57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 9 year old read over half in one sitting
My sister, a Disney fanatic, got this for my 9-year-old son for Christmas. To my amazement, he sat on the couch the next day and read over half of it in one afternoon. When he brought it to the dinner table we had to tell him to set it aside. He has told me so much about the book I feel like I have read it. I'm sure that our recent trip to Walt Disney World last fall...
Published on January 8, 2010 by R. Matteson
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep it or leave it?
After hearing so much buzz about this book my group of former Disney Cast Members decided to check it out. I'll speak for myself and say it's a light hearted book, with an incredible story base that has potential. But be warned, don't think to much and you'll get through it. If you're a Harry Potter fan and enjoy the attention to detail and crisp narrative you'll be...
Published on August 14, 2009 by AJ Denver
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 9 year old read over half in one sitting,
This review is from: Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark (Paperback)
My sister, a Disney fanatic, got this for my 9-year-old son for Christmas. To my amazement, he sat on the couch the next day and read over half of it in one afternoon. When he brought it to the dinner table we had to tell him to set it aside. He has told me so much about the book I feel like I have read it. I'm sure that our recent trip to Walt Disney World last fall adds to the appeal, as the places and rides are fresh in his memory. He has begged me to order the next book in the series, which is what brought me to Amazon today.
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that captures a bit of the Disney magic,
Five teens are given the opportunity of a lifetime when they are chosen as interactive Disney Hosts (DHIs) at the famous theme park in Orlando, Florida. Disney has teamed up with a company called Daylight Hologram Imaging to create innovative virtual tour guides, using the teens as models.
Finn Whitman, one of the DHIs, falls asleep one night and has a very weird dream. In this dream, he is in the park talking to an elderly park employee named Wayne, who was also one of Disney's first Imagineers. While Finn is having a very odd conversation with Wayne, he begins to observe some unusual activity in the park. He sees Chip and Dale headed toward Toontown and Goofy going to Frontierland. Now this wouldn't normally be odd in Disneyland, but it is after dark and all of the costumed employees went home hours ago. At this point, Finn is sure he is dreaming because he saw the original cartoon characters. Not only that, but he notices that his own body is glowing. Wayne assures him that it is not a dream, tells him that he must locate the other four DHIs for a special mission.
It seems that the Magic Kingdom is in danger from evil forces within its walls. In order to save the park, Finn and the other DHIs must cross over in their sleep into a state where they are not fully human yet not fully light.
Ridley Pearson does a great job of expressing the thoughts and conversations of his young teen characters. Even as their situations metamorphose into the fantastic, the kids remain completely realistic. Although this book is written for a young adult audience, it would appeal to anyone who has ever experienced the magic and wonder that is Disney.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep it or leave it?,
After hearing so much buzz about this book my group of former Disney Cast Members decided to check it out. I'll speak for myself and say it's a light hearted book, with an incredible story base that has potential. But be warned, don't think to much and you'll get through it. If you're a Harry Potter fan and enjoy the attention to detail and crisp narrative you'll be sorely disappointed with KK.
The writing is choppy, fractured sentences annoying and editing poor. I was annoyed by a plural "s" in "Fantasmics" - it's Fantasmic. Yet, he knew the correct name of "Cinderella Castle." (it's NOT possessive as many guests refer to it.) Some one said the author "phoned it in" - I'd have to agree. Another review mentioned he tossed in some Disney "buzz words" - boy was it obvious! (ie: a very awkward and out of place reference to a "Fast Pass".) My belief is that he wrote it praying it would become a movie or Disney Channel series.
The biggest Disney "Fopaux" was that he correctly referred to Maleficent as real, as well as Goofy and Chip & Dale...but later on when the kids were in the Utilidors Tunnels below the MK they saw characters without their heads and princesses in street clothes. ANY Cast Member knows this kind of dialog is UNSPEAKABLE. Even if it was OK...why are some Characters real and others just costumes?
Also, don't be fooled, the Overtakers are just Maleficent and early on some bumbling Pirates. There are no Disney Characters who help out the story, yet the early spotting of Goofy and Chip & Dale make you think more are coming.
