Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Trapped

 Author:  Michael Northrop
Format:  Hardcover, 232 pp
Release date: February 2011
Publisher:  Scholastic Press (who else?)
Genre:  Young Adult (Lexile: 750L)

From the publisher:
  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 found this book refreshing. Maybe it was because I was reading about a snowstorm in 90+ degree heat, but I think it was more to do with the story itself. No vampires or aliens. No witches or strange magical powers. What it did have was a strong lead voice who I think anyone can relate to and an entirely plausible premise. The author does a great job of bringing you right into that New England high school. Even someone who has never experienced a true Nor'easter will have no trouble picturing the snow mounting and feel the chill developing within the isolated school. I loved that the chapter headers start low and move farther up the page as the book goes on and snow piles up under them. Even the cover with its pale icy blue color and smoothness almost feels cooler to the touch than it should.

This book was a quick, fun read.  My only complaint was that maybe it was a bit too quick. I read a few reviews from people who hated the abruptness of the ending, but I disagree. I felt the ending was appropriate -- anything more would have taken away from the focus of the story. But, I did believe that the part leading up to the ending could have been expanded a bit. I was just starting to enjoy the tension and then all of a sudden, it was over. I wanted more exploring and looting of the school (no library to curl up in?) and better development of the secondary characters (especially the girls!), but overall I really enjoyed this book and getting "trapped" for a few days with the kids of Tattawa High School.

Book:  3.5/5    Cover/Design: 5/5 

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