Trapped by Michael Northrop – A Blizzard, Seven Stranded Students, and Teenage Hormones, Book Review

A relentless Tuesday morning snowfall prompts an early dismissal at Tattawa Regional High School in a rural New England town. Seven students (five sophomore boys and two freshman girls) waiting for rides home, soon realize that no one is coming to their rescue. When will they be found? How will they persevere? Will they all be found alive? That’s the premise of Trapped, written by Young Adult author, Michael Northrop.

Sophomore Scotty Weems narrates the group’s ordeal.

It soon becomes Survival of the Fittest. The students raid their lockers, searching for items to assuage their entrapment, including sweatshirts, gym clothes, and snack-packs of Oreos. “Any sharing or trading would be done among friends. I guess this was when we started keeping secrets,” says Scotty.

Two of Scotty’s friends, Pete Dubois and Jason Gillispie are among the stranded. Scotty describes Pete as a normal sophomore who wasn’t super hip or incredibly smart. Jason spends the limited daylight in the Industrial Arts room working on his go-kart project named, Flammenwerfer (German for flamethrower).

The students endure dead cell phone reception; sleeping on cold, hard tile floors; using bathrooms with soon-to-be frozen pipes; and forty-degree hallways.

As their nightmare continues, the clan brazenly decides to break into the cafeteria to quench their hunger. Canned peaches in heavy syrup, pudding, and half pints of white and chocolate milk are among their finds.

Scotty is torn between obeying invisible authority and acquiescing to the group’s cafeteria pilferage plan. He fears the robbery will affect his position on the school’s basketball team.

Trapped illustrates how people can be perceived differently, depending on the situation. During school time, stranded student, Les Goddard is known as a thug, and often detention-bound. Yet, he proves invaluable as a locksmith, able to break into desirable areas, including the cafeteria and nurse’s office. “The day before I’d been half afraid just to be around Les,” says Scotty.

Resourcefulness reigns, as the students use blankets from the nurse’s office and a battery-operated radio to listen to weather updates.

Teenage hormones accentuate the students’ experience, as Scotty is attracted to freshman, Krista O’Rea: “Just that morning, I’d spent about twenty quality minutes staring at the back of her neck on the bus, wordless and possibly drooling.” Pete and Julie Anders, Krista’s best friend, steal away in the darkness for kissing too.

Contemporary references to reality television star, Snooki and songstress Lady Gaga complement the young adult narrative.

Yes, Trapped is written for a youthful audience. Regardless of your age, you’ll find yourself wondering how you would act under similar conditions, perhaps stranded at your workplace or a civic group meeting.

Northrop’s well-written narrative and surprise ending authenticate Trapped’s accolades.

To discover other bestselling Young Adult authors and read the entire list of 2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year Nominees, visit: http://www.teenreads.com/2012-teen-choice-book-of-the-year-nominees.