I thought the Book started a little slow, but quickly developed into a Realistic, Thrilling and Action-Packed Apocalyptic Story.
Actually, I would consider the Book one of the most character-developed Zombie Books I've ever Read, and as the Reader is provided Details about all Six Student Characters--this Title would actually make a Great Book for Discussion, and as many actions could be evaluated and debated.
Continuing, I actually thought the Book was a little Violent for a YA Title, and especially with the easy to imagine Graphic Detail; and so its Target Audience must be the Older YA and Adults.
Lastly, I overall consider it an Above Average and Recommended Read, and I definitely could see the Book being made into a Movie...
Courtney Summers’ trademark sparse yet hard-hitting prose meets the walking dead. Sound like either the next best thing or the stuff that makes you squirm in discomfort? It was a…strange…pairing in my opinion, and I’m still not sure what to think of it, but THIS IS NOT A TEST was a quick and intense that was still hard for me to put down, despite some of my hesitations toward it.
There were many moments while I was reading when I stopped, pressed my palms into my eyes, and thought again how much subjective overkill of content this book contained. Sloane is a suicidal teenage girl with an abusive family history and a missing older sister. Sound like the beginning of a YA contemporary novel to you? It did to me too. Which was why I found the choice to make zombies a huge part of the problem in THIS IS NOT A TEST a rather strange one. The zombie premise made the book read sort of like a giant metaphor for not killing yourself and whatnot, and masked—at least for me—the subtlety of character development that a sophisticated contemporary YA allows.
It’s hard to not get fed up with the characters in THIS IS NOT A TEST. Sloane has a sort of narration that can dip into stream-of-consciousness at times, which combined with The Zombie Situation gave me headaches sometimes. (There are zombies. I just wanted some direct prose sometimes, y’know?) Other characters are even less likable, hung up on past events or sniffling at every single new thing that goes wrong. There were large chunks of the book that felt like characters simply shouting at one another, to no avail.
On the other hand, even if I wanted to grab some characters by the scruffs of their necks and drop-kick them outside to be at the mercy of the zombies, it’s hard for me to say whether or not this would be the natural behaviors of a group of six people stuck together in the middle of an apocalyptic situation. So I, as a reader, was torn between my frustration with some of the characters’ pettiness and the sobering thought that even I would be like those characters in that situation.
THIS IS NOT A TEST is not my favorite YA take on zombies, nor is it my favorite of Summers’ objectively accomplished novels: the strange juxtaposition of the supernatural with a setup that seems more ideal for a contemporary YA story didn’t quite work for me. However, if you’re a big fan of Summers’ writing style, don’t mind reading about zombies, and are interested in the details and behaviors of human beings in apocalyptic situations, THIS IS NOT A TEST will be just the thing for a dark and stormy night’s read.