Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 19th, 2012
Buy It From Amazon | Goodreads
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.I approached This is Not a Test as I would any other zombie novel: expecting only blood, guts, and horror. I was gravely mistaken... While This is Not a Test does contain the elements mentioned above, there is significantly more to this story. It is emotional, humbling, thought provoking, and original. In truth, it is not the plot that makes this book shine, it's the characters, namely Sloane.
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?
Sloane didn't want to live. She was tired, damaged, and looking for a way out. She was weak and not particularly likeable. Still, I didn't want to see her die. As my dislike for her character grew, I also found that in the process I started rooting for her. I just wanted her to find some peace. Happiness maybe? Thankfully Rhys was there to give her a glimpse of what could be. Rhys' character really impressed me. He maintained a level-head throughout all the madness. Trace on the other hand clashed with Rhys on everything and fed off of the mayhem. I don't think Trace was a bad person, just very hurt. In a way each of the characters in this story was damaged.
As far as setting goes, it didn't really change all that much through the story. Very little of this book occurs outside the school walls. Boring? Not one bit. The tension between the characters alone would have been enough to keep me engaged and reading.
While This is Not a Test makes for a perfect, open-ended standalone novel, I would absolutely love to see a sequel. Ok, scratch that.... I'm DYING for a sequel! If you don't mind a little less gore and a little more emotion in your zombie books, this is definitely for you.