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Trapped!: Cages of Mind and Body

Trapped!: Cages of Mind and Body

by Lois Duncan, Rudy Gutierrez (Illustrator)

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What does it mean to be trapped--physically, emotionally, or psychologically? Thirteen prominent young adult authors have been given free rein to interpret the term, and the results are electrifying, revealing the best and worst of the human spirit.


What does it mean to be trapped--physically, emotionally, or psychologically? Thirteen prominent young adult authors have been given free rein to interpret the term, and the results are electrifying, revealing the best and worst of the human spirit.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What do a pair of careless campers, a frozen princess and a 13-year-old sugarcane cutter have in common? All are physically, socially or emotionally trapped, the theme of these 13 stories by mostly prominent YA authors. As Duncan ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") states in a foreword, she hopes to recreate the type of powerful impression made on her as a 13-year-old by the Poe classic, "The Cask of Amontillado." The results are mixed. Some selections, like Lois Lowry's "A Matter of Getting Out," about a boy contemplating marriage instead of entering college, are too tidy to make much of an impact; few represent the individual author's best work. But some pack a one-two punch, as in Rob Thomas's "Sheep," set in a home for battered women. The sense of doom overhanging most of the protagonists here is periodically lifted by strategically placed, more humorous narratives like Joan Bauer's "Pancakes," which depicts the unraveling of a perfectionist waitress. Other contributors include Francesca Lia Block, Walter Dean Myers, Marc Talbert and Rita Garcia-Williams. FYI: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
The subjects of these stories vary widely. Some of them are fantasy, some are creepy, some are touching, some are just grim. The quality, too, varies. Duncan has included some of her own poetry, written when she was a teenager that also varies in subject matter and quality. Most of the stories are very readable. One is written in two columns, the left-hand one being a narrated story of a psychiatrist's session with his patient, and the right-hand one being the patient's point of view of the same session. It's fascinating, but rather difficult to read. For good readers only.
VOYA - Alice F. Stern
Feeling trapped, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise, is something everyone can relate to, teenagers especially. This collection of stories by excellent authors for young adults explores the theme of being trapped in a variety of ways and styles. In A Matter of Getting Out by Lois Lowry, Gareth realizes that his own plan for his future could be just as confining as the one his parents have planned. Sheep, by Rob Thomas, is set in a shelter for battered women where teenage Shawn is working and trying to get a grip on the situations that surround him. Joan Bauer's Pancakes throws some humor and slapstick into the mix, as perfectionist Jill is faced with being the only waitress at a busy pancake restaurant. The title "story" is actually a series of poems written by Lois Duncan when she herself was a young adult. The collection ends with a sad and frightening tale by Apollo (a YA author to watch) about a young, sweet, homeless boy who ultimately sees prostitution as the only way to keep himself alive. Other authors contributing to this collection are Francesca Lia Block, Marc Talbert, Walter Dean Myers, Gregory Maguire, Rita Williams-Garcia, Gary Crew, and Gillian Rubinstein. After each story is a revealing statement from the contributor about his or her background and how he or she came to write their particular story. There is something for every young adult in this one. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Being trapped in a situation is the central theme that binds together these 13 diverse selections originally written for this collection by noted young adult authors. Ranging from Joan Bauer's humorous "Pancakes," in which a part-time "perfectionist" waitress is the only server in a restaurant of hungry customers, to Rita Williams-Garcia's serious play that relates the conversation between two boys who have been shot and are bleeding to death, the narratives study the theme to its fullest potential. Thought-provoking and attentively crafted, the entries plant readers firmly in the protagonists' lives and show how entangled the characters become in abuse, sexual relationships, family bonds, or other experiences. While contributions by writers such as Rob Thomas, Walter Dean Myers, Francesca Lia Block, and Lois Duncan will entice YAs to pick this book up, the uniqueness of the topic and distinctive writing styles will keep them absorbed until the last page. An enticing excerpt appears before each selection, and interesting notes from the authors provide a little background about the roots of each work. Jana R. Fine, Clearwater Public Library System, FL
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of eclectic short stories by contemporary YA authors that address the theme of being trapped, literally or metaphorically. The resulting dozen tales are as varied as the contributors, ranging from David Skinner's modern fairy tale about a princess frozen in a block of ice to Gary Crew's eerie glimpse of a Vietnam veteran trapped within his own mind. Marc Talbert's characters are physically trapped by a forest fire, then morally trapped when they realize they are responsible for the blaze. Should they tell? Walter Dean Myers's contribution appears in two columns on the page, one recounting a young man's conversation with his psychiatrist, the other revealing a very different narrative inside his mind. Francesca Lia Block explores the trap of anorexia and Rita Williams-Garcia pens a short play about a drive-by shooting. On the lighter side, Joan Bauer's heroine, a perfectionist-waitress, comes unraveled trying to satisfy a Sunday morning crowd of pancake eaters all by herself. At the height of the frenzy she stands on a counter and shouts, "We're out of sausage and it's not my fault!" Although the theme provokes occasional forced or heavy-handed moments, this is a strong collection, thought-provoking and well worth reading.

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
3.68(w) x 7.54(h) x 0.59(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

The author of bestsellers like Stranger with My Face, The Third Eye, and Daughters of Eve, Lois Duncan (1936-2016) was an undisputed master of young adult suspense books. Several of her books have been adapted into movies, most notably I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was followed by two sequels. Duncan also wrote Who Killed My Daughter?, a non-fiction book about the murder of her daughter.

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