Title - This Is Not A Test.
Author - Courtney Summers.
Publisher - St. Martins Press.
Rating - Five Stars.
Theme Song - I have two songs for this book that I began associating together almost immediately. The first song is "Make Me Wanna' Die" by The Pretty Reckless. It reminds me of the very beginning with Sloane and her father, plus all of Sloane's internal battles. The next song is "45" by Shinedown, this song will make more sense when you read the book, but let's just say considering the characters were both in front and behind the gun at one point, it fits.
Synopsis - 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, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to 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?
This book is extremely, extremely well written.
I have trouble gathering the correct words to explain the emotions in this book because it's all so intense, it's literally life or death throughout the entire book and nothing is black and white, everything exists in this grey area that each character creates. Each of them have a past and each of them go through a roller coaster of emotions, but I can honestly say that happiness was never an emotion represented in this book through any of the characters.
Sloane is a very damaged and reckless girl. Her safe haven was with her sister, but her sister up and left her without warning. Sloane lives alone with her abusive father. She's literally walking such a thin line with her own life that she prepared a suicide note before the entire world exploded. Once everything spirals out of control, Sloane realizes she has two choices to fight, or to die. Her original instinct was to fight, the person deep within her knows that she doesn't want to give up and from then on her will to live becomes stronger.
“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”
I don't want to touch on every character because I feel like that'd give away far too much. They're each a very intricate part of the story. When they're hiding out in the high school, they all go through periods of liking one another, hating one another, and just flat out wanting to throw one another out into the apocalyptic world around them. I literally had no idea what was going to happen next or how things could possibly get worse, but I definitely underestimated that factor. Each character is different and will allow you to see the situation through their eyes all the while knowing how Sloane feels, how Sloane reacts and what Sloane wants. I don't think Sloane ever realized her own strength throughout the book, it's displayed to us, but in her mind, I don't think she thought of herself as "strong" going through what she did, but she was.
The ending made me want to throw the book, which I would have if I hadn't been reading it on my Kindle! The ending is absolutely PHENOMENAL, but I was so frustrated. In my head, I was like oh yeah, there's definitely going to be a sequel coming out, then I look online and there's no plans for one. I'm hanging on by a thread here, emotionally attached to these fictional characters and wondering how the rest of their journey turns out, yet I'm left the concoct all these different scenarios in my own mind. Courtney Summers is brilliant. If she ever does decide to write a sequel, I will be so thrilled and probably will not stop talking about exactly how thrilled I am. If you've read this book, you know EXACTLY what I mean and once you read this book, you will too. I want to petition this or something, GO TELL COURTNEY HOW ALL HER FANS WANT A SEQUEL... AND TO PLEASE BE INSPIRED TO WRITE ONE!!
-- Her Twitter :)
Oh, did I mention how absolutely freaky these "zombie" characters are, they're truly disgusting and frightening. It's good stuff, kids.