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A Reader of Fictions: Mad World - Gary Jules

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mad World - Gary Jules

This Is Not a Test

Author: Courtney Summers
Pages: 323
ARC Acquired from: St. Martin's Griffin via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Sloane, left behind by her sister Lily with her abusive father, plans to commit suicide. She doesn't, though, because Lily took the pills with her. Cue zombie outbreak. Fast forward seven days. Sloane has somehow managed to survive and is barricaded in the high school with five other teens. For the others, the zombies are a catastrophe, a tragedy, the end of the world, but, for Sloane, they could be a way out, and escape from her awful life.

The writing, which has a very particular style, definitely took some getting used to. Even now, I'm not completely sure how I feel about the book or the writing. I think it's probably because it's so beautiful, so nuanced and so gut-wrenching. Her writing also has a strangely lyrical quality, enhanced by the strange placement of punctuation.

The world-building in This Is Not a Test is minimal. All we really know is that there was a zombie outbreak, and that's about it. That's because the dystopian aspects aren't what make the book unique, they're not what the book is really about. Whereas most dystopias focus on a person, or group of people, desperate to survive, This Is Not a Test focuses on a girl who wants to die. This viewpoint really changed everything. What scares Sloane is not the zombies, not the dying. She fears having to live.

I've seen this book called "The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead." I see where they're going with that, and it's valid. I want to add a comparison to Laurie Halse Anderson and Ilsa J. Bick. If you enjoy those authors, you will love this, and by love I mean be seriously depressed by. I think this one is going to stick with me.

Rating: 4/5

"And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very mad world mad world"

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