Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

A group of teenagers gather at the local high school and become unlikely allies. But this is not The Breakfast Club by John Hughes; this is This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Instead of dealing with principals and janitors, they are dealing with zombies.

This book begins with a girl named Sloane who, feeling abandoned and unimportant, wants to die. I wanted her to live, and to realize that her life was important. Though not all of my questions about Sloane's journey were answered, I was invested in her story, and the other teens who have found shelter in their old school: Grace Casper and her twin brother, Trace; Cary, who knew Sloane's sister, Lily; Rhys, a senior who is prepared to protect Sloane; and Harrison, a freshman who is scared out of his wits. If they want to live, they'll have to work together, barricading themselves inside the school and rationing the food and water they've found.

I could talk about the zombie mythology this book presents - how they were made and how to they can (or can't) be defeated - but that's not the primary focus of this story. The focus is Sloane, and how she's survived up to this point, and not just from the zombies. Though she thinks of herself as fairly insignificant and nearly worthless, the fact that she's still standing on her own two feet is impressive, considering what she's endured: her mother died, her father abused her, and her sister left her behind - and all that was before the zombie apocalypse.

My favorite passage from the book shares Sloane's thoughts as she considers her sister, Lily, who also suffered at the hands of their father. Lily, being the elder sister, was supposed to wait for Sloane to get old enough so they could leave that horrible house together. But Lily didn't wait. She left Sloane behind. The passage reads as follows:

I wonder if she hears him where she is now, if she hears his voice and his footsteps in her dreams. I wonder if she hears him when she's awake or if she stopped hearing him as soon as she left, if everything got more okay the more distance she put between us. Or maybe the voice and the footsteps she hears are mine. I hope they are. I hope I'm the ghost that belongs to her.

- and that is why the ghost haunts me more that the zombies.

If you're on a zombie book kick, check out Soulless by Christopher Golden. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman
Interview: Courtney Summers
Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Review: Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
What Makes Courtney Summers Smile
Tags: books, reviews

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