My Rating: 4.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I’ve never been a big fan of zombies – I mean, when was the last time you read about zombies being sparkly and not wanting to eat humans? – but since I’m trying to read more books written by Canadian authors this year, I decided to request Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test. I’m so glad I did because I just fell in love with a zombie novel for the first time!
This is Not a Test begins innocently enough with Sloane and her father quietly eating breakfast. But after the house shakes, Sloane’s father is suddenly killing a woman covered in blood and people are tearing into each other. I thought the start of This is Not a Test was fantastic since you dive into the action right away.
Summers then keeps you tense throughout the novel by making the main setting a school where Sloane and a few others barricade themselves while waiting for help to arrive. With nobody having a clue about what’s happening outside, there’s a constant latent threat that zombies will somehow find a way to break into the school or that the kids will eventually run out of food and have to venture out.
Besides the tightly written plot, I also enjoyed the characterization in This is Not a Test. Although Sloane was the main character, Summers developed each of her teens to such an extent that I ended up caring for all of them. The secondary characters actually felt as if they were more than secondary characters because everyone had their own secrets, motivations and experiences.
Since This is Not a Test felt like a survival story that just happened to have zombies in it, I was happy that Summers’ characters experienced believable emotions. They cooperated with each other; but they also fought, cried, and formed subgroups. Furthermore, I really liked that Summers didn’t shy away from having her characters make tough choices and sacrifice people for the greater good of the group.
My first Courtney Summers’ novel but certainly not my last, This is Not a Test will be released by St. Martin’s Griffin on June 19, 2012.
Comments About the Cover: I don’t know what’s going on with the girl and her hair, but I like the melancholy vibe as it goes perfectly with Sloane’s decision to kill herself. The little droplets of blood are a nice additional touch.
In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.
|original image from thegate.ca|