Double Review – Broken and This is Not a Test

Yup yup, two reviews in one post!  Yay!

It’s almost October, so Mandy and I’ve decided we’re going to read a bunch of scary books together.  I kind of started a little early, because neither of these are on our official list.  Mandy also started a bit early, you can find her first scary read review here (it’s one I’ve decided to skip, based on her review – she’s totally influential about what I read).

Looks like Strange Chemistry is continuing the AMAZING cover trend that Angry Robot has going for it.

Broken by AE Rought is a book being put out by Strange Chemistry, the new YA imprint of Angry Robot.  I love Angry Robot beyond all reason, so when I saw that this book was available to be requested from NetGalley, figured I’d give their YA a shot.

I’m glad I requested it.  I’m not glad that the blurb for this book is spoilery as hell and the things mentioned in the first sentence of said blurb don’t even start to happen/make themselves known until the final quarter of the book.  If you’re planning on reading this book at all, do yourself a favour and pretend there is no blurb.

I think a tiny bit of my enjoyment was hampered because I went in knowing somewhat what was going to happen, and kept waiting for that shoe to drop.  Not much, though, because I DID really like the story.  The writing and pacing were nice and the little voice at the back of my head kept whispering “You know, if Twilight had been written this well…”

Because at the end of the day, it’s kind of impossible not to compare Broken to Twilight.  Don’t think this is a sparkly vampire story, though – it’s not.  It is a damned interesting take on another classic (but if I tell you which one, you might as well just go read the blurb already!).  It’s smart, it’s not condescending or pandering, and it’s kind of heart-breaking.

Would I recommend it for everyone?  Hell no.  I know a lot of people wouldn’t be into this one at all, but if you like a bit of suspense and terror mixed in with your ooey-gooey teenage love stories, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Broken will be released in the US on January 1st, 2013 and on January 3rd in the UK (and the rest of the world, I imagine).  You can find pricing and other information at the Strange Chemistry site.


I’m not really a fan of this cover. At all.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is a zombie story.  You guys should know me well enough by now to know that I’m a sucker for most anything zombie related.  The sheer number of zombie stories I already have queued up on my reader (that aren’t even part of our October reads list) is a little intimidating.  I was a bit nervous about a YA zombie story, though.  How could it possibly be scary enough?

Um, it totally was.  While there were SOME fighting, killing and gross-out moments, they weren’t on the front burner at all.  This is Not a Test is the story of six teenagers holed up in their high school after…something happened that turned most of their town into flesh feasting undead.  We never find out what it was because the characters we follow never found out what it was.

Sloane (our protagonist) was on the verge of suicide before the zombpocalypse hit.  She’s grown up with just her abusive father and her sister.  Shortly before the story begins, her sister got tired of waiting for Sloane to turn 18, so she took off – leaving Sloane to face daddy dearest on her own.  It’s a bad situation to be in, so when the zombies start coming, Sloane takes her chance to escape.

Really, the zombie apocalypse is the perfect place for a suicidal teen, right?  She goes out of her way to “protect” the others, hoping all the while that the choice will be made for her.

This is Not a Test was…not fantastic, but very solid.  I realize it’s kind of difficult to escape clichés and tropes when writing about such well-worn roads as what happens when the zombies come, but for the most part I found it to be incredibly fresh and a worthwhile read.  If you’re at all into zombie fiction, I’d recommend you pick this one up.


Oh, and SPEAKING OF scary reads – I hope you’re all following Stephen King Week over at Insatiable Booksluts.  There are a ton of excellent posts up already (including two by me!) and a few more to come this weekend.  Go, read, comment, subscribe.

5 thoughts on “Double Review – Broken and This is Not a Test

  1. I never read blurbs. For the reason you stated. Sometimes blurbs are entirely too spoilery, and I hate reading a book (or watching a movie) and waiting for the stuff I have already been told is going to happen. Broken intrigues me. I hate waiting.

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