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This Is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
This Is Not a Drillby Beck McDowell

This Is Not a Drill

This Is Not a Drill 

By: Beck McDowell

Release Date: October 25, 2012

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSDWhen high school seniors Emery and Jake are taken hostage in the classroom where they tutor, they must work together to calm both the terrified children and the gunman threatening them–a task made even more difficult by their recent break-up. Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, uses deadly force when he’s denied access to his son because of a custody battle. The children’s fate is in the hands of the two teens, each recovering from great loss, who now must reestablish trust in a relationship damaged by betrayal. Told through Emery and Jake’s alternating viewpoints, this gripping novel features characters teens will identify with and explores the often-hidden damages of war.


Review: I had the feeling this was going to be an interesting book and I love it when I’m right.

Besides a few details the reactions from both hostages and hostage taker are realistic. And those children.. poor children! They acted so brave the whole time. And Jake and Emery impressed me. How they dealt with the situation -being still teenagers themselves- was courageous. They ignored their own fears and the kids stayed their number one priority the whole time.

With exception of the ending, the pace was good. The story was built up very well. Thanks to the shifting perspectives between Jake and Emery, I knew how they really felt and how scared they were. And I liked how McDowell integrated Stutt’s story as well. I understood Emery when she tells Jake that she actually feels for him. I can’t imagine what that man saw while he was in Iraq and how he suffered. At a sudden point a human being just can’t take more right?

The ending was a bit rushed in my opinion. There were a few things that annoyed me. For example: after Emery discovers that her friend hided a letter from Jake, apologizing for his mistake and admitting he wants her back, she says she doesn’t know they can still be friends. Excuse me? That felt so weird after reading that book cause come on, her friend was just trying to protect her and there are more worse things in life. She had just survived a hostage for crying out loud. In the end it is also clear that Emery will go back to Jake. That is really very sweet and all, but is it realistic that a teenage girl -after what she’s been through- stays in the hospital with her boyfriend and she isn’t with her parents?

The story is believable, the kids are heartwarming, Jake and Emery so brave, and all that make that this book really is a worthy read. And if it wasn’t for those few tiny details I would’ve given it 5 stars.

Go to Lis’ review on Goodreads.

  1. December 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    OOOOOh, first I heard of this book. Interesting! Adding to my TBR.

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