Oct 28, 12
Read on September 03, 2012
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 him as his wife has custody of the boy and has tried to stop him from seeing him. He ends up pulling out a gun and holding the class hostage. Jake and Emery must try and keep the kids safe while trying to find a way out of the situation.
I really liked Emery and Jake. Both of them felt well developed and I enjoyed finding out their back stories while the events unfolded. Emery is a quiet, shy girl and sometimes suffers from panic attacks. Her mother is extremely passive aggressive and controlling and Emery now feels like her mum was right to be worried all along. Despite being worried and scared, she manages to maintain a brave face for the kids.
Jake also has a difficult relationship with his dad. His mum died from cancer and his dad re-married and their relationship deteriorated. Despite having a bit of a bad boy rep, and despite what he did to Emery, he is actually a good guy. He remains calm and thinks logically, he knows he can’t try and be the hero and tackle Brian, the father who has held them hostage, and I thought that he handled himself really well.
This is a quite a quick read and I was intrigued from the beginning, the story kept me reading because it was quite intense. I was so worried for the children, as well as for Emery and Jake.
I liked that Emery tried to talk to Brian, to get him to explain his side of things and to ask him about his time in service which had clearly affected him. While I was angry at Brian for threatening the lives of the children, I also felt sorry for him because he felt like it was his only option.
The ending was well done and I was quite happy with the outcome. It’s a book that felt very real, I'm sure situations like this have and will continue to happen. This is Not A Drill is an intense read filled with interesting characters who you will want to protect paired with a plot that will draw you in.
Thank you to the wonderful people at Hardie Grant Egmont for my review copy.