The main characters also have no background except for one African American boy...who has a chip on his shoulder for no reason and his dialog is very stereotypical. The girls are seen as weak or sexy. The author also details characters by their physical weight appearance which is crude. The most disappointing is the main character isn't much of a leader. Yet the author does try to give the lesson it's not right to lie to your parents.
After all that, you'd think I'd give this 1 star, not 3. But it's an enjoyable and mindless read. It's a children's book. I actually enjoyed it despite its faults and will read future books in the series mainly out of curiosity but hope they tighten up the editing.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not So Magical in the Magic Kingdom,
Do not get your hopes up die-hard Disney fans. This book centered in the Magic Kingdom is less than magical.
I do not want to give anything away, therefore this will limit my review some. My overall impression of the writer, Pearson, is that he was young, this was his first book and he was trying to make a big break. It was only after I read this book that I viewed his bio; I would have expected more. Honestly, without reading his bio I did expect more.
This story is about five teenages that are chose to be Disney Hosts, via Holograms around the Magic Kingdom. Something goes wrong in the park and these kids are expected to solve the mystery. They are pulled in by an Imagineer and expected to do the impossible.
The story lacks plot and substance. These characters, the hologram hosts for WDW, are the focus of the story. However, the story never comes out to tell why they were really chosen. It mentions skills, much of which are never really focused on. It mentions one character's attitude a lot, but never really their story.
There are a lot of holes and gaps. The author bounces all over the place without breaking chapters. One moment we are reading about something they are doing now, the next moment we are jumping to a conversation taking place elsewhere. The story is somewhat empty, lacking detail and a reason for the plot. The writer never really goes into why the issues are taking place and how they knew it could happen. He never goes into the Imagineers story and why he lives in the MK and how all of these kids were really chosen to take part in this mystery.
The characters lack character. The writer does not do a very good job of describing the characters. I could not get a mental picture of any of them other than Dillard, and this was only because he continued to focus on his weight. None of these characters really had a story, a good solid background or anything of the sort.
One other thing that irritated me about the book, though it did not really affect the story, was the amount of errors. There were some minor story errors, such as mentioning five kids when it should have been four or using the word "was" when he should have used "is" or "were".
At the end of the book, there are two characters whose stories were left wide-open. It was like somebody telling you a short story and reading only half of it.
Overall, this could have been a good book if it were about 200 pages longer. It was missing so much. I know this is for young readers and not especially written for adults. My nearly 11-year-old daughter is reading it now and is also telling me that she feels the writer did not do a good job of describing the characters, she feels there are parts of the story missing and it is a little hard to follow the jumping around.
Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia are both for young readers and both authors did a fantastic job giving a mental picture. I was unable to do that with this book. Having been to WDW many many times, I could not even make a clear picture using his descriptions of the Magic Kingdom. I really expected more.
This story ended so that a sequel could be written. I hope that if a sequel is written, that he takes the time to tell a good story. Though this story is unrealistic, it could have been great.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After Closing,
Largely known for his adult suspense fiction, Pearson follows his popular "Peter and the Starcatchers" with this action packed early teen novel. The author dedicates the novel to all of us who've wondered what happens at Disney World once the park closes. Weaving just a bit of high tech into the storyline, this suspenseful plot propels our hero, Finn, and his friends to discover the truth of the magic behind the closed gates of the theme park. While engaging the reader with ideas of holograms as park tour guides and other near future possibilities, "Kingdom Keepers" will keep you reading until the wee hours. Good clean fun and highly recommended for the 10-14 year olds as well as Disney fans of all ages.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable -- will there be more?,
Finn Whitman was one of five teenagers chosen to become the newest attractions at Walt Disney World -- fully interactive holograms to guide visiters around the theme park. But when the children go to sleep, they find themselves "crossing over" into their hologram forms, trapped in the theme park after night, where dark forces are conspiring to take things over. The children learn that beings called the Overtakers are adopting the images of Disney's characters -- particularly their villains -- in a bid for power, leeching on the imaginations of Walt Disney and his Imagineers to become real. But Walt anticipated this day would come, and left clues behind. The only way to save Walt Disney World -- and maybe the entire world -- is to solve Walt's riddle in time.
