Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Thoughts: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Published: June 19, 2012
St. Martin's Griffin
336 pages, paperback
Source: Tara
goodreads Summary: It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

So it's not really a secret that I've become a Courtney Summers fan girl in the last several weeks. She is Queen of Angst, honestly. If you're feeling like you need to spew (because, you know, that's normal), just read a Summers book and your stomach WILL NOT SETTLE. So you know how with each subsequent Harry Potter movie, the Warner Brothers symbol got more and more gloomy-looking? THAT is how Courtney's books are. With each book, I tell myself "nope, not gonna cry this time," and it never works.

But this? THIS? TiNaT is rock bottom of gloomy. This establishes an entirely new calibur of depressing. And I loved it, even though I was so unsettled throughout the whole book. Sloane is such a pitiful character. I don't mean that as a dig at who she is, I just mean she's reached the end of her rope. Coming from a home of domestic abuse, losing Lily--her sister--and the only person she thought she could depend on, and now zombies? Granted they're never actually called zombies, more like "infected," but if it walks like a duck...

The hopeless desperation in TiNaT was what really got to me. Like "well, it's the end of the world. We can either throw in the towel or fight like hell to survive, though who knows what good it'll do us, really. THEY EAT PEOPLE FOR SHIZ AND GIGS." There's so much grief and loss and resignation to the fact that they're probably going to die that it probably wasn't the best idea for me to read this in the early morning hours when monsters could jump out of the closet or decapitated heads could come flying through my patio door (this is how I think at 4:00am) to send me into cardiac arrest, but you live, you learn.

I wave my Courtney Summers flag high. Sure, there are tears in my eyes and I think I may need literary anti-depressants post-book, but I will continue to read everything this woman writes, so long as she's okay with maybe paying my therapy bills.


  1. This book sounds really good! It has zombies AND it's by Courtney Summers. That equals WIN! I can't wait to get my hands on this. :)

    Lovely review!

  2. This is definitely rock bottom gloomy! I enjoyed it...I'm not sure that's the right word, though. I had to read something happy and fluffy afterward.

  3. Great review, Jen! I've been curious about this book, as I'm not really into zombies but this one sounds so good, I may just have to give it a try! Glad to hear you loved it :-)

    P.S., I think crazy stuff like that in the middle of the night, too!

  4. Courtney Summers makes me feel CRAZY ... but in a good way? YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

  5. That's quite an endorsement! I haven't read any of her book, yet but clearly I need to!

  6. I've been wanting to read this one for ages. I love that it's an EMOTIONAL book about zombies. Don't get me wrong, I love regular brain-eating-zombies books too, but there's just something about emotions+zombies that really does something. Great review :]

  7. The book is dark, but not completely bleak. I liked that the zombies weren't the real source of the anguish for Sloane, and watching her try to make sense of life and living in a situation where people were fighting for their lives was very clever. I loved it. Courtney Summers is the best. :)

  8. This book made me so sad. But, y'know a good good sad. With a good side of despair.

  9. That's... frightening. I don't want to need literary therapy sessions after this. But... the dark is so compelling, intriguing. And, frankly, I like reading about characters so, so low that there hope goes BENEATH EVEN THE OCEAN FLOOR.

    "but if it walks like a duck..."

    I read this to my mom and she burst out chuckling. We shared a gigglefit and she went on back to cooking for me, but it was worth a pause. I like zombies, and I also like the fact that this book doesn't totally focus on the zombies but more on the emotional aspect. I have this one, so I may have to start over my Memorial Break. :D