Synopsis: 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....
There is a lot of good about this book, most notably for me, is the voice of Scotty Weems, the main character. He is definitely a guy and his friends are definitely guys. This book could have been told by my brother when he was in high school, the phrases were uttered in much the same tone and sense of young male contempt. Scotty is just a regular high school guy. He is not necessarily a jock or really popular, he is just going about the business of high school best as he can. He is still best friends with his two childhood guy friends, Pete and Jason, and they get along in school. But on this particular day, everything is different because Scotty, Jason, Pete and four other students have been locked inside the school, without a ride, as a powerful snow storm hits.
School is often portrayed as a safe haven, a place where, even if it's not fun to be there, at least you know you have some warmth and food coming your way. In Trapped, that image plays out in a macabre fashion because the old school building the students are trapped into becomes anything but safe. Sure, it is a lark at first to be locked up with classmates, thinking at least tomorrow you will get home and things will go back to normal, but when that does not happen, the teens start to realize that the snow has a different plan in mind.
And in fact, that is another strength of the book. The snow seems to take on a life force of its own, becoming its own character, giving hope, then taking that away swiftly. Bringing death and destruction and cold. But its done in a rather spooky fashion that befits the idea of Trapped which is I guess survival.
This is a swift read that builds tension throughout the story. You will know certain things right up front because Scotty tells you some of what to expect so some tension is lost but the mystery is in how things unfold and what the snow has in store for the teens.
Trapped does a great job of creating an ominous atmosphere to watch the world struggle. The school becomes dark, eerie, without power. It grows increasingly colder and reminded me of a morgue or an icebox, the kids being the meat that is locked in. Fortunately, there are moments of levity that keep this story from turning into a Donner Party tragedy.
I hate to categorize a book as a "guy" or "girl" read but Michael Northrop does a great job with an authentic male voice. Given he is male himself, I'd hope it would work out, but it's easy to be let down I think. What I liked about this male narrative in particular was that it did not rely on all immature jokes or typical teen guy humor I guess (which I think of more with Carter Finally Gets It or Swim the Fly). Scotty and his friends do make some typical guy jokes but when it comes down to it, this isn't a funny book so they can't really naturally behave that way. They do have to use their wits and in fact, they do step up to the plate. It's not always the brightest ideas but they make do.
Northrop does a great job of exploring what teens may be worrying about, as in this quote:
It might not sound like much, but I hadn't been online for like two solid days, and it was starting to freak me out.
The last time was Tuesday morning, before school, and that was just to answer some e-mails, respond to some comments, and play a few games: just the morning maintenance stuff. By now, I'd have a ton of emails and comments and posts. Everyone would be checking in, seeing if I was OK, and stuff like that. Plus, my energy counter would be completely topped off in Mafia Wars--if I didn't use it, it wouldn't refill, which was just a huge waste--and my ship would be fixed by now in Scurvvy Piratez.
This, with the exception of Mafia Wars and Piratez, is so stuff I'd be worrying about too during this entrapment. Yes, it's rather shallow but it's true. I'd be dreading tackling my inbox again.
After reading several different posts about this book, I don't think I could end my review without mentioning the ending which is very abrupt. After days of buildup with the snow, I truly was expecting a bit more closure than what happened. But at the same time, I had a a thrilling enough ride with the majority of the book that the ending did not spoil the entire story for me.
Trapped reminded me of both the thrills and the chills of snow. Michael Northrop's twisted writing ideas make for great teen stories and stories that any teen will be able to read and enjoy.
Ticket To Anywhere reviews Trapped
Stacked reviews Trapped
The Compulsive Reader reviews Trapped
ARC reviewed from Amazon Vine.