The Trap

John Smelcer

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

A gripping wilderness adventure and survival story
It was getting colder. Johnny pulled the fur-lined hood of his parka over his head and walked towards his own cabin with the sound of snow crunching beneath his boots.

“He should be back tomorrow,” he thought, as a star raced across the sky just below the North Star.

“He should be back tomorrow for sure.”
Seventeen-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel knows that his grandfather Albert is a stubborn old man and won’t stop checking his own traplines even though other men his age stopped doing so years ago. But Albert Least-Weasel has been running traplines in the Alaskan wilderness alone for the past sixty years. Nothing has ever gone wrong on the trail he knows so well.

When Albert doesn’t come back from checking his traps, with the temperature steadily plummeting, Johnny must decide quickly whether to trust his grandfather or his own instincts.

Written in alternating chapters that relate the parallel stories of Johnny and his grandfather, John Smelcer's The Trap poignantly addresses the hardships of life in the far north, suggesting that the most dangerous traps need not be made of steel.


Praise for The Trap

"An unforgettable story. Brilliant!"--Ray Bradbury

"In The Trap John Smelcer takes his readers into a frozen world, and keeps us there with a gripping example of talented storytelling. Unforgettable."--Tony Hillerman

"The Trap is a lovely story, beautifully told, the kind that makes you wade in and sink warmly into the cold, cold north of Alaska."--Winston Groom, author of   Forrest Gump

Reviews from Goodreads



  • John Smelcer

  • John Smelcer's work has appeared in more than 300 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, and he has written over 20 books. The Trap is his first book for young adults.
  • John Smelcer John Smelcer


John Smelcer

Macmillan Speakers Bureau

represents thought-provoking authors and experts. We can find a speaker uniquely positioned for your audience and budget.

More info


Available Formats and Book Details

The Trap

John Smelcer

NYPL Books for the Teen Age, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI)


Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)