Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trapped - Michael Northrop

Title: Trapped
Author: Michael Northrop
Publisher: Scholastic, 2011 (Hardcover)
Length: 232 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Realistic Fiction
Started: July 26, 2011
Finished: July 27, 2011

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....

I saw this book and thought "oooh, surviving a massive snowstorm locked up inside your high school with 6 other kids, this should be awesome!"...famous last words. Normally I love survival stories, but this one just didn't measure up for a lot of reasons.

First off, and this could be biased because I'm Canadian and well, we have our fair share of snowstorms (but not any more than some places in the northern USA), but the whole reason why these kids find themselves trapped in the school in the first place just reeks of stupidity, like unrealistic stupidity. The school closes early due to the storm (which is normal in insane winter weather), and the buses take all the kids home. Scotty, the main character, and his friends Pete and Jason, decide to stay late at school to work on a go-kart and have a parent pick them up later....hello?! you know it's snowing and it's intensifying and yet the school closing early isn't enough of a sign that you should get your assess home? Plus, with weather reports as they are, where I live most parents and teachers warn their kids the day before or the day of an anticipated major storm to get their buts home safely. Also, the kids have cell phones and they don't think to text or call their parents a little before the massive pile-up of snow? I don't know, maybe again this is because I'm Canadian and we're over cautious about any major snow storms, but the behaviour of these kids is just plain stupid, as in "you deserve to freeze to death stupid". And it's not like they're from a place that never sees any snow either, so I can't even contribute it to that.

The writing style was grating and annoying. The novel is narrated by Scotty in the first person, but his narration is written like dialogue strung together, it sounds like listening to a bunch of low-achieving 15-year-olds in the cafeteria. I know this "written like teens talk" style is great for certain types of readers, like a lot of boys that are reluctant readers, but I personally prefer my books not to treat me like I'm illiterate and can't handle a more sophisticated style of writing (heck even a lot of teen readers prefer a more sophisticated style than this had). Also, the characters aren't developed at all, it's pretty much Scotty's understandings of the other characters that we see, since the characters don't really have deep conversations, which you think they would with nothing better to do.

Good premise, but poorly executed and disappointing.

Thoughts on the cover:
Meh. Not horrible, but granted there's not much of a cover you could make differently for this type of book.

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