Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop


Title: Trapped

Author: Michael Northrop

Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 978-0545210126


May Contain Spoilers


Trapped is a timely book that I decided to read during a period of cold and snow, while huddled under three comforters.  The premise is fascinating; it’s like one of my worst nightmares.  What would happen if it started to snow – and didn’t stop?  For days and days? And you were trapped in a cold school, without power, a comfortable place to sleep, and the growing fear that you were going to be stuck there for a long, long time?  Scotty and some of his less fortunate classmates get to experience that very hardship first hand, with mixed results for me.

Scotty is talked into staying late at school with his buddies, even though it’s snowing like crazy and classes are dismissed early so everyone can get home safely.  They have a ride home arranged for later in the day, and don’t think much of the snow storm.  It’s winter, right? It’s supposed to snow.

What they don’t know is that they are about to be trapped in the school during a record setting storm that stalls on the East Coast and continues to dump, not inches, but feet, day after day, to the ground below.  The power goes out.  The pipes freeze.  The temperatures drop.  It gets very, very cold.  Suddenly, staying after school to work on a go-cart doesn’t seem like it was such a great idea.  Surviving until after the storm takes precedence over everything else.  They are trapped in the old, rickety school for the foreseeable future.  How are they going to keep from freezing to death?

The progression from mild inconvenience to life-threatening is well done. The small group of high-schoolers are irritated that they are stuck at the school, with no cell phone service and no way to get home.  When the power goes out, the tension kicks up a few notches.  I hate when the power goes out!  Ugh! This book really played on several of my more irrational phobias, and I did get caught up in Scotty’s struggle to stay warm and not panic in the face of all of the diversity he must face.

I never felt like I connected with Scotty, though, and I was disappointed that the dynamics of the group weren’t further explored.  The typical stereo-types are in attendance, but that’s really all  they are. The characters were flat, and the conflict between them didn’t ring true to me.  I couldn’t relate to Scotty, either, and I kept thinking that I would have enjoyed the book better if I was a guy.  I very rarely ever feel that way about a book, but I feel that Trapped will hold more appeal for a male reader.   Any guy bloggers out there want to test that?  Email me and I’ll send you the book for review.

Ultimately, Trapped left me disappointed, though it did keep me turning the pages.  I never wanted to set it aside, but I did want to feel more connected with the characters.  Maybe it’s Scotty’s lack of emotional response that failed to engage me. I know that I would be panic-stricken and climbing the walls in frustration.  It’s hard for me to put my finger on what exactly didn’t work for me.  All I know is I am so happy I wasn’t caught in the middle of an enormous, life-altering blizzard.

Grade: B- with C+ characters

Review copy provided by publisher

One thought on “Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop

  • March 16, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I finished this book last night and I think you are correct, male readers will connect with it better. I found the ending quite abrupt. I wanted to know what happened to the others.

Comments are closed.