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This Is Not a Drill

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,040 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
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 fr
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 25th 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Oct 29, 2012 Giselle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, own, contemporary
With only a mere 224 pages, I was surprised by how much power this short little novel emitted. This Is Not a Drill takes us into the lives of two teenage kids who are tutoring first graders, when an angry, unstable post-military father arrives and takes the class hostage.

This situation is a real tragedy that we sadly see happen in our world much too often. School shootings, school bombings; any school disaster is a parent's worst fear. To get a call that your first grader is in a classroom with
Sep 23, 2012 Beth_Adele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A multi-faceted read.

When I first picked up this proof, I didn't realise it was a YA novel. I brought it home and my 14 year old son honed in on it. (The other proofs I had piled on the shelf all seem to contain vampires or werewolves which are not his thing.) He devoured this book in a 3 hour sitting and proceeded to stroke it like he was Golem protecting his precious. Which is why, although I am in the middle of a few other reads, I put them down to read this one. And I am glad I did.

Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
This Is Not A Drill is one of those reads that will stay with you for years to come. While reading this ARC I kept thinking about The Columbine Shooting and The Arkansas School shooting. School shootings are becoming an everyday occurrence and it scares how we send our kids to school not knowing if someone has decided today is the day they are going to go to school and shot it up.

In this case Brian Stutts is a soldier who has just come back from Iraq and his family has fallen apart. His wife is

This is Not a Drill by Bec McDowell is set the small town of Hensonville. Seventeen year olds, Emery and Jake, have volunteered at the local primary school and are assisting with a lesson one morning, supervising eighteen first grade children, along with the teacher, Mrs Campbell. Emery and Jake used to date but have put aside their differences and work well together in the classroom. That morning they are interrupted by a father of one of the boys in the class. He wants to take his son with
Shannon (aka The Tale Temptress)
Warning from the beginning.... this story deals with a situation that is probably everyone's worst least if you have children. This is a serious situation where small, elementary school children are being held hostage by a gunman at school. They have two teens, who just happen to be visiting their class that day, to help keep them safe and to try to figure a way out of the situation.

Let me say I loved Emery and Jake immediately. You would think that in a situation like this, where
Haley Petcher
May 21, 2012 Haley Petcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You’d think signing up to tutor a classroom of first-grade kids would be a fun exchange for a morning of high school. That’s what high school seniors Emery and Jake think—until Brian Stutts, a soldier with PTSD, comes in with a gun. Stutts wants to check his son out of school, but he’s on the blocked list. Frustrated with his lot, Stutts holes up in the classroom with Emery, Jake, and the kids as hostages. Emery and Jake, who recently went through a messy break-up, must come together again and ...more
Oct 02, 2015 Simon rated it it was amazing
The book is a very good book is your into cliff hangars. One chapter it would say something that wants you to read more. It Makes you Feel like your in the setting and overall Love the book, Definitely on my Re-Read List. Recommend This Book To Everyone 10/10
Feb 01, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michelle by: Mands
Jake and Emery are high school students assisting a group of first graders in their lessons one day when something happens which will change their lives and the lives of those around them forever. They are interrupted by the father of one of the boys in the class who demands to see his son; when he is refused he turns violent, pulling a gun and holding the class hostage. Right from the opening sentence I knew this was going to be a tense read and I was not disappointed. However, what I was not ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
***Spoiler Warning***

I had the feeling this was going to be an interesting book and I love it when I'm right.
Besides a few details the reactions from both hostages and hostage taker are realistic. And those children.. poor children! They acted so brave the whole time. And Jake and Emery impressed me. How they dealt with the situation -being still teenagers themselves- was courageous. They ignored their own fears and the kids stayed their number one priority the whole time.

With exception of the
Nov 10, 2012 Kelly rated it it was ok

Brian Strutts wants to take his son Patrick home from school, but he doesn't want to deal with school administration and he doesn't want to deal with the fact his wife has told the administration Brain's not to be around Patrick. Rather than go through the channels he needs to, Strutts wanders into Patrick's classroom and takes it hostage.

In the classroom that day tutoring are high schoolers Emery and Jake. Neither them nor the teacher are prepared to be hostages nor are they prepared to be
Samantha Kretschmer
Oct 14, 2012 Samantha Kretschmer rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-realistic

Emery and Jake have an emotional past but have been spending a couple hours a week together at the local elementary school teaching French to first graders. Everything seems to be going along like normal one morning when all of a sudden everything goes terribly wrong. An ex-soldier comes in to get his son and is enraged when the school won't let him. His wife has turned everyone against him! Instead Mr. Stutts, flask in hand, barricades himself in the classroom full of 18 children, their teache
Megan Carroll
Apr 12, 2012 Megan Carroll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beck McDowell's latest novel is an intense, thrilling, fast-paced ride through a day filled with unexpected events. This Is Not a Drill follows high school students Emery and Jake as they go to a local elementary school for a weekly tutoring session. The day this novel takes place turns out to be quite different when everyone in the classroom is taken hostage by an angry parent. Jake and Emery have to find a way to hold themselves and each other together to keep the children in the room safe. ...more

“I just wanted to teach little kids some French. I didn’t sign on for dealing with a psycho.”

Emery was just an eighteen year old that just wanted to teach little kids French not to get into something dangerous and famished but everything went wrong. But the worst part was being partnered with Jake after what he did to her, she has despised him since then. But for this event they will have to put that aside and work together to keep the children sa
Reviewed at:

What an intense book! I read it in one sitting and couldn't put it down. From page one, Beck McDowell reels you in keeps you hooked for the next 200 pages.

