Trapped by Michael Northrop

Michael Northrop Trapped

232 pp.  Scholastic Press (Scholastic Inc.) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-545-21012-6

Full Disclosure: Purchased copy

Summary (From Goodreads):  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 then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. . . .

I decided to read Trapped because it is one of the few books listed for the Contemps Challenge that is told from a guy’s point of view.  If you follow my blog, you know that I’m always on the hunt for great guy books.  The plot really drew me in also.  I’m sure many of us at one time or another have wondered what it would be like to spend the night at school or simply be in school without adult supervision.  Adding in a powerful snow storm certainly added to the intrigue.

First of all, I really like how the picture for the cover wraps around the entire book; not enough books have that extra detail.  I also like how the beginning of each chapter shows snow falling and gathering on the ground.  It gives us an idea of what Scotty is looking through the school windows.  Now I don’t know if others who’ve read this caught on faster than I did, but I think I was about 3/4 through when I realized that there was less and less falling snow pictured at the beginning of the chapters.  Once I realized this I flipped back a few chapters to see the amount of snow building higher and higher, just like it does outside Scotty’s school.  I guess I’m not that observant, but I blame being sucked into the story 😉

The story itself was enjoyable, despite feeling kind of claustrophobic as the characters felt more trapped by the snow.  Scotty starts the story after having already gone through the whole ordeal, and he often drops hints about what’s to come.  The hints definitely kept me reading, like this one for example: “I’ll be sort of like your guide through all of this.  Some of the others might’ve seen things differently, and some of them might’ve told it better, but you don’t get to pick.  You don’t because, for one thing, not all of us made it.”  As I continued reading, I kept asking myself “Who’s not going to make it?” 

After a while though I needed something more to happen.  The kids are trapped in the school, the light is dimming, the snow is gathering, etc.  Some of the dynamics between characters helped the plot and so did Scotty’s honesty.  He’s worried about his mom and getting home, but he’s also worried about his monster zit grossing out his crush, Krista.   I know I’d be worried about smelling and looking bad in front of my crush after a few days without a shower.  And even though I wanted to keep reading, I also wanted something more dramatic to happen.  Towards the end, which I won’t give away, the story added a much-needed element or two of suspense.  I wasn’t thrilled with the last chapter, and I’ll leave the reason for you to decide on your own.

A few of my students came to mind when I was reading this, and I’m excited to recommend it to one in particular this week.  This particular student is a senior this year and he hasn’t read anything he likes since finding Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet in middle school.  Hopefully he’ll find a new favorite in Trapped.


  1. I first saw this title last week on Guys Lit Wire
    ( With all the snow we’ve had
    recently, it seems quite appropriate. I’ll keep it in mind for all
    my Gary Paulsen fans in middle school.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I thought it was supposed to release in February, so I was excited when I found it at Borders. Thanks for letting me know about that site 🙂 If this turns out to be a hit with my Paulsen fans (like I think it will), I’ll be sure to let you know!

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  3. You know, I really wasn’t all that impressed with this one, which made me sad. 🙁 I had wanted to really, really like it, but it just… didn’t really do it for me. Glad you liked it and I hope it was awesome for that kid you had in mind!

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I was disappointed in the ending. My boys in class, and a few of the girls, went crazy over this title. That’s the most important thing to me–whether my students will like the books I bring into my classroom.

      • I completely agree- If it gets kids reading, I consider it a very positive book, even I didn’t love it. SO glad your students really enjoyed it!

  4. What is the point of view that it is told from though?

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