Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Release Date: October 25, 2012
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 battle. The situation turns deadly when a security guard appears at the door and Stutts impulsively opens fire. When the teacher is carried from the room, the children's fate is in the hands of Emery and Jake. While Jake searches for a way to communicate with the policemen surrounding the building, Emery, fighting her shyness, fear, and POTS symptoms, tries to reach out to the soldier. She gains a new understanding of what he faced in Iraq, and discovers remarkable strength in his small son.
Starting off rather slow, this book is an intense roller coaster of emotions. A story about a veteran who comes home to face reality with severe PTSD and thus, is not allowed custody of his son. So he decides to go pick him up at school...
I was a little conflicted between the actual story and the way it was told at some points. While the narrating certainly builds up the reader to expect some more, the story didn't need that. The events themselves were gripping enough to be a fast paced read. The story is told by Emery and Jake in alternating chapters. The alternating points of view were very well done and it the story was enriched by it, especially at the end.
It's a heavier book than what I first expected, but it's also a lighter book than what could have been, if that makes sense. Unfortunately, it has become a normal occurrence in the news. It was thrilling and scary, and altogether eye-opening. I must admit I often wonder what really goes on somewhere where they are being held hostage for hours. I think McDowell did a wonderful job with that portrayal. Time kept going by, but the fear and dread comes through just as clearly as when it started.
Overall, this is a thrilling read, a very realistic story, and a fast read thanks to the quick pace. It's a book I would recommend to any contemporary lover with no hesitation. One of those memorable books that will stay with you long after who've read the last page.