Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek Series #1)

Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek Series #1)

4.6 113
by Patrick Carman
     
 

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Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek . . . and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out. . .and then email the clips for Ryan to see. See more details below

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Overview

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek . . . and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out. . .and then email the clips for Ryan to see.

In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts -- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In a much-anticipated "multi-platform" mystery, Carman (the Land of Elyon series) tells of two small-town teens who go looking for trouble in an abandoned dredge once used to find gold. Presented as the journal of 15-year-old Ryan, the book is produced on ruled paper and in a font resembling handwriting; Ryan unfolds the details of the recent accident that has left him laid up with a broken leg. Periodically, Ryan receives e-mails from Sarah, his fellow sleuth, who is still hunting down clues about ghostly sightings at the dredge, and, armed with a video camera, is posting her findings on a Web site. (Readers can access the site with the passwords in the book.) The premise is more intriguing than the execution. Clues come slowly and don't keep the reader guessing so much as perplexed: Sarah's brief clips are just as much hair-twirling musings as plot-thickeners. Readers should know in advance what the otherwise enticing package does not make clear: this is the first in a series, and anyone expecting that it will end on anything but a cliff-hanger will be disappointed. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)

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Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Ryan has returned to his house in Skeleton Creek from an accident that left him with a broken leg. Ryan is writing a journal of what has happened to him, including strange occurrences and his friendship with Sarah. He fears his small town is haunted. He and his friend Sarah had been researching the history of their town and discovered a connection with the New York Gold and Silver Company. The town's librarian believes the abandoned dredge where Ryan has his accident was left by the company. Sarah wants to record her experience on video and sends e-mails to Ryan with passwords. Ryan and Sarah end up back at the dredge trying to solve the mystery. The ending leaves middle school or early high school readers in suspense until the mystery's next installment. This young adult mystery has pieces of what could make for an enjoyable and unique continuing story with the use of a related website. However, the series would be helped immensely if the videos or website were better incorporated into the story and if characters were more developed. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up

Ryan McCray and Sarah Fincher wonder how Skeleton Creek, OR, received its name. Research takes them on a nighttime expedition to a mechanical dredge, where Ryan breaks his leg. The teens think the dredge is haunted by Joe Bush, a miner killed there. The book is interspersed with Sarah's videos, which can be accessed on the Internet. The mystery remains to be solved; sequels are guaranteed. Plot weaknesses mitigate the teen appeal of the Internet tie-in concept. The book's central flaw: it is not scary. Ryan's narration should provide creepy immediacy, but his constant insistence that he is petrified never plays out in the story. The book ramps up and peters out, without a climax or resolution of the mystery. The repetitive musings hold the pace to a slow walk, and Carman relies on contrivance to keep adults at bay. Another reason it lags is the lack of synergy between Ryan and Sarah, even though they are supposedly best friends. They communicate only via electronic means (their parents have forbidden their friendship), and their individual findings don't dovetail into one coherent story line. Even if one stops to watch Sarah's videos, there seem to be missing pieces of information that make the plot hard to follow. The actual telling is a sad departure from the intriguing premise.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Mischance befalls 15-year-old Ryan as he investigates the shadowed past of his small Oregon town, leaving him with a broken leg and the threat of a cross-country move if he attempts to contact his best friend and fellow investigator, Sarah. After disabling the monitoring software on his computer, Ryan and Sarah continue to communicate through surreptitious videos. Ryan's faux-journal entries are meticulously faux-printed on faux-lined paper, with faux-printouts pasted in; this text narrative is interrupted by instructions to visit the book's website, where increasingly esoteric passwords unlock the appropriate videos. More gimmick than narrative necessity, the videos crackle with annoyingly fake static. Inspired by the interactive thread used in Cathy's Book (by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman, 2006), Carman's storytelling is not sufficiently compelling to motivate readers to continually break the narrative to look at digital content. The printed ending builds the suspense, but readers will be disappointed by the final video message, which cheapens the genuine mystery with a cliffhanger ending. Carman's style holds some promise for readers who can get past the contrivance. (Mystery. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545075664
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/10/2009
Series:
Skeleton Creek Series, #1
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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