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Ghost In The Machine: Ryan's Journal (Skeleton Creek, No. 2) Hardcover – October 1, 2009

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Frequently Bought Together

Ghost In The Machine: Ryan's Journal (Skeleton Creek, No. 2) + The Skeleton Creek #3: Crossbones + Skeleton Creek (book 1)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054507570X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545075701
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The mysteries of the abandoned dredge are finally resolved in this sequel to Skeleton Creek (2009). Forbidden to see each other, Ryan and Sarah continue to solve the mystery by using e-mail, video, and a whole lot of sneaking around, but time is running out as the town prepares to burn down the mechanical dredge. In the first book, readers could get by without seeing the supplemental videos on Sarah’s Web site, but in this go-round, the story suffers without them. The ending falls a bit flat, but the eerie mood throughout still makes this mystery a good read. Grades 5-8. --Courtney Jones


Praise for Skeleton Creek:

"This is something kids will want . . . Carman's accessible, journal-type text, full of mystery and foreshadowing, pulls from the outset [and] the nicely choreographed videos definitely build atmosphere." —Booklist

"There are so many good things to say about this book. The part print, part video format will entice reluctant readers . . . It will make possible the telling of more interesting and complex tales." &

"All the way to the last chilling pages, readers will be enthralled and totally surprised . . . Hang on to your flashlights and be ready for some really great twists!" &

More About the Author

I have been a lifelong writer and storyteller. Salem, Oregon is where I spent my formative years and I graduated from Willamette University. After college, I spent a decade living in Portland, Oregon where I worked in advertising, game design, and technology.

I've written young adult and children's books for Scholastic, Little Brown Books For Young Readers and Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins Publishers.

I've been fortunate enough to have had some bestselling series work: The Land of Elyon, Atherton, Elliot's Park, 39 Clues, and Skeleton Creek. Here's a fun note...the books have been translated into approximately two dozen languages. Currently I'm developing a few new-media projects. Check out DARK EDEN to experience this type of cross-platform project.

When I'm not writing or creating a story, I spend my free time supporting literacy campaigns and community organizations, fly fishing, playing basketball and tennis, doing crosswords, watching movies, dabbling in video games, reading (lots), and (more than anything else) spending time with my wife and two daughters.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend it for middle school students.
Christine Perez
I have read the first two books in this series to my sixth grade class and they LOVE them.
Thats all, and I cant wait ubtill the next book comes out.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It feels like the Dredge dug the heart out of my town and chucked it into the woods. All that's left are the ghosts walking around.

Ryan and Sarah may have been able to get out of their last predicament at the Dredge during the events of SKELETON KEY, but that incident is not going to stop them from continuing their explorations. Ryan writes, Sarah records, and together they construct another fantastic story full of twists, turns and big surprises. The two friends are obsessed with the Dredge and the ghost of Old Joe Bush --- and the more they uncover, the closer they get to the real answers. But something just isn't right; obviously, forces are at work to stop them, and time is running out. Old Joe has even been in Ryan's room and has written messages on the wall. Now, in a matter of days, the Dredge will be burned to the ground, and all those secrets will go unanswered forever.

Ryan does most of his sleuthing on the computer. His broken leg prohibits lots of activity, though he does manage to get around. His parents are also still set against any communication with Sarah, so activities are strictly done in secret. By following Sarah's leads, they slowly begin to uncover more information. What Ryan least expects to find is that his father is part of a secret society called the "Crossbones." The group, they discover, is directly related to the Dredge and Joe Bush --- but for what purpose? And what about Ryan's discovery of a list of names connected to the Crossbones group, made up of scientists long since dead: Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle? Ryan is eventually able to connect the dots between the three men, but the closer he gets to the truth, the more questions he has.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Pugliese on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sarah Fincher and her friend Ryan, two 15 year olds, return in this Skeleton Creek sequal looking for answers to the cryptic room they found in the town dredge. The Ghost of Joe Bush is now stalking them as a warning to stay away. The more Sarah digs around for answers the more suspicious everyone appears to be. Once again everything appears connected. All this snooping around only leads them into trouble.

A fantastic engaging concept for young readers. In an age where lap tops have become our clutch, and semi-distraction for young-ins, this book is a great way to stimulate your kid! I couldn't put this one down, and was amazed at the bits and pieces of the mystery unleashed every few chapters on the website. Brilliant!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This much-anticipated sequel to Skeleton Creek is written in the same unique fashion. It is not just a book but a multimedia arts experience. The story is told in two parts; the first of the book is Ryan's journal and the second is amateur videos from his friend Sarah Fincher. The book also has a collection of websites and supplemental material to make the story more interesting and innovative. As you read through the book, every now and again you are given a code to access a video on the website sarahfincher (dot)com. Combined with Ryan's journal they tell one complete story. Patrick Carman has created a new entertainment medium with this series, and done a masterful job of it. Like the first book in the series, I read the story alone first, then I read it while watching the videos. The book has the power to stand on its own but is incredible with the videos.

The story continues after the first novel. Sarah and Ryan are trying to find out the mystery around the town's name of Skeleton Creek and the old Mining Dredge out in the woods. Because of Ryan's broken leg in the first book, their parents are trying to keep the two apart. But their youthful technology savvy and desire to find the truth drives them on to keep investigating and the more they learn the more afraid they become.

The story is full of ghosts, rumors of murder, and hidden gold, and these two characters are locked in a struggle to find out the truth before all the clues are destroyed when the town burns the dredge to the ground. The story is addictive; the reader will not want to put it down; you will find yourself wanting to read to the next video and then after watching it, deciding to keep reading even longer.

This book is a fantastic story by an amazing story teller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on December 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Ghost in the Machine," by Patrick Carman, is a multimedia young adult mystery. This is the second book in this series, the first was Skeleton Creek. "Ghost" has two parts, the written and the video. The written is called Ryan's journal. Ryan, an aspiring writer, and his best friend Sarah, an aspiring movie maker, stumble on a secret society associated with an old time gold dredge in Skeleton Creek, Oregon. A gold dredge is a huge machine that moves, dredges a creek, and gets the gold out.

You start with reading Ryan's journal and at various points you click on a website found in the book, enter a password provided for that section and watch the video. Basically you are reading and watching the story. This was fun. I didn't read/see Skeleton Creek, but was told the outline by my daughter who loved it.

Patrick Carman's books, "Skeleton Creek" and "Ghost in the Machine," use of video to tell parts of the story heightens the emotional aspect, while the written part allows the mystery details to be uncovered and pondered about. Both work to make this an exciting and fast read. If you haven't read them yet, start with "Skeleton Creek." This is well worth the time to experience.
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