Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review of This Is Not a Test

This is the new blockbuster hit in YA-- zombie style. I may be in the minority in questioning the author's choice for a suicidal protagonist in a post-apocalyptic world... but does anyone else see a problem with this?
This Is Not a Test

4/5 Stars, Dark and brooding with a touch of the Lord of the Flies
This book has been touted as one of the big YA blockbusters of the summer, so I have been waiting eagerly for it to come out.

Good zombie YA fiction is hard to come by. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is an attempt to rectify that fact. We are introduced to Sloane, the protagonist, who has been beaten repeatedly by her father and is completely emotionally dependent on her sister Lily, who has just run away and has left Sloane behind. Sloane is about to commit suicide when the infection takes hold of the rest of the town, converting everyone into zombies, except a select few teenagers who have holed up in their high school. What follows is a combination of a horror movie and Lord of the Flies. The teens have to make hard decisions and try to stay alive.

There are a lot of wonderful things about this book. The tone is dark and depressing, and it should be. I'm still thinking about what happened in the book. There are strong supporting characters and Summers is not afraid to kill off characters. How the future unfolds is not out of the realm of possibility in a zombie apocalypse. And how things deteriorate inside of the school is also very believable.

I wonder at the decision to make Sloane the protagonist. It's an interesting choice, because during the whole book she is trying to find ways to commit suicide, and yet, she still remains alive even though many other people succumb to the virus. She seems to drift through the book like a ghost. I try to imagine if another character had been the main one-- the idea that there is a suicidal person surviving in an end of world situation is interesting, but one that doesn't maintain interest throughout a whole novel. The twist at the end is the likely scenario and not surprising, but the end is chilling and still stays with me.

Overall, a dark, brooding, and suspenseful book and entertaining to read, but a different choice of protagonist may have been a better decision.

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