This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell
Release Date: October 25, 2012
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge & The Completely Contemp Challenge
Emery and Jake are tutoring a first grade class, when a man comes in demanding his son. Luckily the teacher is able to talk him into going to the office, only to have him burst back into the classroom minutes later and he has a gun. And so This is Not a Drill begins. Well actually it begins with Emery in the hospital and she’s flashing back, but anyway. They come to learn that the man is one of the student’s father that has returned from Iraq and is suffering from PTSD. We experience the roller coaster of emotions with Emery and Jake as they try to keep the students and themselves alive. What makes the story even more interesting is the relationship between Emery and Jake…..
This is Not a Drill is not my typical read. Or maybe I just think it’s not my typical read, I like stories with heavy issues like this one, but they tend to drain me emotionally. I almost want to say I avoid them because of that, but I don’t. I just have to be in a certain mood to read them and then once I do, I feel like a piece of me will be changed forever.
This story is about much more than a gunman taking over a classroom. It’s about family and friends. Living. Acceptance and forgiveness. And not taking any of that for granted. Although it’s just a mere 200 some pages, this story really packs a punch. It was heartbreaking and intense. I loved the alternating perspectives between Jake and Emery. I almost wish that Stutts (the gunman) would have had a chapter or two as well.
Looking forward to what McDowell comes up with next.