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January 31

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Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop

by Ann-Katrina

Trapped cover Title: Trapped
Author: Michael Northrop
ISBN: 978-054521-0126
Story Length: 240 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological Thriller

Back Cover of Trapped

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive.

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But the power goes out, and the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the day adds up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision…

Three Quick Points About Trapped

  • Point 1: A smooth read. There was nothing difficult in the reading. One word flowed into the next, one sentence into the next, and one paragraph into the next.
  • Point 2: Underwhelming characters. Each character seemed like a slightly varied stock template, from the bully who wasn’t so bad after all to the hormonally challenged teenage boy to the super hot blond.
  • Point 3: A pressure cooker with too little pressure. The students’ situation was dire, no doubt about it, but there wasn’t enough character variation to spark true conflict.

Short Synopsis of Trapped

Seven different students are trapped in a high school when a freak snowstorm (a nor’easter) blows into town and they must fend for themselves for nearly a week and when it becomes too difficult to bear, find a means of escape.

My Thoughts on Trapped

I’ve always been a fan of the pressure cooker. That’s what I call stories where a group of diverse people are thrown into an unamenable situation together and the pressure increases until something finally goes snap. (Think Lord of the Flies or Alive.)

So, when I read the synopsis of Trapped my mind reeled from all the possibilities. I forsook all the other books on my TBR pile to read this one. And despite the commendable writing (very smooth, sometimes funny, and easy to digest prose), halfway through I began thinking that I probably shouldn’t have read it directly after watching Exam, a great low-budget example of a pressure cooker story.

Trapped started well enough with Scotty, the narrator, worried about the snow canceling his basketball game and deftly segued into the students being trapped in the school and how they came to be there. It began faltering, however, as time went on and not much happened by way of character development or action.

The cast included Scotty, the not your typical jock, Jason, the kid who seemed the most likely to have a sniper rifle in his locker, Pete, the typical teenage boy, Les, the big badass bully, Elijah, the not your typical goth, Krista, the super hot blond girl, and Julie, the super hot blond girl’s friend. Unfortunately, these characters weren’t fully developed and tried so hard not to be clichés that they became clichés.

I could have forgiven the bland characters had something of consequence happened in the story, beyond the kids being cold and annoyed by having to pee in a literal can, but very little did happen. There was a fist fight and a death (not as a result of said fist fight, sorry). That’s pretty much it. It was like The Breakfast Club, but with less depth.

Despite the flat characters and lack of pressure, this was an enjoyable read. The writing had such forward momentum that it was almost impossible not to finish, plus it was a fast read. So, if you’re looking for something quick and mildly thrilling to pass a stormy afternoon, this would do the trick.

Rating: Get It Used [C+] (?)

Comments on Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop

  1. # MonDay Mallace wrote on February 24, 2011 at 9:24 am:

    We were writing this story!
    Mon and Day (yeah, we’re two different people) here, and we were practically writing this! We were so excited to come up with such an orginial idea, and while it’s true that we definitley have some aspects that this Michael Northrop dude doesn’t, it would now look like we were just idea-stealing cheapskates if we ever attempted to get published. Even our cover idea was similiar!
    This is torturous. At least I can hope ours is better, since you seemed to find “Trapped” somewhat underwhelming.
    At least we had a different title.

  2. # Ally wrote on December 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm:

    it was great.

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