Monday, 12 August 2013

This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

This is Not a Drill
Beck McDowell
Nancy Paulsen Books
[October 25, 2012]

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.


So, I read this book at the very end of 2012, which wasn't really the best timing to pick up this book, but I wanted something short I could read so my goodreads count for 2012 would be a nice round number and this was the first book I grabbed. And it was a pretty decent read.

I had some issues with the way the story was told. This is obviously a really serious subject and an awful situation, but it...didn't really feel like it. We'd get random flashbacks to how the two characters were before so we can understand their relationship which, okay, understandable for the story. But it drew away from the danger and the concerns of the story. As this is kind of a major topic - especially when I was reading it - that was disappointing.

I think because that annoyed me, I couldn't connect with the characters. They were acting appropriately in the present day and being good people and the flashbacks definitely added some level of depth to them, but I just never really clicked with them, I guess.

As for the story itself, once I got past the flashbacks throwing me off, it was really interesting. The writing kept me turning pages without a problem as I sped read to get that nice round number for the year. It was intriguing and well written and I was really interested in seeing how this turned out for the kids, Emery, and Jake. It could've used more tension and more serious moments, but I care enough about the end of the book to keep reading.

Basically, this isn't the kind of book I'd shout from the rooftops about. It's the kind of book you read because you need a quick read or just when you want to see how an interesting idea ends. I'd also recommend grabbing it from a library. My disappointment in this book does leave me wondering about how other books in a similar vein to this are in YA and if you have any recommendations, I'd be happy to hear them.

--Julie

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one but I definitely understand everything you didn't really care for about it. I also never felt really connected to the characters. I liked the story but it's not one I'd read again or really push someone else to read. Great review!

    Katie @ Katie's Book Blog

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