A little over two weeks ago I got a HUGE Scholastic order. I placed my kiddos orders and went on a book buying spree with some of my excess bonus points- I got a stack for the class, a stack for Madeline, and a stack for me. In my stack was Trapped by Michael Northrop. I read a quick blurb and added it to the list.
Since it is relatively short (240 pages), I picked this off the pile to read first.
Trapped is a YA novel about a crazy nor'easter, seven high schoolers, one teacher, and a big empty school.
The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. . . .
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision.
I liked the premise of this book a lot. Being from upstate NY, I'm quite used to a heavy nor'easter every winter and a blizzard every few years... and I love everything about both- the idea of being snowed in is a favorite of mine... now, I don't like when it lasts for-ev-errrrr, BUT I do enjoy a good winter. Trapped immediately peaked my interest with the abundance of snow. I also love survivalism so the aspect of teens staying alive in a high school during a major winter storm is also appealing to me.
Trapped starts out pretty quick- within the first few chapters you already know that a big storm is brewing and the kids will be hunkering down in the school soon. The group of kids left in the school is quite the little mix, and I liked that Northrop did that- adds a little underlying story to the book. We get to know the characters by proxy. Narrated by Scotty, we hear his take on his peers and what is going on. Very high school cliche with the "cliques" but I guess a YA novel based in a high school should have some of that!
Northrop did a great job building suspense with the storm. His descriptions of the snow and the drifting was very visual- while reading I kept thinking it was snowing.. when in reality, it wasn't. He also describes the bitter cold so well that I was bundled up or in the tub while reading... granted, it IS freezing right now in upstate NY, but still.
I thought that this novel had just enough in way of extra story lines (the clique stuff, angsty teens, flirting, and some hints at romance) to suit the story. Not so much that it was in the way of the big picture - um hello, crazy ass blizzard - but enough to add a bit more dimension to the characters and story itself.
As for the blizzard... slightly grandiose and a bit fantastical, but believable if that makes sense. The idea of getting stuck in the school was also believable in this story.. the storm was bad enough that it seemed plausible that parents couldn't get to the school to grab their kids. As for the teens in the school, I do think Northrop could've amped up their survival skills. If *I* was trapped in a school, I sure as hell would've scavenged every single room and locked I could get into to get supplies to keep myself alive. These kids did some of that, but not nearly as much as I've hoped. It was a bit of a letdown that the story didn't showcase more survival skills. Oh well. The only other issue I had was the ending- it was very abrupt. Again, I thought it was somewhat believable but I just wasn't totally sold on the idea. Plus, it was just to clean and fresh of an ending. It needed a bit more.
Overall, I did quite enjoy this book. The ending may have bugged me, but it didn't ruin the story. Trapped was a fun and short read that was exactly what I needed in between my bulky reads. Now I think I am going to go check the forecast and make sure I'm prepared for whatever disaster the weather channel might throw my way. Haha!
Ps: don't you just love the cover?.. very ominous.
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow