This is Not a Test, by Courtney Summers Review

Friday, 23 January 2015
This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test #1), by Courtney Summers
Published On: June 19, 2012, by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Zombies, Dystopia
Pages: 326
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

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?

Look—another zombie book has gone by… And I didn’t think of it as all as good. Now, play all of your sad music, call the police, and cry of sadness, because hey—I’m also surprised that Courtney Summers didn't really get me so excited with this one.

So for many years, I’ve been trying and trying to find the perfect 5-star zombie read for me. I really did have high hopes for this one—especially since it’s written by Courtney Summers, who in fact I’ve read many books from. And there’s positive reviews on this one all over the place. Actually, I’ve even seen this in my school library. So what’s the catch?

This is a lot like The Walking Dead. You know, it’s your annual zombie apocalypse and survival is key. Actually, it’s the end of the world, and this is thrown into the point of view of teenagers whose lives changed and switched by the second before they even saw it coming. Yeah, they had tons of stress on their hands before the apocalypse came, but now everything’s blurred out and it’ll never be the same again. Sloane Price is our main protagonist, whose world has collapsed and she’s trying to forget about it—but this is her real chance to. 

I just don't even feel like putting myself in the characters’ shoes. You know, I’m not really much of a risk-taker in terms of survival and sacrificing yourself to some zombie kind, but I didn’t really find the characters to be strong in this situation. I normally would’ve pointed that out later in the review, but I just wanted to get things straight here. Sloane and the rest of the crew were people coming out of the impossible. Like honestly, too many bad things were happening to each of them that I began to question this book on how believable the story was. It was dystopian—like isn’t that so bland? Of course we all have some predictions for the future, and this is just a plain old zombie apocalypse when the whole world saw it coming.

If you look back onto other books where these things are happening in present day or in the past, now that’s some action. But I’m questioning the author on why she decided to push this into the future when it’s expecting? Why not create a shock for the characters and the audience and just add the event in on a random day where everyone’s not feeling it? 

The story itself was just a meh for me. Like, it wasn’t anything above and beyond, and it wasn’t anything hideous, either. It was just some regular story that I didn't find my feels exploding all over the place, but I sure do like the survival aspect of it all. There were some key messages of friendship and all of those things, especially anything can happen when you don’t see it coming. I guess that’s why we’ve got to be ready and ahead for these sorts of situations? 

Afterwards, I guess we can all say that the romance saved it all. The romance is what kept Sloane together from breaking apart. Before the massacre began, we had a broken-up teenager who didn't know what to do with herself, and afterwards, she became stronger and more knowing of life. She didn’t realize that the choice of life and death was upon her, though. And to be honest, this wasn’t a real memorable read. I don’t even remember the names of the other characters which does show that it didn’t mean much to me, but I can say that I’ve experienced it in one way or another, right?

The thing is, this isn't a full-out horror story. The zombies were hardly there, and we didn't have a main appearance of them until the end. Sloane did give us an okay showing of them and background story, but it’s not like their guts were flying all over the place, killing and scarfing down remains of humans. Okay, I’m sorry that I’ve given you a gory description, haha.

In the end, I’m really glad that this was a standalone. WAIT, IT’S NOT? Nope, people. Watch this become a trilogy. And what I can say is that the ending would’ve been fine to just stay as a standalone. But whatever, I guess. For a 3 star, I wouldn’t waste much of my time to read the sequel anyway and still feel all “meh-ed” out. This could be the book for you. especially if you enjoyed something like Alice in Zombieland.


  1. I understand how you feel with the same old, stereotypical plot being duplicated. I've read too many books where the plot is predictable because it feels like something I've already seen before. I'm still on the edge with deciding whether to read This is Not a Test or not, but I haven't read any zombie-focused books yet, so if I do read it, it will be my first in that category. Also, I just noticed you're reading Four, and I'd love to hear what you think once finished. I've been wanting to read it for a while but I can't seem to find it nearby. Anyways, thanks for sharing!:D

    Claire @ Cover to Cover

    1. Aghhh, I know right? You definitely should give this a try, especially since you've never touched upon this genre before. I keep going through them and I always get so unlucky! Something Strange and Deadly was the only amazing one! Yes—I'm reading an ARC of Playlist for the Dead right now, and then am going to Four! Thanks! :)

  2. Aww... sucks. I may or may not have this on my to-read list... but it's so extensive I cant even remember, LOL. I actually haven't read too many zombie books, let alone any that I've really LOVED. One I did love, though, is Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby. It's not like a super deep, emotional read... it's more silly, and actually really fun! If you're ever in the mood to read something light and fluffy definitely check that one out and see if it's something you might like!

    1. Ah, Zombie Queen of Newbury High really reminds me of Warm Bodies! I really need to read that one as I REALLY enjoyed the movie! Thanks so much for the recommendation, it sounds really good! :D


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