Review: This is Not a Test

This is Not a Test This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: Sloane’s daily routine of parental abuse is interrupted by the zombie apocalypse. Six months ago, Sloane’s sister Lily ran away, and suddenly Sloane is free and after 7 days of surviving, Sloane finds herself barricaded in her high school with 5 of her classmates. With zombies banging at the doors, this group will need to work together, and work out all of the ghosts from their past, in order to survive.

The Name Game

  • Sloane – this is such a gross name.
  • Cary – I suppose this is probably my favorite name out of the bunch?
  • Rhys – how do you even pronounce this?  Reece?  Riz? Riss?
  • Grace – oh, she’s so nice and sincere, just like her name!
  • Tracy – the twins have rhyming names, and this one’s a boy.  barf!
  • Harrison – quite the manly name for a freshman who cries all the time

Group Dynamics

The zombies of this story existed pretty much to throw this group into an isolated survival situation.  Most of the characters had a secret past. Sloane’s lifetime of abuse issues really affects her ability to interact with people, even before the zombies arrived, and working through her fears and issues carries through the entire story and drives her. Honestly, I barely even needed the zombies in there to be interested in the story. This is a story more about the people in the situation – like “The Walking Dead” TV show over “The Walking Dead” graphic novels…. and I loved it!

The Z-Factor

I loved that the word zombie isn’t even mentioned until much later in the book.  Sloane’s at the breakfast table with her dad, getting ready for him to start beating on her, when there’s a knock at the door, and outside is chaos.  She doesn’t even know what is happening.  The story then skips to a week later, and the reader is left wondering for the rest of the story what exactly happened in that week.  It was a great technique, because we’re never really sure if Cary led Grace and Tracy’s parents walk into a horde of zombies on purpose or not.  We’re left in the same predicament as the characters, not sure whether we should trust Cary.

Most of the action is inside the school, but on the few occasions that the zombies appear, there’s enough gore to get the idea of what’s happening, but nothing too excessive.

Parental Advisory

There is some swearing, but appropriate to the situation and nothing over the top. There are a couple of kissing scenes that get pretty intense as well…. again, appropriate to a life-or-death situation.

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