Review: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

This is not a Test This Is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers

ISBN-13: 9-780312-656744
Publication: June 2012 from St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: purchased
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it
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What do you do when the line between the living and the dead is blurred?

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.

Now seems like the perfect time to give up…

For Sloane Price, the end has never been something to fear. Six months ago, her world collapsed, and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

As the days crawl by, and the motivations for survival change, 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.


This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is a beautiful showcase of humanity persevering through the apocalypse. The zombie apocalypse. With a memorable and complex cast of characters, Courtney Summers delivers a gripping story of one girls struggle with wanting to live or die.

The character introduction of Sloane in the beginning of the novel is wonderful. The reader immediately gets the sense of her home life, and that she’s a little bit broken – but tough. The time jumps from the beginning of the zombie outbreak to when Sloane and the rest of the group she’s traveling with find relative safety in their high school help speed the plot and yet still give glimpses into this newly infected world. The cast of characters is diverse; each one having their own issues, insecurities, strengths, hang-ups and interests. The actual interactions with zombies are few and far between – This Is Not a Test is definitely a character piece – but the attacks we see are intense and terrifying. As the future becomes more uncertain, their stronghold is breached, members of the group fight amongst themselves and Sloane’s apparent death wish is noticed, the tension and fear escalates. And then the dying starts.

4.5 heart

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is one of those books – zombie or otherwise – that has you holding your breath for the majority of the story, hoping that the characters you’ve come to care about make it through to the end. The development of the characters, especially Sloane, throughout the course of the book is staggering and a testament to Courtney Summers phenomenal writing. There are so many questions and uncertainty at the end of the novel, and yet…there should be. It’s a zombie book, after all, and those tales are not so easily wrapped up. There is hope, though. And who could ask for more than that.