Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: This Is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

Pages:  214
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin)
Release date: October 25, 2012
Borrowed from Pittsburgh Public Library.

From Goodreads: When high school seniors—and former couple—Emery and Jake find themselves held hostage in a first grade classroom, they must do all they can to protect the kids. Brian Stutts, a U.S. soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq, pulls out his gun to convince the teacher to hand over the son he’s not allowed to check out because of a custody battle. The situation turns deadly when a security guard appears at the door and Stutts impulsively opens fire. When the teacher is carried from the room, the children's fate is in the hands of Emery and Jake. While Jake searches for a way to communicate with the policemen surrounding the building, Emery, fighting her shyness, fear, and POTS symptoms, tries to reach out to the soldier. She gains a new understanding of what he faced in Iraq, and discovers remarkable strength in his small son.

This Is Not a Drill focuses on a huge issue that is being seen everywhere lately-- on the news, in politics, on Glee-- but that doesn't make it less of a shock to our systems. Though this book came out almost two months before the deadly school shooting in Newtown, CT, it hits straight to the heart with how close the stories in the end seem to be--A man with a gun in an elementary school.
I almost don't know how to review this book. The writing was incredible and the story moved along almost too quickly, making me hold my breath for chapters at a time. I thought it was good, but it's scary to say that I liked it. It's truly terrifying and too close to home. This is one of those books that I got lost in, that I was clinging to the characters and wanting them all to be okay. I was hooked from the first page, and spent way too much of the night reading it. If I hadn't started so late, I might not have been up until 3 am, still reading.
Honestly, I just don't know what else to say. The writing was extraordinary, but the subject was just so touchy for me that I couldn't say it's a favorite.

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