Here is the second discussion post for THIS IS NOT A TEST for the Courtney Summers Read-Along! I'm going to be having a big double final discussion post, hopefully going up tomorrow. Monday will be the wrap-up post and that's it! We're in the home stretch all!
If you haven't already, be sure to ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY for a set of Courtney Summers books!
***WARNING: Spoilers for pages 1 - 157 of THIS IS NOT A TEST****
Oh boy, guys. This section was a crazy one. It starts off with Trace announcing that his father is still alive and outside the school. It seems to good to be true, but with such little hope in their world, you can tell Trace is desperate to believe it. Sloane volunteers to go out and investigate, which gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. I didn't really think she would die (there are another 200 plus pages to go! Although I wouldn't put it past Courtney to have her turn into a zombie and have zombie Sloane narrate the rest of the book) but I was really worried about the outcome. Because she was planning to die. This was her opportunity to die with honor. Until dear Rhys steps in, throwing a major wrench into that plan. And now the stakes are even higher. As I was reading this, I was so completely engrossed. The eerie silence outside, the panic when the gate clangs, and the apprehension when approaching the man had me completely on edge. Were you guys as nervous as I was?
It's not Mr. Casper. Sloane tries to get Rhys to go back so she can escape. And then, all hell breaks lose. This is one of the only instances of zombies in the book and it is effing scary. It's frantic, and horrid and made worse by the fact that Sloane gives up. In these kind of situations, we're used to the heroine scrambling for escape. Fighting tooth and nail to live. But Sloane fights to save Rhys, and gives up on herself. When the zombie is about to kill her she says "This is it. Finally." Even in the face of a horrific death, she still longs for an end. Thankfully, Rhys is there to prevent that. And to get her to safety, even if she doesn't seem to want it. What did you guys think about Sloane's reaction?
Another big thing in this scene is Sloane decision to sacrifice not-Mr. Casper for the sake of Rhys life. It's a split-second decision, but one with horrible consequences. And a decision that was made before, by a different person. A drunken night leads to a confession from Cary that he did know the alley was swarmed but he let them go in anyways. That it was supposed to be Harrison who died. Reading this scene, you can see how much agony this decision cost him. He may have saved the lives of five other people, but two people died in the process. It's tragic. It's a tough, heart-breaking scene to read. But I think it's so good. Because it's realistic. I mean, there hasn't been a zombie apocalypse so it's hard to say what's "realistic" or not, but I think this scene is. These kids are facing life and death choices everyday, and there really is no right way to choose. And each choice eats away at them. I like that Courtney Summers doesn't shy away from such a gut-wrenching scene. Although I love Cary, so seeing him so upset was pretty hard. What did you guys think?
Last thing I'm going to touch on is the creepy "is there a ghost/Sloane's dad" in the school thing. At the beginning, it seems like maybe Sloane is just imagining things after her near-death experience. But, it soon becomes obvious she's not. Someone is in the school. And that someone turns out to be Mr. Baxter, their English teacher. He's not doing so well, and suspicions start to fly about him. He doesn't remember how he got in, and this lack of memory could cost all of them their lives. Rhys and Cary think he's lying, and Sloane doesn't know what to believe. They got to find where he got in though, and fast. Do you guys think Mr. Baxter is lying? Or are these characters starting to let paranoia get the better of them?
Either way, there's a lot of book left and a LOT more craziness to happen. Get ready to have your heart ripped to shreds, lovely read-alongers.
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)