps me out so much! The hair whipping in the wind, and covering the face makes me wonder if she’s human, or if once that hair passes it’s going to be this maggot riddled face with milky dead eyes, and a snapping hungry mouth. The spray of blood throughout the book makes me more and more sure it’s the latter. The story starts by introducing us to Sloane Price, sitting in a bathtub with her fingers tracing her veins contemplatively. I could immediately pick up on the dark picture that Summers was drawing for the reader. Sloane’s so desolate in her existence, you could feel how bad her life was in her words, thoughts and actions - I craved to know what made her this way, and it doesn’t take long for readers to be introduced to the bane of her existence. Everything starts spiralling downward fast as infected reanimated neighbours start knocking down doors and crashing through windows in their quest for flesh. Sloane makes a break for it into the streets, and winds up with a rag tag group of teenagers back at their high school days later. But Sloane’s lost the will to live, and when you find out why, you really can’t blame her. You’d think committing suicide during a zombie attack would be simple, but what I really loved about Sloane was that while she didn’t value her life anymore, she wasn’t going to take anyone else’s life away in her bid to die. The cast of secondary characters are so colorful in their personalities, and role in the group. There’s Cary - the stoner turned impressively awesome zombie apocalypse survivalist (see video games will totally pay off one day) and impromptu leader. He’s made some tough decisions to get them that far, and for that long - it’s difficult to argue with the results, but not everyone’s happy with his form of leadership and it becomes one of the main points of tension in the group. Rhys the good looking, bad boy who amazingly harbours some serious bludgeoning skills and the fortitude to do some really risky but really brave acts, especially when it comes to Sloane. Sloane’s penchant for wanting to die takes these two through some really tense situations that end up bringing them closer together in really unexpected ways. He acts as Cary’s second in command, but to me he seems the most rational of the group when it comes to making decisions. Then there’s the twins Trace and Grace. Trace is the classic jock of the school, so he has some serious roid rage at times that makes him just as scary as a zombie, but deep down inside I think he’s just really a scared little boy that wants his family to be safe. Grace on the other hand - who is just as popular as her brother, tended to be the calming balm to the group. She would soothe and look at the bright side of things, and pushed forward. It’s just not a zombie apocalypse without the snivelling, psychologically traumatized kid. Enter Harrison, the youngest of the group and just about as useful as throwing marshmallows at attacking zombies. While Summers presented an eclectic group, each had a distinct voice in the story, and soon I was wondering what their back story was, and how they managed to join up with this group. Summers definitely didn’t disappoint in this aspect and we got some really jaw dropping reveals that end up forever shifting the group dynamic. The writing style fits this situation perfectly, it’s blunt and to the point with moments of dizzying panic and introspection in just the right parts. At one point in the story, Sloane remarks something along the lines that this whole situation feels like a reality show, and that’s likely the best way to describe what happens in this school. It’s like a mix of Survivor and Big Brother. They have to work together to survive, but there’s also relationship drama, trust issues, back stabbing, people forming secret alliances and challenges where if they don’t figure out the problem it could literally mean death. And instead of a cushy million dollars at the end, they’ll be lucky to survive the night. I couldn’t really predict where this story was going, everyday with this group was an adventure to read about. It’s a bit slow to start, and there’s lulls in between the action, but Summers takes the reader through a gruesome gauntlet at the end where she sprinkles bits of hope and savage desperation that will really make you question what will you fight for when the world ends.
Date published: 2012-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not your average zombie novel A lot of zombie novels pull at the heart strings. They strip the characters down to their absolute base – bringing them head to head with do or die situations. It's hard not to get emotional in such situations. However, I think it's safe to say no zombie novels have pulled at my heart strings quite like This Is Not a Test. This novel largely takes place within the high school of a few surviving teenagers. They survived the early stages of the outbreak and now have to figure out what their next steps should be. This would be pretty average except for Sloane. A victim of abuse and severly depressed she doesn't react to situations the same way as everyone else. It would be an understatement to say Sloane broke my heart. She may not have had the same thirst for life as everyone else but never the less she's a survivor. She's a fighter. And in many ways I think she's the bravest one of all. She kept going even though she had every reason not too. That being said at times I was also convinced she was a coward. Instead of devaluing her as a character however, this made her even more authentic. This Is Not a Test was an interesting choice for Courtney Summers. I think it was a gamble to write a zombie novel with a depressed/suicidal main character but it paid off. I found myself left breathless and shocked by certain moments and heart broken by others. By the time I reached the last page my chest ached. This was a beautiful novel. Final recommendation: A heart wrenching yet inspiring novel. This one will appeal to both zombie fans and contemporary lovers. Sounds crazy but it's true. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com
Date published: 2012-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply amazing Originally posted at http://lostatmidnightreviews.blogspot.ca/ ! An hour and a half bus ride and over a year of waiting and finally I had This Is Not a Test in my hands. It was worth every second of anticipation. I have been a Courtney Summers fan since my friend Crim convinced me to read Cracked Up To Be over two years ago. Her writing style is unique, and captivating, and her stories are impossible to ignore. When I found out that This Is Not a Test would be a zombie novel, I was kind of petrified. Courtney Summers doesn’t write happy books. She writes honest, in-your-face novels that attack issues lots of people tend to shy away from. Combine that with a zombie novel (which NEVER end well) and you have an emotionally trying novel. And it was. But I loved every word, every page, and every heartbreaking second. I knew from the first page that I was invested in this novel. Summers demands control of your emotions. She doesn’t let you just peek into the story, she pulls you in and makes you a part of it. Every decision the characters make weighs heavily on your conscience, every pound on the door reverberates inside your head, and every painful thought punctures a hole in your heart. This wasn’t just a zombie story. It was a story of family, abuse, and survival. Sloane Price was a stunning character, in the very literal sense. I was shocked by her back-story, and utterly paralyzed by her lack of will to live. In a typical “zombie” book, all the characters are clamoring to survive, but Sloane had already convinced herself there was no point long before the apocalypse. It was hard not to get swept up and dragged down by her pain, all the while hoping she would find something to save her. It’s hard to really put into words my feelings on Sloane. I think you have to read the novel and enter her mind to understand this intricate character. The other characters in the novel each had their own story and impact on the novel. These weren’t just cardboard characters, but instead intriguing and complex. I adored Rhys and his fierce will, Grace and her kindness and Cary and his bravery. I wanted to comfort Harrison, and although I wanted to slap Trace more than anything, his loyalty was unmatched. But, these characters weren’t perfect. They weren’t just kind and loyal and brave, they were also cruel and secretive and broken. This story truly wasn’t about zombies, but about the six people trapped in that school, trapped in their pain, and their blurred lines between live and death. Although the zombie element was not a very big part of the book, I was terrified by it. I was so wrapped up in the story that any bump or creek in my own house had me jumping up expecting a ravenous horde of undead at my window. My heart was racing in fear and anticipation during the whole story. The last thing I want to mention is the cover. I think it’s absolutely perfect. I adore the coloring, the blood spatter, and the girl on the cover. It captures the atmosphere of the novel perfectly. This Is Not a Test is going to be one of those books I read again and again. It’s a book everyone should read. Because it is honestly amazing. Simply, utterly, and completely amazing. I can go into detail about the characters, and plot, etc. but it all boils down to that. It’s amazing. This is a book no one can miss, and it is, without a doubt, my favourite book I’ve read this year. Courtney Summers has outdone herself. Her talent has reached an entirely new level. - Ciara who is lost at midnight
Date published: 2012-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Like "The Breakfast Club", with Zombies! The world is ending, filling with infected people becoming zombies and six teenagers have managed to survive and take shelter in the local high school. Tension and voices run high as the pounding on the doors from the dead outside get to everyone. Sloane, a girl who didn’t have a great family life, is ready to use this dire situation to just end her misery. Little does she know, the circumstances that they face on the inside are just as treacherous as the danger that awaits them outside. While reading This Is Not a Test, I kept thinking of how amazing this would be as a play or movie. Although it’s set amidst a zombie apocalypse, the majority of the story is set inside the high school. It’s almost like the zombies are a subplot, and the main focus is a character-driven tale of six very-different personalities trying to survive. I’d like to equate it to a similar feel to The Breakfast Club. It’s a group of kids, personalities clashing and stuck in a school yet having a unified front against the bigger baddie. The narrative style is really interesting, and I enjoy the hints of a back story before the full history is revealed. All throughout the novel, Summers alludes to Sloane’s home life and you can speculate and figure what it was, but she doesn’t come right out and explain till much later. I love that. Even the characters themselves, the reader is often kept guessing as to their motivations and intentions. Jumping right into the action, This Is Not a Test is a riveting and compelling read. Your heart goes out to the six teenagers in different ways, all struggling with different inner torments. This, an interview with the author, and other reviews can be found on my blog JustALilLost.com
Date published: 2012-06-21

