Monday, October 14, 2013

REVIEW--This Is Not A Drill

Hi all!  This weekend was a whirlwind for me!  I spent Saturday meeting with the Eliot Rosewater Committee; this is a group that chooses the "best of the best" YA books for Indiana high school students.  It was a blast!  A day of talking about books--hello!
Then I went on a 2-ish day youth retreat with my church and led a small group of girls.  Again, a blast!

So that explains my lack of posts for this weekend.  But I'm back with a book review!

Today's book is This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell.  I knew this would be a bit of a difficult read for me--it's about a school hostage situation and 1) I work in a school, 2) I have children, and 3) Sandy Hook is still pretty fresh in all of our minds.  But I had high hopes for it, too.  So here's my review!

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic
The Gist:
Emery and Jake have a bit of a rocky past.  They dated and now aren't speaking so much, which makes their cadet tutoring assignment all the more awkward.  Together they tutor a class of first graders in French.  While in the middle of a lesson one day, a student's father barges in and demands he be allowed to take his son.  When denied, he pulls a gun on the class and holds everyone hostage. Emery and Jake learn fast that they will have to rely on each other, because not all will make it out alive.

What I Loved:
  • Normally I'm not a huge fan of alternating points of view in a book, but in this case I loved that both Emery and Jake tell the story.  Their unique perspectives made the situation more realistic.
  • This could be a realistic situation--we all know that now.  I appreciated having a book that explored it.
  • The elementary classroom is the only present-day setting; all of the other action in the book is through flashbacks.  That really intensified the situation.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The flashbacks did get a little excessive because they covered so many different times.  Too much time movement in my opinion.
  • A character suicide had very little set-up and was literally thrown together.  I thought there could have been more build-up in this situation.
  • Jake has some Facebook conversations that I thought were pretty unrealistic.  I didn't think he'd be able to be on Facebook, and then his communications with the police seemed far-fetched.
  • Speaking of the police and SWAT teams...they were pretty stupid in this book.
Favorite quote:  "I've spent so much energy learning to live without him, and now all I want to do is run to him."

Overall an intense and quick read but not a re-read in my mind.

I'll be back on Wednesday with an outfit inspired by the French lessons...and come back tomorrow to see my Top Ten Tuesday!

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