Emery and Jake are high school students volunteering at an elementary school 3 days a week. They are also ex- girlfriend/boyfriend so the interaction is a bit awkward. But none of this matters when a gun wielding vet with PTSD invades the classroom demanding custody of his son. Now, they ha
Jan 05, 2015 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this story was well written.

What happens when a father comes back from war with PTSS and snaps? What happens when he snaps in front off a kinder-garden class with a gun, two teens and a teacher ready to pass out.

And the two teens happen to be exes not speaking to each to other for a long time.

You get a fantastic read: This is not a drill

Ohh applause for the author for writing about POTS a syndrome not known by most doctors which my daughter and I happen to have.

Oct 23, 2012 Brooke rated it it was amazing
"This Is Not A Drill" is a really good book. My sister won this book in a giveaway and I couldn't wait to read it. It only took me a couple of days to read it & I absolutely loved it! Beck McDowell did a great job writing the story and creating the characters. I can relate to this book since I am a teacher. While reading the story all I could think is, what if something like this happened to me & my kids in the preschool. The author did a great job and I hope to read more of her books. I ...more
Danielle Vucko
Apr 29, 2015 Danielle Vucko rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg-4050
This was an excellent book that brought up some tough issues such as PTSD and school shootings. It comes down to two high school students trying to talk down a man that was creating a hostage situation. This opens your eyes to a whole new prespective of what the man faced in Iraq and it also gives you more insight on PTSD. This is a very scary story that keeps your attention and wanting to know what happen next. I would highly recommend this book for everyone to read. This is a book that I could ...more
Alexandra Hernandez
Emery and Jake were tutoring a class until they were being held hostage. The gunman, Brian Stutts, is a soldier who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. When the school won't let him see his son because of a custody battle, he uses deadly force. I like how the changes different point of views throughout the story. It helps you get a better understanding of how each character feels. It also gives a little background of Brian which is very useful. I recommend this to anyone who likes ...more
Anaiyah Smith
Apr 28, 2016 Anaiyah Smith rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! It's a page turner from beginning to end. Honestly it's hard to believe that this was the author's first book. The characters were well developed. Also, the plot entranced you and it felt like you were apart of the book. The devastation made the book even better. Even though This Is Not A Drill is fiction it opens your eyes to the harsh reality.
Tison Alexander
Dec 01, 2015 Tison Alexander rated it liked it
I liked this book because it had suspense and it hooked me in the beginning. This book was fun to read because you don't know what's going to happen next. Me personally I liked this book because I like this book because it was an easy way to get hooked. This books protagonist was mr.stutts. This book was very good for me because it was easy to get into the book and get interested.
Chloe Emmert
Apr 25, 2016 Chloe Emmert rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves action. Have you ever heard of a "code red" well there normally all drills right? However this was not and a lot of action and crime like fighting happened. You will love this book and get caught up in it just like that. It's so interesting and has a lot of tension. Please read!
Sam Harrison
Mar 29, 2015 Sam Harrison rated it it was amazing
I ended up reading this in a day because it was good and it was due the next day. I kind of liked the dual pov. It was an interesting plot. It wasn't much of a shooting though. I would recommend to jr high or highschool. The end was a little boring but I liked it.
May 27, 2015 Cheney rated it really liked it
This story brought a few tears to my eyes. Being a teacher, this story was hard to swallow at times, knowing that incidents like this can and do happen. It reminded me to enjoy each day and let yesterday's angers go. Sometimes we truly forget what matters.
Stephanie A.
I couldn't bring myself to focus all that much on the boy's perspective, but I thought this offered a very good vicarious walk-through of a day trapped at gunpoint with little kids in an elementary school classroom.
Mar 01, 2016 Riley rated it really liked it
I think that the book was substantally exquisite in most parts and was very intense and fun to read in some. But some of it was extremely boring. For example some of the time the main characters were just talking with the gunman and trying to calm him down which was really boring.
Aug 16, 2015 Elegale rated it it was amazing
I remember telling my aunt and uncle about the plot of this book and feeling awkward, but I can't remember the title so I decided to search it out with some of the keywords and finally found it. Yay!!
Anna (Adventures with a Book Nerd)
Aug 12, 2015 Anna (Adventures with a Book Nerd) rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star
Found this book I read last year, but did not add to Goodreads. Don't know why, but here it is anyway.
Ms. Heres
This was intense!...and a little too close to home with the events of recent months and years. It is certainly not for everyone.
Jennifer Shanahan
Dec 26, 2014 Jennifer Shanahan rated it really liked it
Read this book in one night, very interesting and a good story, short and to the point. liked it very much.
Dec 24, 2015 I rated it really liked it
for a moment I thought everything was going to be worse...
Love Jake and Emery! I want an epilogue!!!
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  • Personal Effects
  • The Right and the Real
  • Smashed
  • Dancing with Molly
  • Burning Blue
  • Send Me a Sign
  • Anything But Ordinary
  • The Reluctant Hallelujah
  • The Summer of May
  • The Opposite of Hallelujah
  • The Night She Disappeared
  • Cadillac Chronicles
  • Still Waters
  • Bruised
  • Out of Reach
  • Send
  • I Swear
  • Skipped
Beck McDowell is the author of THIS IS NOT A DRILL, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin, Fall '12 - recently chosen by the American Library Association as a 2013 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers. This YA fiction tells the story of Emery and Jake, who must protect the kindergartners they're tutoring when Brian Stutts, an Iraq vet suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, pulls a gun when he's ...more
More about Beck McDowell...

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