Title: This is Not a Test
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: 19 June 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
The Author on the Web:
Place(s) Traveled to: Cortege, Unknown (near future)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
First Line: Lily, I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared. I opened my eyes and I felt it let go.
There are some things which will always be true like how much I love Courtney Summers and think she’s a brilliant writer. I also love zombies. And so I thought that a zombie book by Courtney Summers would be near perfection. Sadly though this combination of two things that I love missed the mark for me and no one is more disappointed in that than I am. I’m not exactly sure what didn’t work for me with This is Not a Test. Perhaps Sloane was just a little too broken or maybe the zombies were just a little too under utilized. For a zombie book they really didn’t make a lot of appearances as much of the book the main characters were holed up in their local high school as they tried to figure out what to do.
As with all other Courtney Summers books the writing was brilliant in its sparseness. Summers does not waste words and as such every one holds weight and meaning. There is a lot of subtly in that and she is a true master of her craft. But writing alone wasn’t enough to make me love this novel and I think it was in part because I never connected with Sloane and she is the one who was telling the story. Its hard to like a book when you don’t like the head that you are forced to live in as events progress. She just wasn’t very likable and just so completely broken. She was selfish and standoffish and just made it impossible to like her. This is also a testament to Courtney’s writing as she is supposed to be disconnected from the people that she is with so kudos for that.
I also didn’t like how ambiguous the ending was. While this is a plot device that I usually don’t mind and its one that is often found in a Courtney Summers book in this one I just wanted more. I wanted more resolution and a better idea of where these characters were going to end up. For me, this one just felt unfinished.
Overall, This is Not a Test didn’t hit that magical spot in me that makes me want to live in the book….ok so even if I did love this book I don’t think I’d want to live in this one…I’m hello…zombies! But I think you get the point. This one didn’t fully work for me but it in no way lessons my love of Courtney Summer’s writing and I am looking forward to her next contemporary book. I’m just not sure that her style works when it comes to the supernatural.