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?
I’m completely freaked out my zombies in realistic settings – because I seriously believe that the zombie apocalypse will happen someday and I am so, so screwed – but I couldn’t pass up a book by Summers. Honestly, I’ve become dependent on the fact that she releases a new novel every year, and I couldn’t not read This Is Not a Test just because zombies and gore make me a bit nauseous. And, though I can’t say that any of Summers’ novels are particularly happy, I find them oddly comforting. These are the novels that people refer to when they say reading makes them feel understood and less alone.
The best thing about This Is Not a Test is that yes, it’s a zombie book, but it is so much more than that. For me, it was everything I loved about Summers’ past novels, including the intense emotion, flawed characters, and desperate situations PLUS zombies. I mean, Summers’ novels always crackle with intensity, so much so that I didn’t believe she could turn it any higher, but she definitely proved me wrong.
I’ve yet to stop myself from falling in love with all of characters in Summers’ books. It’s a bit ridiculous really. I’ve even gone so far as to name pets after them. (Okay, one pet. My cat, Milo, is named after a character from Fall for Anything.) Like Summers’ past novels, the characters in This Is Not a Test each have a distinct personality. I always feel that I truly understand what motivates each character’s actions and emotions, whether they’re the main character or small, seemingly unimportant character.
I can’t stress enough how much I adore each and every novel Summers’ has written and, though This Is Not a Test is in some ways a departure from her previous novels, it is, at it’s core, what readers have come to expect from her. Plus zombies. And while this book may sound horribly bleak, I’ve come to find that Summers’ always leaves her characters, and her readers, with a shimmering ray of hope. Even during the zombie apocalypse.