May 19, 2013

This is Not a Test

This is Not a Test, by Courtney Summers, is a zombie apocalypse novel.  I'm not really into the whole walking dead frenzy that everyone seems to be in these days, but I decided to give the novel a try so I could have one under my belt in case any teen ever came looking for a new one.

Like all zombie stories, survival is key in this novel.  Zombies have overtaken the town and six teenagers remain, having taken shelter in their high school.  They board the doors, listen for help messages on the radio,  and try not to go crazy while playing the waiting game. But tensions are too high because not only are they in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but they also have hormones. Crazy teen hormones.  Seriously, sometimes the teens' emotions change about 3 times in one page.

But they all have reasons for their emotional outbursts, or lack thereof. Sloane, the narrator, is a victim of severe domestic abuse and abandonment, and these experiences weigh her down in the group's survival efforts. Grace and Trace witnessed their parents get overcome by zombies and Chris, another teen survivor, is to blame for their downfall.  The novel moves from whether or not they can survive the physical demons to whether or not they can defeat their inner demons (how very Buffy - I mean really, they're trapped inside a high school and fighting demons).

The novel was...okay.  I think teens would really enjoy it.  There's action, lots of swearing, a little sex, drinking and survival of the fittest.  But the amount of blame in this book really weighed the book down for me and while relevant, started to become redundant around the 6th time Trace lashed out at Chris for leading his parents to their deaths.

This is Not a Test may or may not become a TV movie, but it probably depends on how we as a nation feel about zombies after World War Z comes out.

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