Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"This Is Not a Test" by Courtney Summers

323 pages

The world is ending, but for Sloane Price, life has been over for a while. After her beloved sister left her alone with their abusive father, life wasn't exactly rosy. So when the dead start walking and civilization falls apart, Sloane accepts it as she has accepted all of her problems and waits for the dead to break through the barriers to reach her and the five other students holed up in what used to be their high school. Unlike Sloane, the other students actually want to live, and the only question is how far they will go to stay breathing. Before long, things start falling apart inside the school as much as outside and Sloane is forced to re-examine her decision to give up and let the others fend for themselves. 

I like zombie books and apocalyptic fiction, as you've probably noticed if you've known me for very long, and this is one of the best that I've read recently. Yes, it's sort of predictable. When you've got some kids together in one building and some zombies outside, it's no shocker when things start going a little "Lord of the Flies." Still, it feels different than other stories with similar plots, more thoughtful and literary. I like the writing style--I'm not sure how to describe it other than to say that Summers definitely knows how to create a melancholy atmosphere and it fits the story perfectly. There's plenty of action, too, to move the story along. I feel like a lot of teen authors feel like they have to have a happy (or at least somewhat happy) ending and I like that Summers didn't do that here because it wouldn't have fit. I think it has a satisfying conclusion--it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but there's closure. Definitely a must-read for those who like end-of-the-world stories.

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