*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"This is Not a Drill" by Beck McDowell

I've wanted to read This is Not a Drill for quite some time now. I knew it would be a fairly difficult read because of the subject matter, but that it would also be an important book. Emery and Jake help teach French to a class of first graders. They do their best to push emotions from their past aside so that they can teach the children. During a normal class, one of the students' parents arrives to pick up his son. However, when the teacher won't allow him to take the child without following procedure, he loses his cool and begins to threaten the class with a gun. Before they know it, it's up to Emery and Jake to keep the children safe and try to figure out how to get out.

I had high expectations for this book and am happy to say that they were met. McDowell has touched upon a very important subject. Unfortunately we live in a world that contains too much senseless violence and it's something that seems to surround us every day. Emery and Jake's story could happen anytime and anywhere. This book is a real eye opener about how easy it can be to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up in horrible danger. I feel that McDowell has written a wonderful book and does a great job of capturing the situation and emotions.

My only complaint about this book (kind of spoilers) is when they gain internet access and begin to communicate with the outside world. I am very lucky to have never been in such a situation, but it seems like police and other officials would have taken charge of the situation as soon as they realized some of the hostages were able to communicate, but instead the teens were able to communicate with their friends in addition to officials. This seemed strange to me, but again, I have nothing to compare to.

To state the obvious, this book is kind of intense so I don't recommend it to really young readers or those who don't like a lot of danger and suspense in their reading. I do feel this is an important book and probably a good one for parents to share with their children. It's probably not the best book to read right before bed (I say this as someone who has had far too many active shooter nightmares), but still hope that people read this book because the insight it provides could be very valuable.

Happy Reading!

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