Reviews for Trapped

Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
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. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Seven high school students find themselves trapped at their isolated, rural school for nearly a week when an unrelenting blizzard dumps upwards of ten feet of snow on southern New England. The first-person narrative immediately captures the claustrophobic atmosphere; it loses a little steam as it navigates the requisite obstacles for survival and the evolving group dynamic to an abrupt resolution. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 January #2
When a nor'easter stalls over New England, the resulting blizzard strands seven teenagers at school for a week. The stage is quickly set for an edge-of-your-seat experience as Scotty, a sophomore varsity hoops player, narrates with a chilling nonchalance even as he makes it clear that at least one person didn't survive. Telling them, "I'll be sort of like your guide through all of this," Scotty lulls readers into an ordinary morning at school, during which his biggest concern is whether the evening's game will be cancelled, then hints at the horrific things to come with images of "black smoke and blue skin." Scotty and his friends Jason and Pete hang out in shop class after early dismissal, sure that Jason's dad will pick them up. Cell phones die, parents don't arrive and the snow keeps rising, leaving the marooned students to fend for themselves. Scotty narrates from a slight remove, lending a deceptively one-dimensional feel to the cast of characters, a Breakfast Club assortment of various stereotypes from jock and goth to bad boy and hot girl. Just as he did in Gentlemen (2009), Northrop gets at the core of human nature through masterful pacing. The characters rise above their seeming limits, as the dawning realization of their worsening situation leads to acts of desperate bravery. Gripping. (Adventure. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 January #1

Northrop (Gentlemen) offers a gripping disaster story that, for its reliance on luck and coincidences to set things up, is no less exciting. Although Tattawa High School in rural New England closes early for snow, basketball player Scotty and fellow sophomores Jason and Pete stay late to work on Jason's go-kart. By the time they realize that the storm is too strong for their parents to pick them up, they're trapped along with four other students (and a teacher, who quickly leaves to seek help). They're already out of cellphone range, and when the power goes out, all hope of communicating with the outside world is lost. As the snow piles up to over 10 feet, the captive students do their best to survive and wait for help. The problems are expected--darkness, infighting, jealousy, illness, hunger--but conveyed with a tight sense of realism through Scotty's narrative voice. He tells readers early on that "not all of us made it," so the surprise is less that things keep going wrong than how they do. Northrop's solid storytelling should keep readers rapt. Ages 15-up. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 February

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

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VOYA Reviews 2011 April
A typical snowstorm stalls over a New England town only to gain strength and become an enormous nor'easter, dumping massive amounts of snow. Sophomore Scotty Weems and six other students become stranded at their high school after deciding to stay and work on a school project, a go-kart nicknamed "The Flammenwerfer." Two freshmen girls; another student, Elijah; and Les Goddard, the school's resident thug, also become stranded as the snow piles high around the school. When the lone stranded teacher braves the elements to try to find help but does not return, the students realize that what, at first, seemed like an adventure turns out to be a true struggle for survival. The kids make plans, create a place to sleep, break into the cafeteria for food, and try to figure out how to stay warm once the power goes out. As the hours turn into days, the teens' lone radio offers the one connection to the outside world. A plan to save themselves is hatched when part of the school collapses because of the snow. Ultimately the plan, which involves the go-kart, ends in a tragedy but also becomes the catalyst for a rescue Trapped convincingly depicts teens in the "worst blizzard in the history of the continental United States." The cute freshman girl, the class bully, and three good-natured friends all have the trappings of stereotypical teen characters, but Northrop avoids that territory, showing how the teens both work together and argue over important decisions. The constant reminders of the storm and the use of the radio keep the gravity of the situation in the forefront of readers' minds. While the ending is slightly abrupt, teens looking for a current survival story might be drawn into this one.--Jeff Mann 3P 3Q M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.