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Trapped Hardcover – February 1, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545210127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545210126
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on December 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Scotty just wants to go home the Tuesday morning school is canceled due to the snow piling up outside. But his friends Jason and Pete convince him to stay a little longer to work in the shop, just until four o'clock when Jason's dad will pick them up. But the school slowly empties and the storm gets worse, and as the hours stretch into the evening, it becomes clear that no one is coming.

Sevens teens are stuck in the high school in the worst blizzard in a century, and no one knows that they're there. At first, it's not too bad--they have access to plenty of food and they can wait it out. But then the power and the heat go out, and the snow continues to pile higher and higher, compromising the building . The snow has them trapped inside, but even the building isn't safe anymore--will it be too late for Scotty and his friends?

Trapped is one of those gripping and chilling reads that will make you question just how likely you would be able to survive if thrust into the same situation. It's quite a spectacular story of survival, but it's very well-described, showing that Northrop really thought this situation through inside and out. His writing also shows that he really understands teens; the attitudes, the feelings, and the interactions are all done very well, and the emotions and tensions that everyone feels due to their entrapment and despair are all very realistic. Northrop also makes really good use of foreshadowing as Scotty alludes to some fatal consequences of the storm at the beginning of the story, making the book seem a bit foreboding before the snow even really begins to fall. The ending was powerful and abrupt, but it does leave you wondering about the fate of so many people, most of which aren't revealed, or are left up to the reader's imagination. This is a quick, unsettling read that will be easy to get into, but not so easy to leave once you've finished.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Trapped by Michael Northrop follows a group of seven kids as they are stuck inside their school during a massive snow storm. At first the kids treat the experience like a sleepover, but as the electricity goes out, the pipes freeze and the roof starts to shudder the teens face many difficult decisions.

Trapped is a engrossing adventure novel that teens will enjoy. It is a very fast read that even reluctant readers will feel compelled to finish. The author does a fantastic job creating realistic characters that will speak to teen readers (epically the boys).

Appropriateness: This isn't a book that parents will find upsetting. While there are some gross jokes and gross topics the book is sex and drug free. The romances that do develop are short and uneventful. I would gauge the interest level at 12 and up. The lexile score is 740 putting it at a sixth or seventh grade reading level.

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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I first picked up 'Trapped' hoping it would provide a thrilling tale of survival against the elements ala 'Hatchet' or perhaps a study of social dynamics as in 'Lord of the Flies' or even 'The Breakfast Club'. Considering the setting the author chose (seven kids stranded in the mother of all snowstorms) it shouldn't have been difficult to come up with an engaging story. Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

The story fails to deliver for three reasons. First is that Northrop failed to develop the characters enough that I could connect with them and care what happened to them. Little effort is made to develop their personalities or to get the reader in touch with their thoughts and fears. It would make sense that the students would be concerned about what their families are going through but hardly anyone mentions them at all. They all came off as two-dimensional and, as such, it was difficult to work up any concern for what happens to them.

The second problem I have with the story is that I found a lot of what happens implausible. I don't have a problem the storm, mind you, although I doubt such a massive storm would have happened with no warning whatsoever. My concerns are with what the kids did or didn't do in their efforts to survive. In the story they burned 2x4s in a can to keep warm which seems unlikely as they never mentioned where they got the 2x4s or how they cut them up. It would have made more sense to light bunsen burners in the chemistry lab or acetylene torches in the shop to keep warm. If I were in such a situation I would have ransacked the lost-and-found and every room, desk drawer and closet trying to find extra clothing, cell phones, spare batteries, or anything else that might help keep them alive.
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Format: Paperback
I am baffled at how this has five and four star reviews at all. Frankly I've read much, much better fanfiction. I'm unsure how this was even published, let alone published hardback. Let's go over the many, many problems, shall we?

Characters. What characters? In all 170 pages the kids in this story don't make me care about them at all. They are flat, uninteresting stereotypes, and the main character seems more interested in getting into the pants of one of the 'hotties' than, you know, surviving this deadly winter storm. Speaking of, is it even possible to get twenty feet of snow in America? Ten feet I have heard of, albeit in Canada, and if the plot was at all strong I would have been able to suspend my disbelief on the weather conditions.

Oh, and lets continue. At the very beginning the main character talks about how people die. One person dies. Twenty pages from the end. For no conceivable reason, plot or other wise. It was pure stupidity. And you know what? I didn't even care. The ending its self was a poorly executed Deus Ex Machina. I was led to believe this would be a survival horror, but honestly if the kids involved weren't idiots and perhaps actual characters there wouldn't have been much issue. Ditto, the single teacher mentioned at the beginning who left to get hope and then vanished from the plot and essentially the characters minds.

Please, do not waste your time or money on this. If you're looking for other much better books with a similar premise (surviving a natural disaster) go for Life as We Knew It and the other books in the series.
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