Good…but Life As We Knew It was better.
by Michael Northrop
[#40 in my 52 book challenge]
It’s no secret that Life As We Knew It is one of my favorite books. The story becomes a survival story when Miranda and her family are trapped in the never-ending cold and snow. So when I saw Trapped sitting on the shelf at the book fair this week, I took it home and devoured it in three days. I couldn’t put it down.
The story sounds very similar to Life As We Knew It, and it is. I can’t avoid drawing comparisons between the two. And I will say that I believe Life As We Knew It did the story better. That being said, I love this sub-genre of survival fiction and I enjoyed the book overall. The story is about seven high school students trapped in their high school during the storm of the century. More than a dozen feet of snow are dumped on New England over a period of several days, and the teens must try to survive as their situation grows gradually worse. The narrator, Scotty, tells us from the beginning that things great really bad and not everyone survives, which only adds to the tension from the get-go.
The story fell short in a few places. Mainly it fell short because it was short. The characters and plot needed a bit more depth. Northrop has a great premise here, but it could really be pushed further. I wanted more tension. I wanted to learn more about the characters and I wanted to see more conflict between them. Most of all, I wanted more in the ending of the story. I know the ending to Life As We Knew It was bare, but it really worked in that story — that’s a huge part of why that book worked overall. However, the ending to Trapped didn’t have the same effect. If Northrop had cut out the entire last two chapters, it would have ended much better. If Northrop had added two more chapters, it would also have been better. But the current ending just doesn’t feel right.
Trapped was a gripping read, and one I’d recommend to students and friends, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not a story I will re-read.