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“The oversized goggles he was wearing made him look like a bug, and safety lectures from bugs are hard to take seriously,” Scotty. –Trapped
by Michael Northrop
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers
When the snow started falling, students were excited to be released from school early. Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up. But as the snow continues to fall, they realize that no one is coming for them. The boys aren’t too upset about staying the night at the school, especially because there are two pretty girls who are stuck with them.
At first, being trapped in the school doesn’t seem so terrible. After all, they are safe from the snow, and there’s enough food to feed 400 students for a week. But then the power goes out, then the heat, and then the pipes freeze. The students watch as the snow continues to fall. As the days pass, the snow inches higher and higher. Suddenly, the roof shudders and begins to cave in. How will they survive in a freezing school that is in danger of crushing them? Should someone set out for help?
Told from Scotty’s point of view, the story uses a matter-of-fact tone to discuss the disastrous blizzard. Although Scotty is clearly worried about the snow, he also worries about typical teen issues—missing basketball, talking to a pretty girl, getting rid of a big zit, and keeping the peace. Readers will be drawn into the suspenseful story not only because of the impending disaster, but also because Scotty is a relatable teen.
Scotty is trapped in the school with several people that he considers stereotypical teens. He thinks that one boy is a trouble maker and the other is an emotionally disturbed goth. However, when Scotty is forced to spend time with the two boys, he realizes that his perception of them was incorrect.
The ending is abrupt, and although the reader learns what happens to many of the characters, the conclusion does not answer all of the questions about who lives or dies. The story will make readers question why the characters withheld information that may have led to the death of another. The quick read will leave readers wondering what they would do in a similar situation. Trapped is an engaging story that both reluctant and strong readers will enjoy.
- A boy said that he was going to go to the dance “‘cause I’m going to get me some.” The boy was planning on going to the dance with a girl with whom he had, “gotten his hands up her shirt just last week.”
- Scotty thinks that his friend snuck off to make out with a girl. “It just kind of bothered me that he didn’t feel like he couldn’t tell his friends about it.”
- When Scotty is alone with a girl, he thinks about “making a move, try to kiss her.”
- After a misunderstanding with a girl, Pete hits Les. Pete “took the first swing, which I guess is how he landed it. Then Les had just dismantled him. He hurt practically every part of him. . . Pete was lying on his side on the floor, holding his hand up to his nose or high right eye or maybe both.” Pete is not seriously hurt.
- A boy flips a snow-kart and the cart lands on him, killing him. Scotty finds his body. “I saw it all: the soft horrible blue that had crept into his face, the way his hands were frozen stiff, like the curled talons of a bird.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- A boy talks about a blizzard that happened in the ’60s. Scotty said the blizzard probably lasted a day. “Those people were stoned.”
- Profanity is used occasionally. Profanity includes crap, piss, frickin’.
- When the electricity went out, kids were upset, and there were “F-bombs going off like fireworks.”
- A group of boys plans on working on a “crappy go-kart.”
- Someone calls a boy a jerk. Later someone calls a boy a moron.
- “Screw you” is used several times.
- When a girl stops two boys from fighting, someone thinks, “Thank God there are girls around.”
- After being stuck in the school for several days, Scotty prays. “I prayed for myself. I prayed for my mom. I prayed for all of us. . . I just curled up tight in the scratchy wool and whispered.” Soon, his friend Jason joins in the prayer. Scotty thinks, “It was probably the ten-thousandth time I’d heard Jason say ‘Jesus,’ but it was the first time I’d heard him mean it.”
- Scotty and several others pray. Someone calls them “Bible thumpers.” When Scotty prays, he decided to pray to “the archangel Gabriel. He’s the one with the trumpet, the one that made the announcement.”
- Scotty “prayed to Gabriel again. I figured God and Jesus were hearing from a lot of people at this time of night. But who else was praying to the less glamorous of the two archangels. . . I prayed for him to keep my mom safe instead, though if I’m being honest, I was sort of hoping he’d be impressed by my selflessness. . . I’m pretty sure they (angels) don’t fall for dumb tricks like that.”