Sunday, 10 June 2012

Review: This is not a Test by Courtney Summers

  Title: This is not a Test
  Author: Courtney Summers
  Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  Publication date: June 19th 2012
  Source: NetGalley
  My rating: 5 stars

  Reviewed by: Jasprit

In the past I have read some good zombie themed books; The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Feed, but This is not a Test has by far outdone all of these. Where can I start with this amazing book? It put me through a tumult of emotions; my nerves were always on edge, I had a constant aching in my chest. Basically I was a complete wreck after finishing it. It was one of the most powerful, thrilling yet gruelling books I’ve ever read.

This is not a test follows six teenagers, Sloane, Rhys, Cary, Harrison, Trace and Grace who have managed to escape for the time being from ravaged flesh hungry zombies. The place they called home Cortege under came an unexpected attack. Everything’s come to a complete standstill and now the town is largely occupied by the dead. People have lost family members all over the place. Sloane and the others manage to find a safe place for the time being, their local school, they barricade all possible entrances to the building and cover up all the windows. They have enough food and water supplies to last them a while, until help arrives but how long can they wait it out?

This is not a test had the best opening scene that I have ever come across; what a way to get thrown into a book. It opens in a depressing scene of Sloane dealing with her dad after the aftermath of a brutal beating. Out of nowhere they hear someone pounding on their door screaming for help, Sloane’s dad grudgingly goes out to investigate, they discover that their entire street is in uproar, they’re surrounded by the sound of people screaming and rushing by, sirens wailing. A woman covered in blood approaches their house, her dad slams the door in her face but she smashes her way in, trapping them inside... Oh how I enjoyed being thrown into the middle of the chaos from the get go, it was seriously nail biting stuff.

The great thing about this book was that it wasn’t just a zombie themed book, but much more than that. It cuts you so deep with the stories of the six teenagers stuck in the school. Each having a heartfelt story which brings them to the school in the first place, Sloane is just empty, empty now that her sister Lily has ran away. Lily and Sloane were there for each other through their dad’s vicious beatings. They had planned to run away together but Lily just disappeared one day out of the blue leaving her a note and having to deal with her dad all by herself. Sloane’s worried has Lily managed to make it away on time? Is she safe? Without Lily by her side Sloane’s life is just pointless. Cary the school’s pot dealer seemed to be quite close to Lily before she ran away. Harrison, being the new kid doesn’t really know anyone, he feels helpless and scared all the time. And he’s really emotional at coming to terms with everything’s that happening around them. Trace is constantly hot headed, but the only reason he’s not lashing out as much is because he still has his twin sister Grace.  Grace, despite everything is dealing with things much better than Trace. She has been a comforting presence within the group, constantly reassuring Harrison, trying to keep everyone calm and keeping Trace in line when he’s about to fly off on one. And finally Rhys he’s been quite calm and controlled, so has kind of taken charge of the group. He also seems to be more clued up compared to the others about the zombies, but how does he know so much? A lot of them didn’t really trust one another, but the fact that they were stuck together, meant that they had to depend on one another in order to survive. They really became like a tight knit family, I’d grown so close to each one of these characters in such a small amount of time. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to cope if anything happened to them.

What made this book so good that I gave it 5 stars? That was definitely down to the story building, it was just immense, the plot twists came out from nowhere, they smack you upside the head, that by the time you’re getting your head around one you’re flabbergasted by something else, blow by blow this booked chipped away at my already feeble heart until I could no longer take it. So many times I had to stop reading. I wanted to carry on reading but was so scared of what was going to happen.

Courtney Summers seriously where have you been all my life? I’ve heard so many great things about your contemporary books but then you rock up with this? With all the contemporaries I’ve been devouring I so needed this. This was just a true literary gem. Courtney Summer’s writing was intense, gripping and heart wrenching and at times and it completely floored me! The shock tactics were brutal yet jaw dropping. This book truly deserves a million stars.

This is not a test is a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, I recommend that if you read this book, lock yourself away and read it because it’s one of those books that once you start you won’t be able to put back down.

If there’s anything you want to take from my review it’s this READ THIS BOOK NOW! That is all.

A big thank you to Net galley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book.


