Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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?
The best thing about this book is the tension that Summers manages to build. The writing isn’t particularly sophisticated and there were very few characters I would actually want to ride out a zombie-based apocalypse with but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t glued to the pages of This Is Not A Test and reading as though my own life depended on it. There are plenty of hold-your-breath moments hiding around dark corridors and edge-of-your-seat moments out with the zombies. The desperation the teenagers inevitably feel seeps into every page and means that even preparing breakfast is a source of much drama.
After a while, my sympathy with Sloane waned and I wanted to shake her. It isn’t that Sloane is whiny, because she isn’t particularly. It was just that I couldn’t understand her or really like her. She talks a lot about how depressed she was/is and how tired she is of the world and everything in it and I just wanted her to “put up or shut up”. I know, harsh. Sorry. I think that maybe the story might have worked even better if the story had been narrated by one of the other characters, maybe Rhys.
Date finished: 17 August 2012
Genre: YA fiction; zombie fiction
Published: by St Martin’s Griffin in June 2012