YA Book Club: This is not a test by Courtney Summers

This month, the YA Book Club (brainchild of the wonderful Tracey) is discussing THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers.

Summary provided by Goodreads.com: 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 wantto 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?

First Disclaimer: I´ve read my first Courtney Summers´ book last month: CRACKED UP TO BE, and I was amazed by her way of writing, of showing pain and hope.

Second Disclaimer: I love zombies. I love zombie movies, zombie shows (“The Walking Dead” anyone?)…And I love them because they dig into the human emotions, they put them in perspective with the zombies who seem to have lost theirs and they usually show the interactions between a small group of people, their dynamics into dramatic moments.

The Walking Dead Gif – really you should watch it…

So, yep, you can imagine the expectations I had starting to read this novel. They were high! And I wasn´t disappointed. This book not only have an end-of-the-world type of setting, it also has characters with different pasts, different expectations, different desires, different ways of dealing with what hit them. And the zombies are scary. Plus they´re fast!

Sloane is such a tortured character and her pain rages through the pages, gripping and sad. All the characters are very well developed and I got to really know them. So well, I didn´t want their story to end. Even though, you know there are zombies out there.

In the darkness and horror that Courtney Summers shows us, Rhys stole my heart. I don’t want to reveal too much of the story but let me just say that Rhys makes this book, well,  steamy and sexy and he made my heart melt. The entire book is full of emotions, full of raw, hard-to-cope-with, tough emotions. It’s real and Rhys is real with his flaws, with his strength and with his weaknesses.

Both as a reader and a writer, one thing which amazed me is how Courtney Summers is able to inject a little dark humor and hope into the pages, moments which defuse the tension, just a little, but which are much needed.

Here are some quotes to give you a glimpse of what I´m talking about:

  • “Waiting around to be saved is like waiting to die and I have done more of both than anyone else in the room.” 
  • “This must be what Dorothy felt like, I think. Maybe. If Dorothy was six scared teenagers and Oz was hell.” 
  • “I’m aware of my hand sliding down his lap and then nothingness and then the gentle sensation of his index finger pressing into my open palm and then his hand is at my face, running his fingers across my skin and I’m so awake.”
  • “(…) and I haven’t once imagined a death that was out of my control since this started”

So, tell me, have you read this book? What did you think about it?

And if you didn´t, do you enjoy watching zombie movies?

10 Comments on “YA Book Club: This is not a test by Courtney Summers

  1. Fast zombies are definitely the scariest! And great point about zombie books/movies digging into human emotions. I am Legend still stands as one of the most heartbreaking/terrifying books I’ve ever read – that idea of the end of humanity.

  2. Summers did such an amazing job with each and every one of the characters in this. Can’t wait to read some of her contemporary now!

    And I LOVE The Walking Dead. The season two ending was so intense, I’m so excited for the third season! One of my favorite zombie MOVIES, though, is Zombieland. Talk about using humor to defuse tension…

  3. I love, love, LOVE Zombies!!! And THE WALKING DEAD? 48 Days and counting!!!!
    And I totally agree – it creeped me out that these suckers were FAST. I mean, hello? We all know they’re supposed to be outlandishly slow all fumbly, so WTF? I told Ms. Summers exactly what I thought about that, too. She laughed at me. :)
    Fab review, Elodie! We’ll have to have weekly reviews every Monday, once TWD starts back up!

  4. So, this book has been on my wish list for a while, but those quotes makes me wish I could read it RIGHT NOW. I don’t usually want my birthday to get here fast, but since this is at the top of my birthday list, I want it to be here yesterday!

  5. Great review! I agree that Rhys was great–I love how he pushed Sloan along in accepting her self-worth and pushed her so gently to want to live. But I think my favorite character was Cary. Man, the emotions regarding the whole parents/Harrison issue were so well done, and I just felt for the guy.

  6. You know, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this because zombies aren’t really my thing–but the writing sounds so beautiful from the quotes you included that I might have to pick it up ASAP!

Comments put a smile on my face :-)

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