Monday, December 30, 2013

This Is Not a Test (Pages 158 - the end): Discussion Post

Hey, all!

Here is the third and final discussion post for THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers for the Read-Along! Read on and tell me your thoughts on the novel!

You still have a couple more hours left to enter to win a set of Courtney Summers books! Good luck!

***WARNING: Spoilers for THIS IS NOT A TEST***

Since this is the final discussion post of the Read-Along (*tear*), I decided to do this a bit differently. Normally, I go through the section and talk about the major plot points and ask you guys questions. I'll do a bit of that, but I kind of wanted to talk about why I love this book.

When I was interviewed for my job at Chapters, I was asked what my favourite book was. This Is Not a Test, I told them. I talked about the writing. The characters. How it was more than a 'zombie book'. I think I could've gone on for hours if they asked me too. I still could. There are just so many things that are amazing about this book. It's about the end of the world. It's about how your past grips you and doesn't let go. It's about kids growing up while the world is falling down. It's about learning to find something to live for.

Something that makes the book brilliant is Courtney's writing itself. The way her words seep into your head. The way they make you jump at every little sound, or clutch the book with fear. The words become so vivid that it's difficult to separate yourself from them. In Harrison's death scene, I felt physically ill. I could picture his ragged face so clearly. Could feel Cary's agony from his decision. I felt worn out, ripped apart and, in the end, put back together again. In the final scene, Sloane is back where she started and she says one of the most striking lines of the whole book is in this seen. "She won't recognize me when she sees me. I look like someone who has survived" It's startling. It's gut-wrenchig. But it's oddly hopeful. Because she did survive. Not just the apocalypse but the demons in her previous life.

Every character in this book is so realistic. So believable. They piss you off and break your heart and make you want to live for them. Grace with her kind heart and her secrets. Harrison with his fear and, in the end, his bravery. Cary with his self-hatred and strength. Rhys with his terrible burden and his fierce will to live. And Sloane. Sloane with her hopelessness, and her courage, and her fight, and her broken soul. I talked about my struggle with depression last month, but when I wrote my original review of This Is Not a Test, I wasn't ready to talk about it. I never mentioned why I loved Sloane so much, not really. I loved her for so many reasons but one of them being I could identify with her hopelessness. I had been there before. I could remember waking up everyday and wondering what was the point in moving. In living at all. It broke my heart reading about Sloane because I just wanted her to realize that she was more than what other people broke her down to be. And in the end when she finally decided to live, I felt so incredibly happy for her. She went through hell and back but she made it. This was a novel about surviving a zombie apocalypse but, it was also a novel about a young woman moving forward. And about her learning that she is something to live for.

I feel like I could talk about this book forever but really it boils down to one thing: this book is amazing. It's thoughtful and broken and everything I want in a novel. It made me think about what being alive means. I want to give this book to everyone I met because I think it's so important. There's something in this book for everyone. I hope you found your something in this book. I really did.

So, I'm opening the floor to you guys. Did you read This Is Not a Test? What did you think about? Did you find your something to hold on to?

Tomorrow, I say farewell to the Courtney Summers Read-Along.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

1 comment:

  1. "It's about the end of the world. It's about how your past grips you and doesn't let go. It's about kids growing up while the world is falling down. It's about learning to find something to live for. " --> this is exactly why I love this book so much. And, like you, I found Sloane relatable and I was made to care enough about her to want her to find some reason to see everything through.


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