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This Is Not a Drill
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This Is Not a Drill

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,221 ratings  ·  227 reviews
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 b ...more
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published October 25th 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,221 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, arc
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
may ❀

This is Not a Drill takes place in an elementary school. Emery and Jake are high school seniors who co-tutor a class of first graders. When they are taken hostage in their room, by a solider suffering from PTSD who is fighting a custody battle for his son, it’s up to Emery and Jake to keep the children safe.

What I loved so much about Emery and Jake was that they are just regular teenagers who have their own losses and battles that they are simultaneously fighting. The manner in which the auth
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Big Joe  Rossi
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intense. Realistic. Heartbreaking as well as heartwarming. This is every parents worst nightmare sans losing a child. That is a child taken hostage at school by a madman.

High school seniors Emery Austin and Jake Willoughby are volunteering at a 1st grade class teaching the kids French when their world and the world of the kids and teacher is thrown into extreme distress and grave potential for loss of life. See on this day, a distraught father,Brian Stutts, a soldier recently home, has taken th

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 rated it it was amazing
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 l ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think my eyes have ever gotten watery for any book I've read.
This book.
Oh my god.
I was trying so hard not to fucking cry.
I don't think I have ever loved a book this much. This book shows the beauty and innocence of little kids. Its so beautiful I'm gonna cry.
This book is so deep and emotional, that it made ME (a very stonehearted person) almost cry.
I recommend this book for everyone.
Read it, trust me you won't regret it.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***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 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a 200 paged novel it sure packs a punch. I couldn't put the book down & every chapter had my blood pumping. If you plan on reading This Is Not a Drill make sure you have a box of tissues with you.
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.
Stephanie Fitzgerald
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Y.A. readers, but in the light of recent school shootings it might not be for everyone.
A very intense book, about two teenage volunteers who must use their wits to keep a gunman from going on a rampage in a first-grade classroom. This was one that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. The little ones were just precious, and their teacher was wonderful! This brought back so many memories of the songs and activities I did in my classroom! I also had feelings of sadness, though, reading the parts about the trauma going on in this school. The book was written in 2012, before Sand ...more

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
Beck McDowell doesn't shy away from big subjects in her debut. In THIS IS NOT A DRILL, an armed veteran comes to an elementary classroom looking to take his kid out of school early. The completely awesome teacher tells him he needs to follow procedure and refuses to just let Brian Sutton take his son away - leading to Sutton taking the class hostage.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL is told through the alternating points of view of Emery and Jake, high school seniors who tutor the class part time. They've ver
Samantha Kretschmer

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
Cheryl Trzasko
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I picked this up from the library thinking it was something else. I doubt I would have picked it up had I realized it was a story revolving around a gun in a classroom incident.

I have mixed feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I enjoyed the read. It was well-written. The characters felt well-developed and the plot was exciting though not as heavy as one might think. I liked reading it enough to want to read others by this author.

On the other hand, it didn't feel real. Not authentic. I
Megan Carroll
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. Mc ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Emery and Jake have had their romantic ups and downs, but are able to work together in Mrs. Campbell's first French grade class as helpers. Their skills dealing with small children are severely tested when the fathers of one of the boys shows up and demands to take his son. Not being content to work matters out in the office, he comes back, shoots a security guard, and holds the entire classroom hostage. It slowly comes to light that Brian Stutts fought in Iraq, and suffered so badly from PTSD t ...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
Carrie G
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a teacher, this book was intense. HARD to read. A gunman storming my classroom is actually one of my greatest fears. I'm still not sure WHY I chose to read this book. But I'm glad I did.

The plot of this book takes off - you're literally knee-deep in action 4 pages into the book. The characters are well-developed (thanks to the balance of present action and exposition) and easy to care about - even Mr. Stutts. The plot is fast-paced, with a conflict that occurs right away and action that keeps
This is a quick, easy read dealing with a school shooting which makes it a topical issue at the moment. Narrated by Jake and Emery, in alternating chapters, the reader shares the experience, but the tension is never really there. Also I found myself having to go back to the start of the chapter to find out whose point of view I was reading. It was the young first graders who really made this book - Patrick, Rosie, Natalie, Simon and the others. Their naivety and innocence made this story heart-w ...more
Jan 04, 2015 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.

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
Danielle Vucko
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Chloe Emmert
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Tison Alexander
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.
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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 n ...more
“And I’m not going to spend one more minute letting yesterday’s anger rob me of today’s happiness.” 0 likes
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