here) by the same author last summer, and was absolutely blown away by her storytelling ability and the characters that she created. So, when I picked up This is Not a Test, I was expecting a contemporary young adult novel ... NOT a book about the zombie apocalypse!
In the opening scene of the novel, we are thrust into Courtney Summers' post-apocalyptic world, as seen through the eyes of Sloane. Sloane has just lost her sister, who has left home and left Sloane to deal with their abusive father alone. Feeling abandoned by her sister, and best friend, Sloane has decided to commit suicide. But fate deals her a cruel hand when she realizes that her sister has taken her sleeping pills with her, and a virus has swept through her town, forcing her to take shelter in a local high school and fight to stay alive, when really all she wants to do is give up and have it all be over.
By the end of the first chapter, I actually yelled out "WHAT?" and sent a tweet to Magan Blasig (who recommended this book to me), wondering what I was getting myself into. (Somehow, I managed to miss the blood splatter on the front cover -- that might have been a small indication of what was to happen in the book). She immediately wrote me back and urged me to read on, telling me that my contemporary craving would be satisfied by the end of the book.
This is Not a Test is a book about zombies, but it is also a book about so, so much more. As Magan said, my contemporary side was quite happy by the end of the book, because the majority of the storyline is about these amazing characters and how they work together, and struggle against one another, and fight and love and trust and just do their very best to stay alive. My husband and I are fans of the TV show The Walking Dead and, although I don't watch most of the gross zombie bits (I hide under the blanket and he tells me when the bloody bits are over), I'm fascinated by that show because of the human relationships between the characters. It's always amazing to see just what people will do to stay alive and the bonds that they will forge with one another while they struggle to overcome all odds.
And that is exactly what Courtney Summers has done in this book: created a story that is about so much more than just zombies. I laughed, I cried, I rooted for the characters and, in the end, I was left feeling that I had just read an absolute masterpiece.