Review: Trapped by Michael Northrop

Trapped by Michael Northrop

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. . . .

Title: Trapped
Author: Michael Northrop
Publication date: February 1, 2011

Trapped could easily have been a 4-star book — if only it hadn’t ended so badly. WHAT WAS THAT? I seriously have so many questions. This is possibly a spoiler but I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to happen at some point. Near the end of the book, help from far away (Tennessee) arrives in the area. HOW? There’s eighteen feet of snow! (Yes, eighteen.) Help would come, but I think it would take a little longer, especially since it hadn’t even stopped snowing. Even snowplows couldn’t get through the snow. (“Drivers froze in their snowplows.”)

There were other problems, too, but I was willing to overlook them up until the author refused to give us an actual ending. Did he decide to have a sandwich and then got distracted? Was he running up against a deadline and didn’t have time to finish? No, I’m afraid he deliberately chose to end his book this way. In some circles it’s probably considered ~creative. I call it stupid.

Some of the problems that bothered me:

  • Why didn’t the kids look for an interior room? You know, one with no windows, or at least a room with fewer windows? I mean, yeah, it was dark after the power went out, but a room without windows would have been WARMER. And it’s not like they were trying to read or anything. They were pretty much just sitting around.
  • Since they insisted on sitting in the hallway with floor-to-ceiling windows and then in classrooms with windows, why didn’t they try to read to occupy their time? Schools have libraries. I know their school has one because Elijah used to sit in there all the time, before the storm.
  • Or maybe they could have tried to play basketball or run laps in the gym to keep busy and to keep warm.

Those issues aside, I did enjoy most of Trapped. It’s not a deep book, but it kept me interested. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to every member of the group and how long they were going to be trapped in the school. I didn’t necessarily care about them — any one of them could have died and I wouldn’t have been upset — but I was curious. I liked reading about the problems they encountered and seeing how they found solutions.

Despite mentions of, or maybe allusions to, sex, Trapped seems to be on the younger side of the YA spectrum. It just seems kind of simple. The characters are freshmen and sophomores and they’re not very well-developed. This book is definitely plot-driven rather than character-driven. The characters are just kids trying to survive in a blizzard without any adult guidance. They make mistakes, like people do.

I hesitate to recommend Trapped, even though I did like most of it, because so many reviews on Goodreads mention the lack of ending. It really seems to have affected others the way it did me. Fans of survival/disaster stories will probably like it, as long as they don’t go into it expecting a complete ending.

3 stars



  1. I like the cover! And I like the premise, too. Still, based on the ending, I think it would leave me majorly disappointed, so I probably won’t pick it up.
    Kim@Time2Read recently posted…2015 Reading Recap – Part IIMy Profile

  2. Yeah, if the entire driving tension if the book is death-high-stakes in a man vs nature conflict, it seems like a cop-out to not end it. :/
    I probably won’t pick it up, but thanks for the review! Also, did the kids try lighting a fire? Because if it was at my high school, 100% of the boys would’ve taken that opportunity to try to Bear Gryllis a fire from library books or something.
    Beth W recently posted…Book and a Cuppa SwapMy Profile

  3. I have not heard of this book before. it sounds so interesting but the lack of ending kind of scares me. I need completion in my life.