Ridley Pearson has proven himself (with Dave Barry) to be a strong author of young reader's books in addition to his more well-known adult fiction. With this novel, he actually takes things one step further, setting a fairly satisfying suspense/mystery adventure in Disney World itself. The book (itself published by Disney, thus avoiding any pesky copyright issues) is a quick, fast-paced adventure, and something that fans of Disney and its theme parks will certainly enjoy.
Not to say there aren't any problems. Some of the characters, particularly the girls, are somewhat wooden. There are a few segments where the discussions of the park start to sound like a Disney commercial, but these parts are few and far between -- most of the information doled out is either necessary to the plot or interesting enough that you can forgive the occasional meandering. Pearson leaves the ending fairly wide open -- the Overtakers aren't definitely beaten and there are a dozen questions left unanswered, making it easy to imagine this book is a "pilot" of sorts for a series of young reader's books. As series go, I think this could be a good one. A little more "grounded" than Harry Potter, not as insane as A Series of Unfortunate Events, and with a built-in Disney fanbase, The Kingdom Keepers could well be a pretty entertaining series of novels.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars JK Rowling has NOTHING to Fear,
This review is from: Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark (Paperback)
This book was disappointing on virtually every level. I understand that it's written for 10 year olds, and I'm 5 times that age. But I have been Walt Disney World obsessed since it opened (when I was 14), and I enjoy good fantasy fiction, even if intended for teens and pre-teens. Not the case with this book.
Plot: Inconsistant and full of holes. The main characters are all supposed to 13 or 14, yet they do things that most adults could not do. Pearson creates things for the sake of suspense during one episode, then conveniently forgets about them if they would be difficult to deal with in other scenes (park security issues are a major ploy in this regard). The basic "technology" that serves as the gimmick that makes the entire story "work" is so far-fetched I doubt that there are even many 10 year olds who wouldn't say "yeah, right". The story is full of chases and narow escapes, none of which are believable - even for a fantasy story.
Characters: Flat two-dimentional portrayals of cliches. The library geek, the "cool" black kid, the whining girl, the bossy girl, and the "main" character - the awkward "nerd" who suddenly turns into the hero-leader. Then there is the "wise mentor" who speaks in riddles, the usual collection of "parents who don't understand", and the cast of even flatter "friends" who fill in the spaces. Later in the book, they dress up as "cast members" to "blend in" Have you ever seen a 13 year old Jungle Cruise pilot, food server, or Aladdin? I haven't. The primary villian is the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty who may or may not be a real person, and who is even flatter and less interesting than the "heros".
Location: Yes, it's fun to read about locations in WDW that you have visited. Pearson is at his "best" during his all-too-brief descriptions of the parks; his most stellar moments come when describing things that "might" be behind the scenes in plces that visitors do not get a chance to see. However he is at his worst when altering "real" WDW places to suit his narrative needs. Splash Mountain is the first to be altered to suit his needs. Later a character is in the Rivers of America and is rescued by someone in a "Jungle Boat" (from the opposite side of the park) - and an innacurate jungle boat at that. Space Mountain is described as looking like a magicians hat with a tall steep peak; hardly the case. Some have called this "Dan Brown" for pre-teens (and in a sense it is in that they are on a quest in a famous location for clues to solve a mystery), but Dan Brown did not alter the various cathedrals or national landmarks to make his story "work".
Writing a fantasy story set in "real life" locations is a considerable challange because there is a constant ballance that must be maintain in keeping the "real" real, and fitting the fantasy in to fabric in a believable way. There are some authors who have done this brilliantly (J.K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis come immediately to mind). Mr. Pearson, unfortunately was not up to this challange. I felt so cheated by the story line, and so uninterested in the characters, I do not expect to read the remaining 6 books that will complete the set.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good reading for girls,
Although I thought this book was entertaining I was very disappointed by the way the female characters were portrayed.
2 of the girls were very shallow and stupid sounding (extemely annoying) seemingly unconcerned with the task at hand. The others were evil.
