This Is Not A Drill

First of all, I’d just like to say that this book had me from. . .actually, the summary. Yeah, I know, that’s technically not even part of the story, but come on, haven’t you ever read the summary of a book and the idea was just so dang good that you just had to read that book because in your mind it was already awesome? No? Oh, god, that’s awkward. . .ahem. Anyway, then it can be a heartbreaking letdown when the book is actually bad (like, stomping-around-and-punching-pillows letdown), right? But (and I am thanking my lucky stars for this) this book was not a letdown, not to me at least. But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? First of all, the book in question is This Is Not A Drill, by Beck McDowell. At the center of the story are Emery Austin and Jake Willoughby, two high schoolers who are currently tutoring a first grade class in French. Which, when you think about it, is not necessarily easy in light of their recent breakup. But they’re managing it, despite the awkwardness. So of course the world decides to send them a curveball one day in the form of Brian Stutts. Brian Stutts, who happens to be a former solder form Iraq and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. And he’s in a room teeming with adorably innocent (kind of) first graders. With a gun. Yikes. . .but it is an awesome idea for a plot, don’t you think? The problem and tension only escalates as the day goes on, building up to the climax. As I have already stated, the plot is awesome, and the writing isn’t half-bad either. So go check it out. Now.

(Please?)

Revolution

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. . .such a good book! As in, it’s really good. It’s Revolution, written by Jennifer Donnelly, and the main character is Diandra Xenia Alpers, or just Andi. Andi has found herself a wreck for the last two years, ever since her brother Truman’s violent death–a death she blames herself for. Her parents are divorced, she’s popping antidepressant pills like chocolate chips, and, oh yeah, she’s about to be expelled from one of the most select and expensive schools in Brooklyn Heights. What a fabulous life! But things are about to get much more shaken up. Suddenly, Andi’s father appears, fully prepared to whisk her away to Paris for winter break with him so she can finish her outline for her senior thesis (or else). Obviously, this isn’t optional. But in Paris, Andi makes a discovery she didn’t expect–the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, a teenage player who lived during the French Revolution. Her story is one of first poverty and ambition, but soon becomes danger-wrought and increasingly treacherous. Andi becomes more and more sucked into the diary, silently cheering Alex on, despite the fact that the events described took place 200 years ago. But one night, the past and the present merge, and the result is. . .well, slightly strange. Okay, a lot strange, and more than a little frightening. This book was, as I think I pointed out before, awesome. While it may be considered thick by some (“How do you read that?!”), and perhaps a little confusing, it’s well worth the effort. The plot is definitely done well, and the writing’s great. All in all, a solid young adult novel.      So. . .go buy it. I command thee!

Scarlett

Hello again! The book today is Scarlett, written by Cathy Cassidy. Twelve-year-old Scarlett lives in England (!!) with her mother, and things aren’t going too well. After being expelled from school (again), Scarlett’s mom has had enough. She makes the decision to send Scarlett off to live with her father in a small town in Ireland (!!!), the same father who left them a few years ago. Needless to say, Scarlett isn’t alive with excitement, especially with the fact that a stepmother and sister are also a part of the deal. Despite her best efforts to get out of it, eventually she’s on that plane and stuck attending a one-room, one-teacher school, where she quickly gets into trouble on her first day. Which isn’t very surprising. But things start looking up when she becomes acquainted with a strange boy living in the woods near the cottage, Kian. They become fast friends, and Scarlett starts to think that maybe things won’t be so bad after all (not that’s it all super-duper for long). I thought the plot was interesting, and the writing was definitely good; the only thing was that it seemed to me that Scarlett was changing from an angry child to a happy one in a surprisingly small amount of time for a section of the book. It just seemed a little unrealistic. But overall, it was a nice read, though I was a little disappointed. By the way, it’s probably geared towards preteen girls.