– More About This Product –

This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test

by Courtney Summers

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 336 pages, 8.25 × 5.47 × 0.87 in

Published: June 19, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312656742

ISBN - 13: 9780312656744

About the Book

When six teens become trapped inside their high school during the zombie apocalypse, they quickly discover the line between the living and the dead isn't as clear as they think in this chilling story of survival from the author of "Cracked Up to Be" and "Fall for Anything."

Read from the Book

SEVEN DAYS LATER  “Get the door! Get the tables against the fucking door, Trace—move!”In a perfect world, I’m spinning out. I’m seven days ago, sleeping myself into nothingness. Every breath in and out is shallower than the last until, eventually, I stop. In a perfect world, I’m over. I’m dead. But in this world, Lily took the pills with her and I’m still alive. I’m climbing onstage before Cary notices and gives me something to do even though I should be doing something. I should help. I should be helping because seconds are critical. He said this over and over while we ran down streets, through alleys, watched the community center fall, hid out in empty houses and he was right—seconds are critical.You can lose everything in seconds.“Harrison, Grace, take the front! Rhys, I need you in the halls with me—”I slip past the curtain. I smell death. It’s all over me but it’s not me, not yet. I am not dead yet. I run my hands over my body, feeling for something that doesn’t belong. We were one street away and they came in at all sides with their arms out, their hands reaching for me with the kind of sharp-teethed hunger that makes a person—them. Cary pulled me away before I could have it, but I thought—I thought I felt something, maybe—“Sloane? Where’s Sloane?”I can’t reach far enough behind my back.“Rhys, the halls—”“Where is she?”“We have to get in the halls now!”“Sloane? Sloane!”I look up. Boxy forms loom overhead, weird and ominous. Stage lights. And I don’t know why but I dig
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From the Publisher

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?

About the Author

Courtney Summers is the author of young adult novels including Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, and Cracked Up to Be. She lives and writes in Canada, where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and a word-processing program when she's not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse.

Editorial Reviews

Intriguing.... It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices.... Unusual and absorbing.