In the end the boys were the heros, rescuing one of the helpless girls from an evil witch woman.
The girls were also describe in terms of their level of physical attractiveness, beauty, sexuality. The boys weren't.
I hate to be so picky, but it was sort of disappointing to see this level of passive sexism in a book for younger teens.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poor language, attractive setting,
This review is from: Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark (Kindle Edition)
The book is fun to read, but absolute pulp fiction for kids. Primitive action, poor language, flat characters. Nothing to provoke any thinking. The only thing that I liked about it: the real setting of the Magic Kingdom is fun to read about. I just think, that with such an imaginative idea, popular Disney characters, the author could find a much better implementation. I would still recommend it for the kids who likes adventures and want to read some "lighter" books.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hello, I'm the Literary Critic. I read it so you don't have to!,
This review is from: Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark (Paperback)
Hello, I'm the Literary Critic. I read it so you don't have to. Can we talk about Young Adult fiction for a moment? I mean, the genre is basically a brand these days from John Green to The Hunger Games. And while lots of YA is very good, there is also a butt load more that suck. Now don't get me wrong, every genre includes sucky titles. But YA seems particularly prone to the suckiest of them all. Why is this you might ask? Well, I think there are an array of reasons beyond all of our comprehension but the main reason that I've noticed is an author's ability to write down to readers. They don't try to write a genuinely good novel but write a silly story because it is assumed that kids and teens will drink that crap up. And that is just not true. Sure there are kids who enjoy the bad books but if they take an interest, how can we fault them? But there are many kids who seek good literature and lean toward adult novels to do so because the books in their age group have no appeal and just aren't good. And that isn't how it should be. A book should be good on it's own and not have to stoop down the story.
Oh, you think I'm wrong? You think these books don't exist? Well, they do dammit! Have you ever read Bridge to Terabithia or The Secret Garden or Sarah, Plain and Tall or Holes or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Harry Potter or Skellig or Matilda or...I think you see my point. So what do all of these books have in common? Well, they are good pieces of literature. They appeal to children's imaginations yet the writing holds up. The characters are developed and complex and the author is taking a simple story and painting it as a beautiful artwork. Yes, that is literature, and YA literature at that and it is so damn good! But lots of YA doesn't fall into this category. Why? Because lots of books seem to think that because they are in the children's or YA category, they don't need to write credible scenarios or unique characters. As long as there is an adventure, kids will eat it up. And that is a big issue in my opinion. I take issue when adults say, "well at least they're reading." Kids shouldn't be subjected to lazy writing. They should get a book that took the time to really write a good book and not just because it is for kids.
Now I know what you may be thinking. I'm a 24 year old woman. Why would I be reading books below my age group? Well here is the problem: books can be written toward an age group but should not be limited. This goes for all art. Sure there are shows like Barney that aren't necessarily good but that show is aimed to teach kids things like colors and rhymes and numbers and has no real merit beyond that...and even the characters on Barney are more unique than those in some YA books. But look at another series called American Girl. Those books could easily be looked at as marketing strategies to sell more dolls and make more money but if you actually sit down and read the books, they are actually very well done. Sure the writing isn't perfect but there are never any inconsistencies, the characters are well developed and you learn a lot about culture and history along the way. I read them last year and really enjoyed them. Sure they had their problems but all books have those. My point is, there is a difference between a children's book and a childish book. The first being a genre and you can expect fantasy and lots of hypothetical situations but altogether fun, the second being poorly written and the author being outright lazy because of the genre.
