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When Jade Eby Isn't Writing...

I write. A lot. But when I'm not writing...you can find me with my nose in a book. Or a Kindle.

This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers Originally posted at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

I have been impatiently waiting to read this book FOREVER. Seriously. I think this has been the only ARC book that I wasn't able to get my hands on and was legit pissed about it. That's how much I wanted to read it. Well I had it pre-ordered and the minute it was downloaded, it was mine. ALLLLLL MINE!!! I will admit....this is my first Courtney Summers book but I did that for a reason too. I was nervous. I was scared that I would read one of her other books and not be in love with her or her writing and that it would taint my reading of this novel. And obviously I'm not sure if that would still be case since I just finished this one first, but I do know that Courtney Summers is now at the top of my favorite authors list. Damn, that girl can write.

The Good: I'm really trying to write a coherent, non-rambling review but it's extremely difficult right now. I'm in between fan-girling out and just hurling this book at people and screaming at them to read it. First of all, the premise was bomb. I was kind of nervous like...how in the world is she going to write a novel about 5 teens stuck in a school during the zombie apocalypse? She did it though and she did well.
I was totally not prepared for the type of writing that was involved in this novel, so at first, I didn't quite understand what was going on. Then I reread and suddenly I realized how brilliant Courtney Summers is. I'm a HUGE fan of the short, staccato sentences with repetition and stream of consciousness type writing. Loved it. It blew my mind how much her writing just...stuck with me. The thing is...even though Sloane (absolutely LOVE that name btw) distanced herself, I still felt very much in tune with her. In fact, the writing and characterization of all the characters were so good that I felt everything they did. The tension, fear, anger and sadness seeped out of the characters and God, I felt it. Felt it so hard it hurt sometimes. When Sloane talked about "letting go," I believed her. I felt it. I've been there and it physically hurt my heart because the emotion was so intense. The thing about this book is that it's really *not* a zombie book, it's a book about a lot of things that just so happens to have zombies in it. Honestly, it was the perfect mixture of zombies and everything else. The way the zombies are introduced...it's almost like it could happen in real life... there was an ambiguity to how the zombie's came to be and I like that. It really allows the reader to use their imagination...it can be as wild or as mild as one wants and it doesn't matter because Summers dropped us at the perfect spot in the novel. That's another thing... I loved that there actually wasn't a build up to the main action. We cut right to the chase...literally. It made for a very quick and exciting read because everything was just hitting fast. There was no zombie/human love in this novel...thank goodness. Not that I don't appreciate a little zombie loving every now and again, this was just NOT the type of novel to do it and I'm so glad it didn't go there. But the slight romance in the novel was perfect. It was exactly what one would expect to find during the type of situation the kids are going through. I have this image of Rhys and I just smile thinking about how even during this terrible event, he always has a soft spot for Sloane. I thought even the minor characters were really developed well although Trace and Grace got on my nerves. I think they're supposed to though. Lastly, the ending was gut wrenching. It's one of those VERY few times, I want a closure type ending instead of an ambiguous ending. I don't know if there will be a sequel or not but my God, this book was amazing.

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Seriously. But okay, I know it's not going to be for everyone so I would HIGHLY recommend this novel for YA lovers, zombie and apocalyptic novel lovers and anyone who loves Courtney Summers. I give this book an A+. Read this book. Just do it!