"Trapped" by Michael Northrop

A fair warning: If you read this book, Mother Nature might decide to wrap up some bad weather with a bow and send it your way. Last week, it was uncommonly warm--We had weather in the low 70s (about 20 degrees Celsius)! The night I finished reading Trapped by Michael Northrop, we had howling winds (Seriously. They were going 40-50 mph. Yowch!), which set the mood nicely and made me feel more intimately-acquainted with the story. Reading a book about snow is just asking for trouble, though! We had a dusting yesterday, then woke up to a few inches of snow today. So y'all can blame me for the freaky weather. Or blame this book--It's all totally Michael Northrop's fault!

Trapped is centered around seven high school students who are stuck in school on their own for a week due to a severe Nor'easter hovering over New England thanks to a cold front from the north and a warm front from the south. The kids were all waiting for rides from their parents and didn't take the early dismissal buses. At first, history teacher and assistant football coach Mr. Gossell waits with them, but after going out to find help, he never returns and the students are left on their own.

The book is narrated by Scotty, who stayed after with his two friends to work on a go-cart until a parent could pick them up. They're accompanied by the school's hottest freshman and her female best friend, the sophomore bully, and a strange boy no one knows too well. Everyone spends the first night in the gym on top of some mats, hoping someone will come and save them. By the morning, it's still snowing and you can't even get out the door. They're officially snowed in. Hijinks such as raiding the cafeteria for food ensue as the students come to know one another in their quest for survival. The book soon takes a serious turn. Early on in the novel, Scotty mentions that not everyone will make it through the week. Northrop builds the suspense by detailing the way the pipes freeze so that no one can have any water, the way the power goes out, leaving no electricity or heat, and the way too much snow collapses a part of the roof.

Just picking up this book is enough to send a shiver down a reader's spine. First, there's the cover--The school is BURIED beneath all that snow. You can barely see the doors, let alone get inside. Plus, everything is dark--no lights anywhere. I would hate to be trapped there! Opening the book to the first page, readers are greeted with this:

There's snow EVERYWHERE, throwing you into the moment. This is one bad-ass blizzard, folks. Whenever a chapter starts, snow appears at varying levels across the top. For example:

As you read, you are constantly reminded that it's cold and snowing. Northrop continues to build suspense by alluding to things yet to come, leaving you on the edge of your toes. I was so happy to be snug in my comforter as I read this book.

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading Trapped. While I didn't care for the way Northrop chose to end the novel, I can see why he did it. This is definitely a novel for book groups and classrooms. There's so much to discuss and ponder. I have a lot of "what ifs" in my head thanks to this book. I'm also not sure I ever want to see snow again!


  1. Haha, we got the same weather system here! Definitely good weather to read a book like this.

    I'm glad to hear you liked it. I'm looking forward to reading it. The only thing I'm really wary about is how well the characters handle the situation. I love survival stories, but they can be really frustrating when the characters don't do the smartest things. :P

  2. Oh wow, what a brilliant design!

  3. This sounds really great. I'm scared though about the ending. I think the most alluring part is you said there is so much to discuss and ponder. I like reading books which make you think!

  4. @Small Review: This weather is KILLING me. I was like, "Really? Did you HAVE to make me shovel one more time before my trip?" Though even here in the desert, it's not too warm.... Warmer than back home, though! I think the situation was handled pretty realistically. They're teenagers. I think there was more that could have happened, but it didn't feel extreme. You'll have to tell me how you think Northrop handled it!

    @Marissa: Isn't it fabulous? It makes you cold and keeps in the moment. I love when books do that!

    @Gina: The ending isn't scary, so don't be scared! I was afraid this book was going to turn Lord of the Flies with the kids all eating each other, but they broke into the cafeteria instead, so I was so relieved! This is a book that you'll make a discussion post for if you read it, I think!

  5. That cover is gorgeous. It's mysterious, eerie...Glad you enjoyed reading Trapped, I've never heard of it before but it does sound interesting.

    I'm a new follower btw ;)

  6. @ Majanka:

    Welcome to my blog! I'm so glad you found me and enjoyed this review. You're right, it's definitely an eerie cover. What a good word for it! Just looking at it gives me shivers. So much snow...


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