The Trap by Sarah Wray

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The Trap by Sarah Wray

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: One puzzle after another leads to treasure and danger in an edge-of-the-seat spooky thriller. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Faber Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0571239214

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Luke Sheldon is an over-achieving, diabetic fifteen year old from London. With an elder brother (who constantly harasses him) about to go to university, Luke can't wait to get the room they share all to himself. One morning, while enduring yet another barrage of abuse from his sibling, he receives a letter from the WRYP (Well Rounded Youth Project) – a camp for smart children – telling him he's been invited to a camp in the USA.

When he gets to Heathrow Airport to meet the leaders and fellow campers, he spots a friend from his old school, Natalie Anderson – a girl as smart as he is. The two of them make friends with another boy – Matt Newbury. After a plane ride to New York, the campers take a bus to the Adirondack Mountains – the home of Camp Hope.

After settling in and meeting his nasty camp councillor, Drew, the fun of the camp starts with hiking, horse-riding and archery. After lunch, Luke finds a coded message in his cabin. Later on, Luke and his friends assemble to decipher the code; they reveal a message about a treasure quest. But when further clues arrive, the hunt leads Luke into the forbidden tunnels in the surrounding forest. When things begin to go wrong, he realises his taste for problem solving has lead him to bite off more than he can chew.

The Trap is a great book and a very refreshing read. I've not read too many mystery/thrillers written for children, but I am surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. The characters are fantastic, though a little stereotypical at times. Wray seems to have a rose tinted perspective for a certain kind of child – the nerdy sort. Though it may well be the brighter kids who really get this book.

One of the great things about it, and its unique selling point, are the puzzles. Luke gets coded messages, in various forms of cipher, throughout the novel. I couldn't resist getting the pen and paper out before continuing, to see if I could work out what they meant. There is also a lead up and preamble of explanation between the characters as they look at the puzzles for the first time, providing clues and hints to the reader about how each problem is solved.

The story is excellent too. Wray really knows how to build up and maintain the tension. The descriptions of the camp and its surroundings absolutely take you there. Overall this is a great, stand alone novel that really did entertain.

If you like this, I'd recommend Triskellion by Will Peterson. If you like the puzzles integrated into the story, I'd have a look at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

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Buy The Trap by Sarah Wray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Trap by Sarah Wray at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Trap by Sarah Wray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Trap by Sarah Wray at


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