YA Book Club: Zombies FTW!


{YA Book Club is the brainchild of writer/blogger Tracey Neithercott.
For guidelines and additional info, click the image above.}

August’s YA Book Club selection is: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, which dropped June 19, 2012 from St. Martin’s Griffin…

This Is Not a Test

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?

{Back in May, I reviewed this book over at YA Confidential. I’m reposting below because, upon reading my initial thoughts, I’ve realized that my opinions regarding This is Not a Test and Courtney Summers’ writing in general haven’t changed a bit. So, here ya go…}

I don’t really consider myself a zombie girl, but I ADORED this book.

Much like Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta, and Lauren Oliver, Courtney Summers can be counted on to provide a captivating story. This Is Not a Test is full of twists and turns, flawed-but-awesome characters, and a teen voice that rang almost alarmingly authentic. While This Is Not a Test is not regular Courtney Summers contemporary fare, it is just as absorbing, just as unputdownable, as any of her other novels. Possibly more so.

This Is Not a Test begins with the world as we know it coming to an end. A zombie apocalypse is a brilliant backdrop against which to observe human—specifically teen—behavior. People’s true colors shine vividly when resources are limited and their lives are at risk. Cortege High School becomes the perfect little microcosm to study shifting motivations, constantly changing loyalties, and breaking points of the teens hunkered down inside. Surprisingly, the Dead lurking outside Cortege High are not the biggest challenge the teens have to face; they torment and torture each other far more than the zombies ever do.

Main character Sloane Price is another unpredictable element of This Is Not a Test. Her back story proves to be horrifying, but much like the protagonists from other novels written by Courtney Summers, she doesn’t do a whole lot to make herself likable. She’s stubborn and self-centered, and she has a tendency to be sort of blind when it comes to the emotions of those around her. Still, Sloane’s so real, so very damaged and vulnerable, it’s hard not to root for her. She thinks the way teens think, and she says what teens—albeit wrecked teens—say. She’s depressed, but she’s smart and fair and loyal when it really counts. I wanted Sloane to pull it together so badly, both for herself and for the other teens stuck inside Cortege High with her—particularly Rhys.

Speaking of Rhys… I won’t give too much away, but awhile back I read a blurb about This Is Not a Test that called the book “sexy.” I had my doubts—this is a story about zombies, for crying out loud. But yeah, I admit it: This Is Not a Test IS sexy. And Rhys? Also sexy. Come to think of it, Trace and Cary (two more boys from Cortege’s group of six) aren’t too shabby either. And Grace, Sloane’s fellow female, is awesome in her own right. Even Harrison, who’s a bit of a cry baby, has his redeeming moments. What does all of this mean? Courtney Summers writes characters who rock. She also writes books that rock!

Have you read This Is Not a Test? Thoughts? What’s YOUR favorite zombie story?

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MAY I ask something about you?

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the FIVE winners from my Reading is Sexy giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations to…

Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen!

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of ONE of the following: A signed copy of The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, or a Reading is Sexy bumper sticker. The second winner to email will have second choice of the remaining prizes, the third to email will have third choice, and so on. (Also, please don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book or sticker to you!)

Congrats again, Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about this giveaway!

:)

Second, my first post over at YA Confidential is up today, a review of the fabulous This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (out next month!). I’d love it if you’d drop by to check out all the reasons I LOVED this book!

This Is Not a Test

Third, I’ll be taking a bit of a blog-cation over the next couple of months. Yep… April and May were chock full of blog posts around here, and I had a blast writing them, reading all of your thoughtful comments, and visiting your blog in return. But, I’ve decided to dedicate my free time this summer to my family and the rewrite I’ve been working on. Blogging is a blast, but it’s also quite time-consuming, and if I don’t take this break, I won’t be able to prioritize my time in a way that will best allow me to complete my rewrite. That said, I’ll still be reading your blog, and I’ll still do an occasional Bookanista review. I’ll also still be posting over at YA Confidential. But all in all, things around here will be pretty quiet. Never fear, though… I’ll be back early August when school starts and my girlie begins spending her days at –*gasp*– Kindergarten!

Relaxing Summer

I leave you with this question: What are YOUR summer plans?

MAY I tell you something about myself?

My, it’s been a busy few days! Thanks to this final phase of the move, I’ve barely had time to breathe, much less blog. My family and I have been slowly making our way down the coast to our new hometown. We’ve finally arrived! Our furniture and household goods will be delivered tomorrow (yay!), and then we get to unpack. I can’t wait to be settled and back into some semblance of a routine. We’ve had a great time traveling, but I am such a creature of habit. All of these transitions and the constant roaming about is starting to wear me out. Plus, doesn’t it just figure that when I’m feeling truly inspired to write (the people watching! the music! the landscapes! the alone time to think while driving!), I don’t have the time to sit down and ACTUALLY WRITE? Such is life.

Anywho, for today’s Blog Me MAYbe post, I’d love to give you a few of the highlights of our road trip, starting with the song I’ve had on repeat pretty much the entire drive:

It’s a YA story waiting, to happen, right? I adore Lady Antebellum, and ‘Dancin’ Away With My Heart’ is definitely a new favorite.

Admittedly, I haven’t had tons of reading time over the last week, but I have been leisurely working my way through This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (June 19, 2012). Um… It’s awesome.

This Is Not a Test

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?

And, lastly, I’d love to share a few photos from our trip (I took dozens; this is merely a sampling!). If you use Instagram, you can view all of the photos I posted under the hashtag #CAHereWeCome, or you can check out my Instagrid.

And... We're off! First stop: Cannon Beach #CAHereWeCome #RoadTrip
Heading out… Can you tell how much my husband appreciates the way I commemorate EVERYTHING with a photograph?

We made it to the #beach! #CAHereWeCome #RoadTrip #Oregon #HaystackRock
My girls and me in front of Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR.

#SeaStar #Beach #HaystackRock #CannonBeach #CAHereWeCome #RoadTrip
Sea star!


My girlie took this photo… Pretty good for a four-year-old, I think!


Gorgeous beach sunset…


Ice cream at the Tillamook Cheese Factory… Yummy!


Post-picnic hiking, mid-Oregon.


Gosh, McDonald’s is fun!


Is it too soon to call ourselves California girls? (Somewhere outside Crescent City, CA)


That, my friends, is one big tree! (He’s called Grandfather Redwood, which totally makes me wonder if he’s married to Grandmother Willow from Disney’s Pocahontas. :))


Big Foot = Scary


And, FINALLY, home sweet home.

Tell me: What’s the best road trip you’ve been on?