From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-High school sophomore Scotty Weem's narration reveals immediately that he survives southern New England's worst nor'easter ever recorded, but also that others in his group will die. The chilling story begins innocently enough as the snow starts to fall early in the day. When an early dismissal is announced, Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason finagle their way into the shop to work on Jason's project, a go-kart, until their rides come. But they soon find themselves stranded in their rural high school building with five others: pretty Krista and her friend, Julie; thuggish Les; weird Elijah; and one gruff teacher. Their cell phones don't work. Their rides don't show up. The teacher goes for help and never returns. The power goes off. As hours, then days, pass, the water stops, the heat goes off, and they get increasingly hungry, cold, and scared. Readers might speculate about what they should have done, could have done, if stuck in their place, but the author does an admirable job of keeping the tone and plot appropriately sophomoric, i.e., they don't always do the right thing, but do the best they can with knowledge and skills even they recognize are inadequate. The climax is propelled as much by the teens' interpersonal conflicts as by Jason's improbable deus ex machina from the shop. Teens should enjoy reading this survival story with their feet up in front of a toasty fire.-Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s a setup just plausible enough to give you chills. A nor’easter, which will ultimately be known as the worst blizzard in U.S. history, sweeps into a rural New England community, trapping seven kids inside their high school for days. Northrop begins with some dark foreshadowing—“Not all of us made it”—which makes the students’ gradual realization of their predicament all the more frightening. First the snow piles up past the windows; then the water pipes freeze; then the roof starts making ominous noises. What begins as a sort of life-or-death The Breakfast Club (there’s the delinquent, the pretty girl, the athlete, and so on) quickly turns into a battle for survival. The book is too short; in many ways, that’s a compliment. Northrop establishes so many juicy conflicts and potential disasters that you long to see them carried out to their full, gruesome potential. Instead, the book ends right when it’s hitting its stride—but there’s no denying that the pages turn like wildfire. Grades 7-10. --Daniel Kraus