There can be no question that Courtney Summers' latest YA novel, This Is Not a Test, is a zombie book, but it is zombie book where the zombies are barely seen.
This Is Not a Test concentrates on the social dynamics and gradual breakdown of a group of six teens trapped in their school. They are safe from the zombies, at least for the time being, but they have no way out. I found the characters to be unique, well-imagined, each with complex motives and backgrounds, all blending together to form a constantly changing matrix of interactions and alliances. The prose is excellent, with descriptive passages that were vivid but not overdone. There is quite a bit of introspection and less action that you might expect, but still more than enough plot twists to keeping the reader engaged throughout.
The story is told in first-person by Sloane, a girl who had no intention of going on living even before the zombies appeared, but who is unwilling to do anything to endanger the lives of the others. She finds herself faced by situation after situation that force her into surviving and persevering for their sake. The entire book carries a dark, depressing undertone, but as a zombie apocalypse book, I would be worried if it didn't.
If you are looking for a ton of zombie-slaughtering action, this is not the book for you. But if you want a well-crafted, imaginative, and believable story, this is it. Overall an excellent read, and highly recommended.