This is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers
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?
Gritty and real, this zombie apocalypse survival story gripped me from start to finish. Definitely for high school readers, as opposed to middle schoolers, there's a lot of very real mature things happening as these teens try to survive. As a reader that prefers realism to a perfect happy ending, I very much enjoyed the fact that Sloane's story does not shy away from the horrors of a zombie "infestation." It would not have felt as authentic to me if Sloane suddenly became a perky rah-rah kind of girl and everyone survived.
Happy ending hunters may not like what they find here...but, readers looking for a more true-to-(fictional)life experience will appreciate this compelling tale.