Monday, August 20, 2012

This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: 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? - Goodreads.com

I love Courtney Summers.  She just has this awesome way of getting you into the heads of her characters and wringing the last drop of emotion from both you and the character.  This is normally a really great thing from her books, but in this case, being inside Sloane's head wasn't a pretty place to be.  This is someone who wants to die and dwells on it in her thoughts almost non-stop.

There were times when Sloane's death fixation really got to me.  Part of the problem was that I felt that her reasons were just a little too shaky to decide that there's no other option than suicide.  Granted, she's had a bad life, her father was an abusive one and the only other person she could trust betrayed her trust.  But nothing was stopping this girl from breaking out and helping to change her own circumstances.  Suicide wasn't the only option... so it just felt like her reasons weren't quite strong enough for such an enormously fixed reaction.  After a while, she became a little whiny to me, and I had trouble accepting some of her choices, especially when they put other people in danger.

The dynamic between these six kids was one of the most important and strong parts to the story.  Every character has something unique to give to the story, especially Cory and Rhys.  These two were both interesting and so well-drawn that you can imagine yourself knowing them.

The story itself was so sad, so strange and intriguing, with such suspense.  The horror factor was controlled, without too many moments that dwelled on the blood and gore of what's taking place.  It seemed an appropriate amount of attention was placed on it, although we still know nothing at all about how things became the way they are.

One character makes an extraordinary sacrifice in this story, and it just made me love him so much.  And Sloane's developing relationship with Rhys helped to pull her out of the funk she was.  These characters are holding each other up, and this aspect of the story was so gratifying to watch.

As ever, Courtney's writing style was amazing.  It was poetic, deep and emotional.  It made you think, and it made you feel the characters' emotions so vividly.  Her greatest strength is her writing voice, and it was definitely perfect in this story, once again.  Despite the issues I mentioned earlier, I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in this new series.  It sucked me in perfectly and had me emotionally invested to where I have to find out what happens next!


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