Friday, October 19, 2012

This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSD.

When 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. (from GoodReads)

When I received This is Not a Drill in the mail, I was excited to read it. I really enjoy movies and books that are thrillers, and this novel sounded like it would fit into that genre. I wish I could say that gunmen in schools and other public places never happened in our society, but the fact that it does made this book even more freaky. Heck, even my high school was on lock-down when a gunmen held a bar down the street hostage a few years ago.

I could definitely understand the terror and fear that Emery and Jake feel when Brian Stutts comes into their classroom with a gun. They have to take care of a bunch of first graders, who have no idea what's going on. I don't know how they held it together because I would have been a mess.

I liked that the author tried to make the gunman into a real person. It's obvious that he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and his life has been changed by his time in Iraq. As a psychology student, I feel so bad for people who don't have the opportunity to seek mental health services or decide not to based on the stigma. I know that's a big problem in the military, but it needs to be an attitude that we change.

I wish This is Not a Drill could have been a little more exciting - even though the classroom is being held hostage, it's actually boring at times. Most of the book is Emery and Jake trying to entertain the kids. Overall, it was a quick read and I would recommend to anyone interested in this subject.

Release Date: October 25, 2012
Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: sent by publisher.

2012/Nancy Paulsen Books/224 pages.

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