The Trap

Steven Arntson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-82408-6
In smalltown Iowa in 1963, seventh-grader Henry Nilsson’s biggest challenge is managing his crush on Nicki, his twin sister Helen’s best friend. That’s until Henry, Helen, Nicki, and Henry’s best friend Alan stumble across a book that teaches them how to separate their “subtle selves” from their bodies and wander free, à la astral projection. The four soon realize that the mysterious disappearance of Alan’s bullying older brother is connected to the strange parallel “subtle” world that they explore by night. Arntson (The Wrap-Up List) intelligently interweaves first crushes, longtime loves, the Fibonacci sequence, and themes of racial prejudice, xenophobia, and civil rights together in a story that also considers big questions of humanity and connection. Henry’s introspective, self-effacing narration brims with evocative details and descriptions (for his more daring and headstrong sister, “Writing things down... was like standing around after hearing the starting gun”), unspooling a haunting and suspenseful story that will resonate with science-fiction fans as well as anyone who has needed to find the courage to ask a date to the big dance. Ages 9–12. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Union Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/23/2015
Release date: 04/07/2015
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-82412-3
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-0-544-81311-3
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