Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Is Not a Test

Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

 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 am in the minority when it comes to my feelings about this book. There was so much hype that I jumped at the chance to review it. Ready to dive in to another apocalyptic world where zombies runeth over. Maybe I just latched on to the fact that there was supposed to be zombies in the story. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to the description of this book. But I was let down. 

There are zombies, and they are terrifying for sure. But they were not really a focal point of the story, in fact, the zombies scenes are few and far between. 

90% of the story is located inside the school. With the strange mishmash of students just trying to survive. And while the situation itself would be intense, I felt like the intensity wasn't played up enough. While the story did pull me along, while I was intrigued and wanted to know how it all worked out... when I turned that last page I felt... disappointed. 

I disliked the characters. All of them. Maybe that's how the readers are meant to feel. I mean, you can't always take a group of people and have at least one likeable one. Sometimes they all are jerks... But when reading a book I have a hard time connecting with the story when I want to smack ALL the characters upside the head. Sloane? I wanted to smack her constantly! That, and give her some happy pills. 
Keep in mind that I am not really a fan of contemporary stories, or just basic thrillers. With the lack of zombie action in this story.. that's how it really felt to me. A near future thriller with hints of horror. And it just wasn't my style. 

I'm sure that this story will resonate with many readers. Favorites for some and one that will be recommended all over. But I personally did not love it. The story intrigued me. Kept me moving forward. But overall did not win me over. 

I suggest browsing more reviews. Check out the ones by other reviewers and friends who's opinion you trust ! My opinion is just one of many :) And please don't hold it against me that if it turns out to be a story you love! 

Rating 2.5/5 


  1. Personally, I find the image disturbing. I get it. It has death and violence. But the trend for 'dead girls' on YA covers is bizarre to me. Isn't there a better way to convey a grusome thriller? I can't recall any Stephen King novel with a dead girl on the front.

    Consider TEN by Gretchen McNeil. An isolated island...at night...a killer on the loose. I love that cover! Very effective.

    Sorry, for the rant. Good thoughtful review.


  2. I haven't had the chance to read this yet. You're the first I've seen that didn't really enjoy it, which makes me feel somewhat better...when a book gets a bunch of rave reviews it makes me suspicious about it.
    You're also the first person that's mentioned the lack of zombies, so that kind of has me changing my mind a bit as well.
    Great review :)

  3. Sorry to hear you didn't like it. At least you gave reasonable explanations as to why you didn't like it. I hate it when I feel as if I cannot connect with the characters in one form or another.

    I'll probably pick it up sometime because I think a lot of people have read this book, but it's not one of my top TBR.

    In all, great review! And not much zombie action?? Come on! Where is the thrill in that?? ;)

  4. Even from the description, before reading your review, I was coming to the same conclusions as you. A whiny depressed girl who wants to die in the middle of a zombie attack? How did she survive this long... and what is supposed to make me interested in reading about her if she's not interested in BEING her? A new concept for sure, but one perhaps left alone. Also, the lack of focus on zombies when it's clearly part of the setting... meh. There are better ways to ponder existentialism than creating an apocalypse just so it can be ignored.
    PS I'm glad to see a somewhat negative review from you!

  5. Such a bummer to read this didn't work for you, I loved the characters and saw them as a zombie Apocalypse "Breakfast club". If you were looking for a lot of zombies..i can see where you would walk away disappointed. Great review and i hope your next read makes up for it :)

  6. I admit I enjoyed this novel a bit more than you did. Gave it around 4 stars, but I totally agree with you about disliking all the characters! This novel had something off with its characters that I couldn't place. But I'm a huge fan of survival books and was actually happy there wasn't much zombies (i don't like them >_< )

    great review!

    oh I recommend you check out Monument 14? I think you'll like it more than this!


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