Elevate Difference


School is let out early because of a massive blizzard. Everyone is supposed to get home before the weather gets worse. But Scotty Weems and his friends decide to stay after for a couple hours to work on a shop project, figuring that one of their parents will be able to pick them up on the way home from work. This turns out to be a really bad (and really deadly) decision. Along with several other students and one teacher, they are trapped in the school by the snow. And it keeps coming. And coming.

It doesn’t take long before this becomes a survival story. The students must grow increasingly resourceful after their teacher leaves for help and never returns. They lose power, meaning no light or heat, and the food is locked away behind the cafeteria doors. As the snow continues piling up outside, the teens are forced to question whether they’ll ever make it out, and what will be left for them if they do.

Trapped has been compared to The Breakfast Club because the characters, like those in the classic movie, come from diverse backgrounds, initially knowing little about each other. They form snap judgments based on reputations and rumors. However, they must learn a little more about each other and work together if they ever want to make it out alive.

Michael Northrop’s Trapped is a chilling thriller that makes a perfect winter read so long as you enjoy being terrified. I read it while the snow was coming down outside, and my paranoia made the book all the better. At least while the school’s roof was shuddering from the weight of the snow, I could be curled up on my couch under several blankets drinking hot chocolate.

I would like to give a huge thumbs up to the design team for an amazing cover, and awesome images throughout the book that show the snow getting higher and higher at the start of each chapter. I assume that the final text will resemble the ARC and keep these visual elements intact.

Beyond that, Scotty Weems is an engaging, conversational narrator who I think even reluctant readers will find appealing. His simple and up-front language makes this book easy to breeze through in an evening. He comes across as a realistic teen guy. (I keep wanting to say “he’s a real boy” in Pinocchio’s voice.) This also means that he is often immature, and his language is sprinkled with “likes” and “uhs,” which didn’t bother me, but may annoy some readers.

I loved every page of Trapped, except for the very last one. I didn’t want it to end and I would have preferred more resolution and closure. I’m a needy reader; I want answers!! In all seriousness, though, this was an excellent book that surprised me by just how dark it got. I’ve heard that Northrop’s other book, Gentlemen, is similarly dark and gritty, so I’m looking forward to reading that as well.

Cross-posted at Reclusive Bibliophile

Written by: Melanie Goodman, February 17th 2011