Told via text messages and news alerts, This Is Not a Drill by K.A. Holt reveals the story of Ava McDaniels and her drama with separating parents and friends who can’t keep secrets. Char has told Elena Ava’s secret, so while Ava and Char engage in a stand-off, Elena tries to remain neutral—like Switzerland.
Notoriously forgetting to read the notifications on the Lila O’Leary Middle School App and to keep her phone charged, Ava finds herself trapped in a classroom when an intruder enters the school. Now the school is on lockdown and one of the sixth graders, Diego, needs an inhaler. As her phone battery gradually dies, Ava is frantically trying to reach her friends Char and Elena to ensure their safety while also attempting to locate an inhaler for Diego.
Holt’s true-to-life story for middle grade readers explores harrowing experiences. From them, readers will discover some key points. When we’re experiencing “heart cramps,” we may not be ready to look for silver linings or to be positive about rotten situations. Still, in order to combat anxiety, we often have to live in the moment and realize “[we’re] safe now in the spot where [we] are” (130).
Readers also come to understand the power of collaboration and making a “fruit cocktail of ideas” (137), just as surely as they recognize that “best friends aren’t anyones; they’re everything” (31).
- Posted by Donna