Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
From Goodreads: "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?"
My opinion: Before I read This is Not a Test, I had heard good things about Courtney Summers' books, but I had not yet had the pleasure of reading them. Therefore, I was really excited to get the chance to read this one because I am a huge fan of zombie books and I figured this would be a great introduction to Courtney's work for me. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed! This is Not a Test is really so much more than just a zombie book. It deals more with the emotional aspects of the six kids trapped in the high school - how they got there, the toll that it has taken on them physically AND psychologically up to that point, and what they have had to do to survive. Our main character, Sloane Price, has already had a tough life, dealing with abuse and abandonment issues after first her mother and then her sister left her. She has already decided that she doesn't want to live through this horror any longer, she just has to decide how and when to die, while keeping her fragile emotional state from the other kids in the school. Be prepared when you read this book for the emotional toll it will take on YOU! What these teens go through is heart wrenching and, although it sounds a little far fetched given that we are dealing with zombies and the end of the world as we know it, it feels so real! That is the true mark of a good author - one who can take an idea that is so far from reality and make you feel the emotions of the characters as though you are going through it all yourself - and Courtney Summers has that in spades! Her writing style is terrific as she makes her characters come to life for you. The characters, even the secondary ones, are very well written and there is marked character growth from beginning to end.
In summary, I totally enjoyed this book as it was different from other zombie novels I've read, but amazingly good! If you love a good emotional story that happens to be set during a zombie apocalypse, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you :D