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Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek Series #1)

Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek Series #1)

4.7 116
by Patrick Carman

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A breakthrough new series from bestselling author Patrick Carman, featuring text and technology in an innovative new way.

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


A breakthrough new series from bestselling author Patrick Carman, featuring text and technology in an innovative new way.

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Skeleton Creek Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

Patrick Carman is the bestselling author of numerous series for young readers, including The Land of Elyon, Elliot’s Park, Skeleton Creek, Atherton, Trackers, Dark Eden, and 3:15. He got his start as a storyteller weaving bedtime tales for his two daughters. He lives in Walla Walla, Washington, with his family.

Customer Reviews

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Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 116 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I read this book out loud to my fifth grade class. I always have many students who want to be scared and am always asked for scary books. My class immediately quieted down if I brought out SKELETON CREEK. They also couldn't wait for the videos. The only problem is that a few of the kids were scared too much, but I believe that for the average intermediate student this is just too much fun! When we meet Ryan, he is recovering from an accident in an abandoned dredge in Oregon. As we read his journal we also get video messages from his accomplice, Sarah. The duo have found a mystery in their small town of Skeleton Creek. They are investigating, but now know that many in their town do not want them to snoop, including Ryan's dad. But be forewarned, the mystery is not solved in SKELETON CREEK, but ends with a cliffhanger so that you will have to read the sequels to find out the rest of the story. So if you want a good, fun scare, I highly recommend this one - and so does the fifth grade class at Santiago School.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just saw theraven. FREAK-KY!!! SO COOL!!
Rsweetland More than 1 year ago
House bound with a broken leg and full cast caused by a falling accident in a dredge on Skeleton Creek, Ryan (15/16) and Sarah (16) have been forbidden to contact one another. Urged on by evidence seen with their own eyes and video recording documentation of that encounter with a phantom the pair are drawn back together with a desire to seek answers to their questions and possibility to solve a mystery. Ryan's record of events in his journal, this book, and Sarah's collection of video evidence, viewed online at her web site, sarahfincher.com and accessed with passwords in Ryan's journal combine these media to tell this story. An interesting read and viewing can be had from this embryonic merging of these two media. Example - in print is the statement by Ryan. "If this were a video, not a journal, I'd have to stop. I'd have to rewind. I'd have to play that line again." However, in the beginning there are places where the text is a bit clunky or a bit juvenile for believability of the character's actions and interactions for their intended ages. Even beyond the supernatural expectations. Ryan's over blown reactions to some trivial incidents and Sarah's over acted expressions in early videos seem a bit belabored, but get better with the best video by far being the last one. The biggest pet peeve I have with recent serialized books is the trend of authors to edge closer to a story plot without a resolution. A plot that stops without an ending, without a point in the plot for the reader to exhale, relax, or a bit of a resting place, before the plot takes off again in the next serialized text. In this story the author only takes the reader to the climax. Making it a full fledged cliffhanger. How long will readers have to wait to resolve the Sarah - Ryan dredged dilemma? How long are readers willing to bite their finger nails or dangle with a clenched grip? I suppose I am old fashioned in that I think a text will provide more than a serialized television program. However, this is cutting edge and quality needs to mature. I am willing to invest in future art. Whether it is this series or another, time will tell if books and multimedia can merge artfully.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book in the world!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome love have whole series
Sierra_C More than 1 year ago
The cover is very intriguing and the story line is thrilling. The integration of modern technology is brilliant, allowing the reader to enjoy visual effects and suspense through brief videos and secret passwords. My 11 year old kept sharing the storyline and it prompted me to read it as well. I believe there are so many clues hidden within this story and presentation that there is still much to be uncovered. It will inspire the detective in you. I can't wait for Book#2, "Ghost in the Machine", coming out September 2009.
Guest More than 1 year ago
dvd player needed to read and use book properly
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book it is creepy yet suspensful plus funny plus every thing good overall i just love this book and i would recommened it to any body who whats to read a chilling yet mysterious book! IT IS JUST AWESOME!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i soooo LOVE this book ,i saw it at my school's book fair and i really liked the cover(i'm into misterious books) and so i thought i would add it to my collection(horrorific encyclopedia,roland smith...etc. > 137 books total).I started reading and then i couldn't stop, i was reading in my free time, in the classroom,in between clases, at lunch, recess, well every chance i could get i read the book.Since i'm from PUERTO RICO everyone speak spanish and my friends don't understand any of the content that has the book so every time they saw me with the book in hand they made fun of it AND me but wow it really is a great book and the videos, fine quality, if you get a chance to read do it cause you will really like it.P.S.i almost didn't get it because my parents don't aproove of me liking weird stuff since i'm only a 13 year old girl.
Hikaru23 More than 1 year ago
OH MY GOD!!!!!! i just finished reading/seeing the end >_< AHHH!!!!! if you like freaky mysteries in small, desolate, creepy towns......this book is definatly for you! the end just freaked me out!!!! OMG!!! i'm gonna have nightmares! >_<....anyways...i think it's a super cool book!...It absorbs you and makes you want to read more! I just sat in front of the computer and read ..so that when i have to watch a video i could watch it right away! LOL! ^.^ it makes you feel like a part of the story, being able to go to the website and watch the videos along with reading the journal.... Just do it!!! no harm done ! ^^ it's a KILLER read ^^......BYE! i'm gonna go do something happy to forget the end! >_<
tennessee_nashville More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and it is so good! It is supenseful and thrilling and is good for middle schoolers. You could watch the videos online (they go with the book). They are very good i definetly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a eight year old girl in third grade. This book is phenomenal, but DO NOT see the videos! The first video that I watched, I had to sleep with my mom,even though I saw the video in the morning. The second video, my heart was throbbing like never before, and I watched that video in the morning too!
dxd801 More than 1 year ago
I think this book was amazing and intresting. you should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please reply again this book is awsome it eving needed more action
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book in the world and it sucks you in and is a real awesome book i toldly recamend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Totally gave me the creeps. The videos just make it so real and suspenseful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please reply soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read them 2 years ago and i loved them. I wasn't able to rate them then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book in the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The secong video in the second book, 'the ghost in the machine' is really scary!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to the website and the videos r so creepy! But it is a really good book even thoigh i'm the kind of person that geys scared over everything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome book fun, mystery, and great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago