Trapped - by Michael Northrop

"It was like I could actually see the snow piling up, covering the cars, the windows becoming more and more black."

This is no "run of the mill" survival story. Trapped by Michael Northrop, is about 7 kids who get trapped in one of the most unlikely places: their own high school. A major blizzard, known as a "nor'easter", is stalled right above them and just keeps dumping snow on them, to the point where they must move to the second floor just to see out the window. Many injuries and cold experiences later, Scotty Weems, the main character, and his two friends Pete and Jason, have a daring plan.

This book was a great book.I started it and I couldn't put it back down. I would sometimes look out my window to make sure it isn't snowing, even though it was in the beginning of fall and warm outside. Northrop shows he understands the thoughts and attitudes of kids in high school, such as when Scotty keeps his Oreos so he could trade them for other things.

The book is written in first person. This severely limits character development, but by doing this Northrop creates anxiety, because you have no idea what each character will act like when trapped under all that snow. Suspicions are formed, alliances made, and some romance (which leads to severe consequences) are included in the story. These suspicions also add to anxiety.

In my opinion, some of the romance is unnecessary. It stands in the way of showing their fear, but I can see he added it to show how they all tried to just forget about the snow in any way possible. Also it adds to the anxiety because it causes some commotion and hostility between some people, because there were only two girls and seven kids in all.

Of all the things that Northrop does successfully in this book, imagery is above all else. It was like I could actually see the snow piling up, covering the cars, the windows becoming more and more black. I could smell and hear the things in the shop, the collapse of the roof, I could feel their fear. Above all else, I could feel the cold.

Among other things, I found this book good because it was particularly easy to read, no necessarily huge vocabulary and no strange sentences. As compared to the The Lord of the Rings this book was like shooting the broad side of a barn, so easy it was almost effortless. At the same time, as stated above, he does a great job with the imagery, using simple words that are common descriptive words with general meanings, so not only do you have a good sense of what it all feels like, but you can use your imagination to come up with some of the details.

Some things I found distasteful were the not-so-elaborate alliances and the ending. The alliances were not described enough in my opinion, not giving us enough information on character development; but again, all this creates anxiety, so it is not entirely bad. As for the ending, it was like that great book that you read and you wonder why you don't have many pages left but you still haven't gotten to the ending, and therefore the ending is not very good. One of the things Northrop keeps referring to it Scotty's mom, but he does not resolve this at the end. This is the major thing that I thought could have been included and the anxiety is not necessarily lost.

Overall, I thought Trapped was a great book, except for the ending. Almost everything Northrop does in this book adds to anxiety, which is the main emotion kindled. Northrop uses imagery greatly, to the extent where it feels as if you are being buried alive by snow. Last of all, he captures the fear of kids in high school very well.

   - Sam M.