  1. WOW! Amazing review. I really, really want to read this one. I bought Courtney's first book a long time ago, but I still have not read it. I really need too. I've heard she's a fab author. Sigh. sounds like another I need to get my little hands on quick! Great review. i'm so glad you loved this one.


  2. seriously LOVED this<3 I never realised until YESTERDAY that this was a zombie book! Ooohhh best opening scene? That reminds me a little of Mara! Awesomeeee review Jasprit :) I'm SO glad you enjoyed this :DD

  3. Gosh, I seriously need this book RIGHT NOW! I'm especially since intrigued since you said that this is not just a zombie-themed book! Oh wow, I'm not usually a zombie fan, but This is Not a Test I think I'll make an exception! <3

    Awesome review, Jasprit! So glad that you really enjoyed this book! :)

  4. I remember seeing how much you loved this on Goodreads and it urged me to get round to my NG copy sooner. I'm so glad I did as I absolutely adored this book! I completely agree that it's so much more than a zombie book and I can't wait to try more of Courtney Summers' work. Amazing review!

  5. Another fantastic review, Jasprit! I am so glad that you enjoyed this one - I really need to give in and buy it, it sounds so good! I already own a couple of other books by Summers, but this one sounds really different. :)

  6. I got the message loud and clear, Jas, READ IT! I really can't wait for this, I love how intense it sounds, I'll be sure to start this one day when I have nothing else planned ;)

  7. I'm kind of excited to read this book soon since I've heard only positive things about it. :D :D
    I love how you described the book as " one of the most powerful, thrilling yet gruelling books I’ve ever read"
    The characters and the world-building sound intense and absolutely fabulous ! I can't wait. My expectations are really high for this book. :)
    Love the review, Jasprit.

  8. I loved this book so much too! The atmosphere, the characters, the story, the zombies, the way you said that this was so much more than just a zombie book because it totally is... All perfectly spot-on! I just can't get over how much I love it. That opening scene really got to me too and it made me want to hug Sloane more than I've ever wanted to hug a character before in my life!

    Absolutely amazing review, J! You really nailed how gripping this book is, and I love you just a bit more for that! :) <3

    1. Aww thanks Mimi this was seriously one tough review to write up, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fully illustrate just how much I loved it! I can't wait to read your review! :)

  9. A book about ZOMBIES? How interesting, I must have a look for it in my local library after your lovely review :) And that opening scene - wow! It sounds really tense but I love how the reader is thrown into all the action!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jasprit! And thanks so much for adding my blog to your blog roll - I LOVE your blog too <3 *hugs*

  10. Am I the only one having trouble commenting? As long as I use my main computer and not my iPad and refresh it numerous times it will finally let me. Sigh... ok I reviewed this last month and thought it was such an emotionally gripping read. I like that Sloane is flawed and suicidal I mean how many heroines want to die at the zombie's hand instead of living? It certainly gives a new view point. THe writing is amazing... just wish the ending wasn't quite so open ended. All in all a great read!

  11. I've read many reviews of this book and I always end up thinking I should read it soon (which I haven't, not yet), but yours is by far the most convincing. I love a good opening scene as much as the next person, and I love that this isn't your average zombie book, even though I really don't mind those sometimes.
    Amazing review, Jasprit. I am convinced.

    1. Maja I know how much you love your zombie books, they don't play a prominent theme in this book, but still it was one heck of a book! I really really hope you like this one too! :)

  12. I admit that when I came across this book on GoodReads I didn't so much as give it a second glance, but your review has me a intrigued. I love it when a book dives straight into the action! Also, the characters sound awesome - I find that if I don't like the characters in a book I can't carry on reading it no matter how good the plot. So it's good to know that this book has both! =)

  13. I love zombies, but could do without the suicidal girl dealing with wanting to die, and being around people who want to live. Turns out this was so much more.

    Sloane's father beat her and her sister. Methodically and aggressively. Lily (older sister) and Sloane talk about leaving. They save money, they dream of a home without their father, and more importantly... with each other. Sloane's world comes crashing down when she wakes one day to find a note from Lilly 'I'm sorry I can't do this anymore', and Lily gone. She wants to die now but doesn't know how, Lily took her sleeping pills with her and Sloane can't cut herself. It seems though that the apocalypse tears apart broken homes as well as happy ones. Zombies start rising and Slone's world continues to crash.


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