The world is ending, filling with infected people becoming zombies and six teenagers have managed to survive and take shelter in the local high school. Tension and voices run high as the pounding on the doors from the dead outside get to everyone. Sloane, a girl who didn’t have a great family life, is ready to use this dire situation to just end her misery. Little does she know, the circumstances that they face on the inside are just as treacherous as the danger that awaits them outside.
While reading This Is Not a Test, I kept thinking of how amazing this would be as a play or movie. Although it’s set amidst a zombie apocalypse, the majority of the story is set inside the high school. It’s almost like the zombies are a subplot, and the main focus is a character-driven tale of six very-different personalities trying to survive. I’d like to equate it to a similar feel to The Breakfast Club. It’s a group of kids, personalities clashing and stuck in a school yet having a unified front against the bigger baddie.
The narrative style is really interesting, and I enjoy the hints of a back story before the full history is revealed. All throughout the novel, Summers alludes to Sloane’s home life and you can speculate and figure what it was, but she doesn’t come right out and explain till much later. I love that. Even the characters themselves, the reader is often kept guessing as to their motivations and intentions.
Jumping right into the action, This Is Not a Test is a riveting and compelling read. Your heart goes out to the six teenagers in different ways, all struggling with different inner torments.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5 stars)
This Is Not a Test is currently available in stores.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Keep reading for an interview with the author, Courtney Summers!
As part of the blog tour, I had the fantastic opportunity to interview the Canadian author of This Is Not a Test!
1. A fellow Ontarian! How do you find the differences (if any) between the Canadian and American market for your books?
Yay, Ontarians! 🙂 I haven’t really noticed too much of a difference between the Canadian and American market for my books, to be honest. The only time I’ve been told to alter my work with regards to that, however, was when I had to Americanize my spelling.
2. Your previous books were set among the high school years. This Is Not a Test is as well, but with a zombie twist. What inspired you to diverge out to this paranormal route?
Everyone who knows me knows I’ve always loved zombies–I’ve been devouring zombie movies since I was around 12 or 13–so writing a zombie novel was something that was always going to happen, it was just a matter of when. All of my contemporary books are very character driven and I find that so are the kind of zombie stories I tend to like so it was within my comfort zone. Being able to explore the human condition in that kind of intense situation really appealed to me.
3. Which character from your books do you see yourself in most?
All of my characters have certain qualities I relate to but at this point there’s not one I’m most like more than the others. Well, wait–maybe Harrison in THIS IS NOT A TEST. He cries a lot. I can see myself crying a lot during the zombie apocalypse. I’d like to think I’d be brave, but I’d probably be sobbing in terror 24/7.
4. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve encountered as a published author?
It was the first time I got a letter from a reader. Nothing truly prepares you for people reading and responding to your work. It so overwhelming! But good. I still get a tiny little shock every time I hear from someone who has read my books, whether they like them or not.
Thank you so much Courtney!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Michele!