Monday, June 6, 2011

Trapped by Michael Northrop

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 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....

First Look: ***** The day I went to the library, I was thinking about how long I could survive if I was locked inside my high school. Then I saw this. I couldn't not pick it up!  By the way, I feel contradictory writing this review, because right now I'm sitting in my swimsuit and it's 80 degrees and sunny outside.

Setting: ****
The setting was, well, a high school.  About the most mundane, boring setting that ever existed.  But Northrop did a good job with it. Just by plopping some snow all around, he twisted it into something spooky and scary and even deadly. I liked it! It somehow reminded me of the FAYZ.

Characters: *****
I was to the point where I wanted to see all of the characters survive, but that was about the extent of it.  They all seemed a bit stereotypical.  Les was the average misunderstood detention-goer, Pete and Jacob and Scotty were just...normal, and the girls were just stereotypical "hot chicks" (more on "chicks" later).  Elijah was the only one who actually had an intriguing personality.  He was very mysterious. 

Plot: *****
I don't have a whole lot to say about the plot.  I liked the intensity, and I liked how a survival story was turned into some sort of dystopian.  It was spooky in places, and it had some humor.  And people died.  I won't say who, though. ;)

Uniqueness: ***** 
At heart it was a survival story along the lines of Hatchet with a bit of the Gone series' conflicts between characters thrown in. But I've never read this kind of survival story before.

Writing: *****
It would've been a three star, if not for the needless slang.  I understand that many teenagers overuse the word "like", but that doesn't mean the narration has to include it. It was, like, annoying beyond belief.  Let's face it...nobody wants to, like, read all of those, like, likes. I don't care if it's, like, realistic.  (See what I did, there?)  And although the word "chick" wasn't overused, it drove me nuts anyway because I hate using the word in that way. We're girls, not little fluffy yellow premature chickens.*

Likes:
I really liked the concept.  And the fact that it just happened to coincide with my thoughts was cool. And besides, I'm always fascinated by the interactions between groups of people in small, enclosed spaces for long periods of time. (Yep, that's weird. I know.)

Not-so-great:
Right now, all of the pop culture references are current, but I don't think they'll hold up in a few years.  And...devastating decision?  Oh, come on.  It was so obvious.

Total Score: ****
More like a 3.5 or so, but I rounded up.  This was a pretty good read.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything especially spectacular.  At the core it was a survival story, nicely twisting an ordinary high school into something deadly.  The writing wasn't great, but the plot kept the pages turning. It even had a little romance, if you like that kind of thing (but not too much for people like me, who don't). And besides, it reminded me of our good ol' Minnesota winters.


*Not that some of us don't act like it.

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