Description (from Goodreads):
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.
When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
I generally find the thought of the zombie apocalypse to be terrifying. The idea that for almost every person who dies, a zombie is born, until you can no longer escape the zombie hoard is nearly too much to conceive. I guess this fear comes largely from my desire to keep living, in my own conscious state, rather than to become part of the animated undead, hungry for brains. However, the main character of This is Not a Test, Sloane, has no such qualms. Sloane is already dead inside. She planned her suicide, wrote a note, and no longer wanted any part of life when the zombies happened. For her it was a relief. But then a funny thing occurred: Sloane can’t seem to die. There’s always somebody there urging her on, protecting her, keeping her safe, when the one thing she wants is to let herself go to suicide by zombie.
Zombie fans be warned: there are not a lot of zombies in this book. Sure, they make a grizzly appearance here and there, but for the most part the zombies are a threat that lurks in the background, like a white noise of impending doom. The story largely takes place in a high school gym, where Sloane is trapped with five classmates. To them, she appears fearless. Sloane just desires to find a way out without compromising the others.
This is Not a Test is fairly intense as far as Sloane’s life and inner psyche is concerned, and not so much with the zombies. Sloane’s dad is abusive and her sister, the only person who could protect her, ran out on her. Sloane contemplates suicide throughout the book because her dad seems to have broken her so completely that even the threat of zombies is better than the thought of living with him again.
Overall, I enjoyed reading This is Not a Test, although I could have done with a little bit more zombie mayhem. Still, the point of view of a suicidal protagonist gives a fairly fresh zombie apocalypse experience, and deals with larger issues through genre fiction, which is the mark of a good zombie book.