Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This Is Not A Test

This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test #1)

This was a harrowing book. It's about a zombie apocalypse, told from the perspective of a suicidal girl- a girl whose sister ran away to escape their abusive father, and broke Sloane's heart in the process. Their father hits them all the time, and Sloane and her sister were saving money secretly to run away, but at some point Lily just left. So now Sloane takes the brunt of the abuse, to the point where she has to stay home from school to give the bruises time to fade, when all of a sudden it happens. I liked how we actually see the beginning of the apocalypse- I mean there are people running down the street, others being chased, cars running into poles. It literally has just begun.

Sloane takes off and soon hooks up with a group of survivors, and they make for the community center only to find it already overrun. Along the way things happen and not all of them make it. We don't actually see this, we get it through the conversations of the kids. Something bad happened and now there is a lack of trust, as some members of the group blame the leader Cary for what happened. Cary by the way is sort of a leader by default, he's the one who gets them safely to the high school, where they set up barricades and are temporarily safe. The group dynamics are a big part of the story- everyone wants to survive except Sloane, and the narrative POV we get her wanting to die juxtaposed with everyone else's survival instincts.

A lot of the story takes place in the high school, which surprised me a bit, I thought they would move on and this would be a tale of running for your life, but it's more a look at how wanting to live and wanting to die- in an apocalypse no less- can get mixed up. Sloane just wants to end it but will that jeopardize her companions? I should say too that this could be triggering for someone who has wrestled with suicide- there is a lot of talk about it and even a supporting character who takes that route. I don't want to be spoilery but feel it's worth mentioning.

As I  said above this is a harrowing tale. Summers takes no prisoners with this one- it's dark and while not overly gory it does have a few moments. Not everything goes according to plan and some of the characters do questionable things, which feels realistic because when one has to make split second decisions in a zombie apocalypse, who knows what one might do? Decisions lead to death at times and this is one of those books where it pays not to get too attached to anyone! I thought Cary was a complex character, Rhys could have used a bit more and Sloane was likable even as she struggled with her sister and her feelings about that. I did get a wee bit tired of the constant angst and darkness but at the same time I think the author is clearly going for an examination of Sloane and who she is- the zombies are just a backdrop.

The ending is interesting- not a cliffhanger but not a happy ever after necessarily either. This story could go on, and while I don't see a sequel other than a novella that continues the story, I would absolutely read more about these characters. This is an edge of your seat thrill ride that gives one lots to think about- if you want a deep look at how a zombie apocalypse affects a tormented young girl who is suicidal, that's what this provides, but if you just want some zombie action this has that covered too. 

36 comments:

  1. Normally I don't read zombie novels, or watch them on television, but this story sounds interesting. Coping with thoughts of suicide,yet forced to survive in this type of scary environment is unique and makes me want to find out how it ends.

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    1. I don't normally do zombie books either, but this one had to. It was very unique with the premise that the MC didn't WANT to survive.

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  2. I avoid zombie books with YA angst as it just gets really old very fast. I don't think it would be my kind of thing! I like the in-your-face gory zombiefests!

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    1. Yeah this might not be your thing, although it DID have some pretty intense zombie action!

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  3. Wow! This sounds intense!! I am also bit hesitant with zombie YA, but I may have to give this a shot! :)

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    1. It was intense! I read very little zombie fic but this one got me!

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  4. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I haven't read the sequel (the novella), but I'm told its just as good. :)

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    1. I did too!! And the sequel novella was as well, even though it didn't go like I thought it would! :)

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    1. Yes they are- especially in this one!

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  6. I loved this one! It's a zombie novel yet not in a way. It's just a really good twist on the whole thing.

    The sequel novella is BRUTAL. But I loved it :-)

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    1. Exactly. It had the zombie action but so much of it was about how she came to terms with every thing she had in her life, amidst the apocalypse.

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  7. Gosh I remember reading this one when it came out. I liked the angst and the edge of your seat thrill, but that ending. Ugh. I don't think I have read the novella. I should do that.

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    1. I read the novella and liked it, not as much, but man the action gets cranked up!

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  8. This sounds exactly like my kind of book! I don't remember hearing of it before now so I am really excited to see your review. Adding this one to my tbr list!

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  9. This is one I've been wanting to read for a long time even though the cover disturbs me. It sounds a lot more issue-y than I thought it would be. Still interested though.

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    1. It's intense since the MC is suicidal, but it has some good zombie action too.

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  10. This is so not a book for me. Zombies and this type of teen angst just aren't things I can handle while reading. I do like the cover though, kind of reminds of something that would be on Broadchurch.

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  11. I rarely read zombie books but I love Courtney Summers so I did read this one -- and liked it!
    Jen Ryland

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  12. I really want to read this one- I bought it years ago, yet it still sits on my shelf. But now I am going to have to bump it up for sure. It sounds SO good. I have never read any survival books from the perspective of someone who doesn't want to survive, so I am quite intrigued! Great review :)

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  13. I've never read any zombie apocalypse books. I'll check this out. Thanks for sharing, Greg. Awesome review.

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  14. I am not a zombie reader but this sounds rather interesting, lots going on. Zombies freak me out but this is something I am adding to my TBR for the future. Awesome Review, Greg!

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  15. I bought this some time ago. I was all excited to read it as it sounds promising and original. Then it got buried under more books. Need to dig it out. For some reason I love zombie books in the summer. LOL Awesome review, Greg and encouraged about the book after reading it. Have a lovely weekend. Raining large cats and dogs here.

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  16. Huh. I never would've guessed this was a zombie book from the cover. It sounds interesting though, that juxtaposition of everyone struggling and doing everything they can to survive vs. the girl who actually wants to die. I can see how that'd be triggering, but I think that was a really good idea, using a zombie apoc as a backdrop for that. I may give this one a read at some point!

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  17. Woo! That sounds intense! It's been a long time since I read a zombie based book.

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  18. I normally avoid zombie books but I really like the sound of the characters and the depth to them. Way different than I expect from a zombie book! I'll have to look for it!

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  19. I absolutely love Courtney Summers (she's one of my fave Canadian authors)! I gotta say, all of her books are pretty harrowing...not just the one about zombies. The angsty introspection angle is kind of her thing, and personally I think she does it quite well!

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    1. I thought this one was awfully bleak. But I liked it that way, because... zombies! It should be bleak, right? I would definitely read more of her stuff, I love how hard hitting this was. Do you have any you recommend?

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  20. The novella was really good Greg. I love this author and like I said hope for more.

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  21. I will have to keep my eye out hoping the ebook will go on sale for my October Zombiethon. Thanks for sharing your review, I had no idea this was a zombie book.

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    1. Ooh a zombiethon- this would fit right in.

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  22. I'd actually seen this one about before and I'd been interested but I didn't realise quite how dark the storyline would be. That both interests me and puts me off. I will hopefully read it at some point. Your review has certainly reminded me I am interested in reading.

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  23. I loved This Is Not a Test! Glad to see you enjoyed it!

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  24. Ooh. You described it so well! I'm intrigued by this one, always have been, but I'm a bit eh about zombie books and movies, etc. I guess I'm a bit worried I'd have trouble sleeping at night, heh. Great review as always, Greg!

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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