Review + Excerpt: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

by 9:11 AM 6 comments
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?
Overall Thoughts:
Survival stories are always the most exhilarating to read, and this was certainly no exception! My body was literally shaking with anticipation while reading this book!

This is Not a Test is about a group of six teenagers who are violently uprooted from their homes and seek refuge in their high school when a zombie apocalypse takes over. Exciting, huh? This book centers around a girl named Sloane Price who has become like an empty shell ever since her older sister, Lily Price, ran away six months prior.

The group consists of: Rhys Moreno, the most level-headed and balanced guy of the bunch; Cary Chen, the best survivor with a fiery persona; Grace & Trace Casper, twins who are like yin and yang in the way that they balance each other out; Harrison, a meek little freshman boy; and of course Sloane, the seemingly strong girl who always seems to be in control of her emotions.

We follow this unfortunate band as they struggle to survive in a deadly world that resists their existence. With the ever-decaying zombies knocking against the barricades, and their ever-present fear of being truly yet desperately alone, can they survive this zombie apocalypse? Much less, venture out of the safe remains of their beloved school to find some help?

What I liked about this book:
Courtney Summers is a genius! I love how she takes a seemingly used idea (i.e. zombie apocalypse), and completely twists it to transform it into one of the most chilly and suspenseful book I've read in a while!

The weird thing is: you don't even see much zombies in this book. They are not the main focus, like I thought they'd be, but I was still scared! The author used the character's paranoia and utter fear to frighten the readers... which is brilliant!

What I disliked about this book:
I really loved the ending don't get me wrong but the last paragraph left me feeling slightly confused. I felt like the author wrote it to mean something profound and big but I couldn't for the life of me understand what it meant.

I read this book in half a day not by choice, but because it wouldn't let me go until and unless I finished it!        



I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared. I opened my eyes and I felt it go.

I sit on the edge of the bathtub and run the fingernail of my thumb up the inside of my wrist. I trace a vein until it pitchforks out and disappears under the fleshiest part of my palm. Lily couldn’t sleep; a few weeks before she left, she had all these pills to help her do that. I didn’t know why at the time but now I think her guilt was probably keeping her up at night. When I searched her bedroom earlier, I couldn’t find them, which is too bad. I was counting on it. Her. I should know better. It just seemed like maybe the stars would align for this–that the day I decided to die, everything would go right.

    But they didn’t and now I’m not sure what I’ll do.

Page: 1

Carmen Shaw


Carmen N. Shaw is currently a biology major at Georgia State University. She is the owner and developer of the book blog, Understanding Carmen's Story.


  1. Oh gosh, I'm so glad I'm not alone in the ending! I read over that paragraph so many times and even asked people if they understood what it meant. :D
    But still, it was an amaizng book and it's probably one of my favorite 2012 reads!
    Great review:)

  2. I felt the ending was hopeful. In the beginning of the book you see Sloane's note to her sister. "Lily, I woke this morning and the last piece of my heart dissapeared." Then, at the end, when Sloane's looks at the note it's all smudged and the only words you can make out are "Lily, I woke up". I took it to mean Sloane snapped out of it. That she finally wants to survive. That's what I took it to mean anyway.

    Great review! There really was just something so captivating about this book that it wouldn't let you go once you started reading!

  3. Awesome review. Thanks for breaking down the characters a bit...I've read a lot of reviews of this once (I am just dying to get a copy of it) and not many people have done that, so it was a nice addition. Sounds like an intense read. Gah! I need it now.


  4. Great review! I loved this book, too. Courtney Summers just has that way of writing something seemingly overused, but turning it into something more. :)

    The Book Galaxy

  5. I agree with you -- the ending was kind of ambiguous and I'm not sure how to interpret it.

  6. Nice review. I can't wait to read this book :D As for the "White Lines " giveaway. It is working now. Thanks for letting us know :D

    -Dannielle /TheUnseelieNerd

    Giveaway link:


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