So with that in mind, let's talk about the first book of seven (there are seven books of this garbage??) in the Kingdom Keepers series titled Disney After Dark. Okay so what is this book about? Well we begin with a boy named Finn. He is the typical handsome white male who lives in Florida and is pretty famous because of his role at the Disney Parks. Finn along with four other kids, whose names I can't recall because they are all so boring and generic, are DHI's which stands for Disney Host Interactive. The kids are essentially actors and they have filmed scenes where they talk about rides and the park. These holographic images are then digitally projected in the parks for guests who need help. One night, something acts up in the Disney servers and Finn's dream becomes a reality when he finds himself at the park in his DHI form after he goes to bed and the park is closed. There he meets Wayne, the obligatory wise old man, who cryptically talks to Finn even though he has no reason to. We learn that the parks are in trouble and that the DHI's are the only ones who can save the parks, and apparently the world. That's right. The DHI's must defeat Disney villains come to life because they want...what else? World domination...because that isn't cliche. Anyway, Finn seeks help from a girl in his school named Amanda who is keeping a secret of her own. Oooooh, mysterious! With Amanda's help, the DHI's try to solve a mystery that will bring peace back to the parks and let them sleep without entering their DHI forms ever again.
The premise sounds a little rough but not too bad. I was interested when I read the back cover of the book. The book had some good parts...or, well a couple. Okay two or three. The concept of the DHI's is cool and questioning technology and our relationship with it is awesome. At one point Amanda sees a theme park goer walk through a DHI hologram and comments that it is rude and I thought it was awesome that this book may be asking the reader to question her logic. Like, is it actually rude when the DHI's aren't actual beings but just projected images? But the book never really got to that place again. And okay, parts of the ending I didn't see coming. But this book still sucks. Boy does it deserve to rot in a garbage dump. This book was so bad that I actually wanted to kill myself. And let me mention that I hate suicide notions and never make them...except this one time because it is necessary. I mean, I really wonder if the author had a hat full of plots and just reached in for an easy explanation or a random piece of generic dialogue or some kind of crap to end the chapter. The entire book was so ridiculous and contrived that this wouldn't surprise me.
Let's talk about the characters first because they were by far the worst part of this book. First off, what utter vanilla characters we were given. I like to think of all of them like balls of grape jelly...or, whatever jelly you want to imagine. It doesn't matter to me. There is no authenticity or character integrity to them. They just shape into the form the author desires. If the author wants a suave character, he's got it. If the author wants a fighter, he's got a fighter. But when you remove the jelly from it's fighter or suave jar, it will never stand on it's own. It will always fall flat. And that is essentially what these characters are, flat. Between the rotten dialogue and horribly forced interactions, one wonders how this book was even published in the first place. I mean, what sort of person would allow this junk to print?...Let's look at some direct quotes, shall we?
At the end of one of the chapter's, a woman isn't taking Finn seriously because of his age. She notes he is 13 and Finn corrects her, "14. I will be 14 next month." So wait, you are 13 then? Well isn't he a smart character. When someone states his age he feels a need to correct that person that they are right yet it is supposed to come across as smart. Yeah...cause that isn't stupid. I mean, why would this piece of dialogue be allowed in any text? I feel disgusted just featuring it in my review. Here is another example of the stiff dialogue. Finn is looking for clues with another DHI and says, "Hey guess what? We haven't got a clue." The other DHI then responds in annoyance, "That's a sick joke." Wait so, that was...a joke? Am I too old to get it? Or are these kids smoking something?
But my favorite quotes by far were from conversations between Finn and Amanda. I mean, these don't get any dumber. And it isn't just their dialogue, it is the narration and the ridiculous story that they are placed into. The story sets it up as if Finn and Amanda only know each other from passing in the school halls or having a class or two together. When Finn asks her for help...*POOF*...they are suddenly destined to be a romantic item. Finn will be confused by Amanda's girlish wit and Amanda will be jealous when Finn talks to any other girl. How adorable. I love teenage romance. My favorite TV station is ABC Family and the Lifetime Network. There is a part where the two are riding bikes and the narration goes, "Amanda stayed in the lead on her bike. Thankfully, she hadn't asked any questions, and he took this as a sign they were becoming really good friends." A silent woman! Men love these! Don't speak your mind girl, Finn likes it. It makes him feel much more comfortable than having to explain himself to you. A passage like this could be viewed as subtle and quite good but it just doesn't work with these characters. They are the most vanilla of the bunch yet we spend the most time with them! They also constantly contradict themselves. In this passage Amanda isn't upset with Finn for not telling her anything yet just a few chapters ago she was fuming at him for the same thing. And Finn contradicts himself within a page and a half when he states he respects the one DHI for being smart and then says how annoying his smarts are. WHY DO THESE CHARACTERS HAVE NO CONSISTENCY???!!!! WHERE IS THE DEPTH?? WE DON'T NEED MORE STEREOTYPES!!!
