Have you checked out Tracey Neithercott’s YA Book Club? If you haven’t, you should. Join in, vote on a book, and post a blog about said book within a specified time frame!
August’s pick was THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers, a zombie-pocalyptic survival tale. Six high school students hole up in their high school while hordes of the undead mill about outside, ready to maul them and feast on their flesh (much like actual cannibal Shia LaBeouf).
This book is my first Courtney Summers, and it won’t be my last.
Sloane, the MC, is the only one of the six who doesn’t have much at stake in the whole survival game. She is looking for a way out anyway–has been since her sister Lily ran away and left her alone with their abusive father. But oddly, Sloane’s mental disconnect from the situation wasn’t as distancing as I thought it would be. Her voice is spare and gut-wrenching. It’s everything Sloane held back from her fellow survivors. Vulnerable and honest. Scared and lonely.
Some of the reviews I’ve read insist that THIS IS NOT A TEST is not really a zombie book, almost like that’s a compliment. Yes, it’s more of a character study, but I think that Summers knew what she was doing when she chose to pit Sloane against a zombie-pocalypse. Sloane’s inner turmoil gave the zombie thing a solid thematic resonance. She already felt dead inside. How was she much different than the undead banging up against the school doors?
“I wouldn’t have left you like that. Not like she did to me.” I swallow hard. “She always said I’d die without her and she left anyway.”
“But you didn’t die,” He says.
“I did,” I say. “I’m just waiting for the rest of me to catch up.”
What I loved most about this book (and I loved a lot) is that every character had a motive and a story and even the ones you wanted to hate were still heartbreaking and real. Trace, Grace, Harrison, Rhys. And Cary–my God, Cary. They are all good people, as Sloane insists, and even when they do horrible, unforgivable things, you can see their goodness. You have to believe that one tragic, morally ambiguous act doesn’t condemn a person. Because you might have done the same thing, and you’re a good person. Right?
Have you read THIS IS NOT A TEST? What did you think?