Monday, September 8, 2014

This Is Not a Test by by Courtney Summers

Monday, September 8, 2014
This Is Not a TestThis Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Zombies, Fantasy, Horror
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ACTUAL RATINGS: 3-3.5 STARS

I could've given this book a 4 or 4.5-star rating. It has one of the most terrifying and intense opening chapters I can ever recall. I wasn't supposed to read the first 5 chapters inside a movie house but I did (no kidding). The zombie attack was so palpably real, I was instantly hooked right from the beginning!

Unfortunately as I read on, the story gradually lost its appeal.

"The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens."

I understand the reason as to why the story revolved around the characters holding out inside the school. However, I couldn't pretend it didn't bore me. The characters basically just walked around the school or fought with each other - which was justifiable given their situation - except that's all they did for almost 80% of the book.

I asked myself "Am I only looking for more zombie action? Would I like it better if it's a contemporary novel?" So I tried looking at it differently. It's a very emotional and sad story of a girl confined in her miserable past. After the adrenaline-rushing and terrifying zombie attacks, the author started getting in deep with the characters' emotions and inner battles. Now, do I like it better? The answer is yes - however, it still bored me a little not because it's awful and dull but because the plot felt stagnant. Just like the quote from the book, "nothing happens."

I really liked the way the author writes. I also appreciate how she managed to make her characters distinctive and memorable despite their huge number (writing 6 main characters is no joke).

The ending didn't provide a tidy conclusion and nothing was resolved in a traditional manner but surprisingly, I think it's a fitting way to end this novel.

I only feel kind of sad because it started off sooo good but overall, I still think it's a brilliant novel about zombies, depression, survival, and friendship. :)



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