Even the adults are black and white cliches. Take Finn's mother for example. She is the mother that cries when her son goes anywhere with a girl. Oh Finn got paired with a girl in science. I bet they will get married! My boy is growing up! His mother also asks questions and grounds her son yet doesn't follow up when necessary. Like the entire book is her grounding Finn but when Finn starts breaking the most rules, she is out of the picture. She is only included when it is convenient for the plot. How nice. But Finn's mother isn't the only suspicious adult. All the adults are suspicious and not in a credible way but again just for the sake of the plot. Even when Finn asks an innocent question they are on to him like dogs sniffing for drugs. Finn could have asked for a strawberry ice-cream cone and they would reply, hey punk why don't you order vanilla to match your personality?
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Finn's lady friend is not only vanilla but angelic. Yep, she is literally an angel. The book goes out of it's way to establish that Amanda lives in an old church and tries to set up beautiful imagery but I think it is safe to say the author just couldn't reach the mark. Speaking of not reaching the mark, let's talk about the author setting up situations and not tying them up at the end. I already talked about Finn's mom and her lack of parental control when it is beneficial to Finn's plot. Let's talk about a scene in one of the early chapters of the book. Finn and Amanda visit the parks one day without permission (Finn needs to carry a special pass with him when he visits the parks because he is a DHI) and are chased by a bunch of security guards. Amanda angelically saves them by finding a secret passage way and they narrowly escape the guards. Once the guards that were chasing them walk away, Finn and Amanda walk out into the open and suddenly everything is normal. I'm almost positive they go and get ice-cream or something along those lines (I can't check the source material because I threw that book away the moment I finished the last sentence so I apologize for that). So...wait, isn't Finn wanted still?...won't other security guards see him?...how can he magically be wanted one minute but off free the next?....oh screw continuity. Let's just let the kids have fun at Disney World even though it contradicts the entire chapter we just read. No big deal. Actually, I think this pretty much sums up this book.
This book is awful, and I know awful! I read Twilight. And this was worse! I feel like the author is trying to get us to purposefully dumb ourselves down. This Night at the Museum recreation is full of contradictions, bland characters, over dramatized situations, and stab you in the eye dialogue. The book should have a warning on the back that the side of effects of reading it include self harm, please keep all readers away from sharp objects and prescription drugs. Between the forced relationship between Finn and Amanda and the awful one liners, I was lucky to not bring a gun to my head. This has to be one of the worst books I've read in a long while and to think it is a series is mind boggling. I wouldn't return to this series if my life depended on it!
The only part of this book I enjoyed was the first paragraph of a later chapter on page 244 and it says, "The transportation and ticket center hummed with conversations as a tangle of park visitors shuttled between buses and monorails. Some families were ending their days just as others were starting theirs. On a Monday afternoon, thick with humidity, the tired and impatient mingled with the exhilarated and anxious. For some, a day spent; for others, an evening full of promise. The humidity hung in the air so heavily you could practically wear it like a coat." Okay, why couldn't the entire book be like that one paragraph? It was a diamond in a whole lot of rough.
What do I think of this book? Well, it pretty much blows. It is the worst bunch of words splattered on paper. I've never wanted to barf so much in my life. This could be the book that would turn kids off to books...like when you visit a fast food chain and vomit and vow to never go there again. Well this is the vomit that scares a kid from reading and makes them think it is stupid. There are some good moments...well two to be exact, which is not enough to redeem this awful awful excuse for a book. A stupid movie I could see. But a book? This is just despicable. 1 out of 5 stars from me.
To whom it may concern: This review was a parody of two things, 75% Nostalgia Critic and 25% Literary Disco podcast. This review most definitely reflects my views though I expressed them in the form I was parodying.
Read more reviews here --> http://thereader101.blogspot.com/
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Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson (Paperback - September 1, 2009)