Category: Review

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Author: Michael Northrop
Published: February 1, 2011
232 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 2-6, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

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. . . .

Jessica’s Review:

Trapped is a short and quick read that I enjoyed until it abruptly ended.  Were the last few chapters accidentally left out of my copy?  Nope, that was it!  Who lives, who dies, and what’s going to happen next?  I will have to decide that on my own…

I was pulled in from the beginning wondering what was going to happen.  I knew it was going to be a bad storm, but the snow just would not stop!   These poor kids just kept getting worse off as the novel progressed.  For a YA novel that has boys and girls stuck alone together, there surprisingly was not much teenage drama: They were focused on survival. 

If you like quick YA reads, give Trapped a try. Our narrator is a boy, which is a rarity in YA novels.  *Disclaimer*:  Going in keep in mind that the novel ends with no conclusion/ epilogue.

Northrop wrote another novel which interests me called Surrounded by Sharks.   It is similar to Trapped in that it deals with survival, but I doubt I will read it.  It is about the same length as Trapped and I am afraid that there will be no conclusion, and my thinking is this:

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

If you have actually read Surrounded by Sharks, I would love to know if there is a conclusion to that novel!

Other than the lack of conclusion, Trapped would be perfect to read while it is snowing: I just hope you don’t end up in a blizzard like our poor teens!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Published: April 1, 2014

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: December 15-23, 2019

Book  Description:

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

Jessica’s Review:

Poor AJ Fikry has had a difficult time in his life lately:

His wife has passed away, his bookshop is not making sales like it should and now a prized possession is stolen!  Life can’t possibly get any worse can it?  No, in fact it can go in a complete 180! 

This was a very enjoyable audiobook. At first AJ is not likeable at all, but over time he and his story grow on you.  Maybe there are second chances after all.

If you are a bibliophile like me, you will enjoy this book as it is set in a bookstore! (Books  Galore!) I would stay away from other reviews and even other book descriptions, as they give away what this mysterious package is. The book description that I first read did, and I wish I had not known. Go into this book knowing as little as possible and you will be sure to enjoy it! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK  


Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

Down a Dark Hall
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: September 1, 1990
181 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Kit Gordy sees Blackwood Hall towering over black iron gates, and she can’t help thinking, This place is evil. The imposing mansion sends a shiver of fear through her. But Kit settles into a routine, trying to ignore the rumors that the highly exclusive boarding school is haunted.

Then her classmates begin to show extraordinary and unknown talents. The strange dreams, the voices, the lost letters to family and friends, all become overshadowed by the magic around them.

When Kit and her friends realize that Blackwood isn’t what it claims to be, it might be too late.

Kim’s Review:

I found the movie, with Uma Thurman and AnnaSophia Robb, and decided to watch it. And then I realized that it was based on a book, so naturally, I went and bought the book! I have to say that for such a simple story, the atmosphere that Duncan creates around Blackwood Hall is brilliant. It’s another implied horror book, but I was still creeped out and completely believed in the danger. As I said, the actual plot is very simple and not hard to figure out, but the fact that the villains are not what one would expect makes it all the more horrific. Kit is a strong character who is smart enough to carry the story. I think this is the perfect paranormal story to give to teens to help keep their attention. A great story that’s easy to read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK