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The Paradise Trap Hardcover – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Going to Diamond Beach in a smelly old trailer is not Marcus's idea of a dream vacation, but his mother, Holly, wants to recapture the fun of her youth. When the two arrive, Holly is reunited with her old friend, Coco, and they reminisce about the past and about a boy named Jake, while Marcus becomes friends with Holly's stepson, Eddison. The boys decide to go exploring in the trailer and discover a cellar with doors at the bottom. The two enter Eddison's dream world, but Marcus refuses to stay and Eddison will not leave. Marcus drags Holly, Coco, and Eddison's sister back to the trailer. Coco recognizes the trailer as belonging to Miss Molpe, a woman who played beguiling music to them as children. As more and more people get lost in their dream vacations, it's up to Marcus, his mother, Coco's husband, and a robot named Prot to save everyone, including Jake, before their vacations become nightmares. Miss Molpe still owns the trailer and with it secrets that could prove deadly to the children. Catherine Jinks has created a clever story (Egmont USA, 2012) with an interesting twist on the siren myth. Chelsea Bruland provides characterizations that perfectly capture each character. Her suspenseful reading will keep listeners breathless until the very end. Great for middle schoolers who want just a little danger along with their fantasy.-Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


Praise for Catherine Jinks:

"A breathless escapade."Kirkus Reviews

"Jinks (the Evil Genius series) combines a plot filled with surreal twists and turns with a dash of Greek mythology in a novel that hits the mark on both the humor and horror fronts."—Publishers Weekly

"Jinks deftly mixes mild horror with humor to give younger readers a few shivers and make older readers chuckle. Each dream/nightmare world sheds dramatic, sometimes touching, insight into the character whose hopes and fears create it, and the nonstop action will make for exciting read-alouds and book talks. Completely absorbing and totally fun."School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606842730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606842737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,045,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CATHERINE JINKS was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1963. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and later spent four years studying medieval history at the University of Sydney. After working for several years in a bank, she married a Canadian journalist and lived for a short time in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband Peter and their daughter Hannah.Catherine is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children's Literature.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J.Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Paradise Trap is a delightful read that is sure to deliver lots of chills and more than a few laughs. With a decidedly Twilight Zone feel, the author tells the story of eleven year old Marcus and his mother, who take their broken down trailer to the beach for a vacation. Any desire for fun in the sun is soon forgotten however, after Marcus discovers a staircase underneath the trailer's kitchen table. This mysterious staircase leads to doors that open up to their dream vacations, and Marcus and his friends soon find themselves immersed in a struggle to escape from an alternate reality that really is too good to be true.

The characters are all very well done in this novel, some delightfully quirky, and all very distinct and memorable. The action comes at a fast and furious pace as one by one, Marcus brings in friends and family to explore the mysterious cellar. When the dream vacations turn to nightmares, the novel really takes off with a hold your breath rush to the finish that just might leave you a bit dizzy at the reality bending conclusion.

This is perfect summer reading for the 4th to 6th grade set. Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation, and kids will delight in considering what might happen if it was suddenly given to them. Would you still want it, or would you ultimately just want to go home even if you were having the best time ever? Be forewarned, there are creepy clowns, creepy giant cats, and lots of genuine peril. It won't be easy to put this one down until you reach the end, and even then you might just wonder if it really is the end! Excellent writing and imaginative fast paced plotting make this an enthusiastic recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Australian writer Catherine Jinks has one heck of an imagination. Her books for children and young adults consistently span genres and defy clichés. In THE PARADISE TRAP, she offers readers a novel that deftly combines humor and horror in a story that explores what happens when a dream vacation turns into a nightmare.

Eleven-year-old Marcus would happily spend his school vacation shut up in his room attempting to conquer the final boss in his favorite video game, Cruising for a Bruising. But his mother has other plans. She wants to return to Diamond Beach, the site of her happiest childhood vacation memories. Marcus is less than thrilled about this plan. "The real world isn't any fun," he whines to his mom. "It's not as good as a fake world." Little does Marcus know how wrong he is.

Marcus' complaints seem to be justified when they first arrive at Diamond Beach. The beach is no longer the pristine paradise of his mom's memory, that's for sure. It's a giant parking lot filled with mobile homes and trailers; the actual beach is nowhere in sight. They meet mom's childhood friend Coco, who is now a pampered housewife with two spoiled stepchildren and a tricked-out mobile home. What's more, the only trailer Marcus' mom could afford is old and rundown and smells like dirty socks.

But that trailer --- which, it turns out, belongs to a mysterious old lady from his mom's past --- has hidden depth. Literally. While playing with Coco's stepson Edison, Marcus discovers that the trailer has a hidden cellar, an endless elevator, and a seemingly infinite number of portals to various alternative realities, each of which represents a dream vacation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By emkachan on May 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dream vacations? Do they exist or will they quickly become nightmares? What about nightmare vacations? Can you survive them? What's that smell?

Marcus' mother buys a shabby, dilapidated RV (in Australia, so we're actually talking about campers and dream holidays) and fixes it up. She and her family did a holiday at Diamond Beach when she was a child and she wants Marcus to experience the fresh air, the sun, the lazy days, the other kids, but Marcus would rather play computer games. Regardless, they go. The beach is over-developed, filthy, packed with people, and a long way from their RV's parking spot. On the hike through the acres of RVs to find the actual ocean, Marcus' mom runs into her childhood Diamond Beach friend Coco and they get to chatting in Coco's luxurious RV with the inflatable gym and the personal robot. Coco tells Marcus to go play while she and Marcus' mom catch up. Coco has a son, Edison (Eddie), a few years younger than Marcus and they go back to look at Marcus' RV, even though it's much less cool than Eddie's. Eddie is intrigued by all the nooks and cupboards and the storage space under the bench seat, which has stairs leading to a cellar. Eddie's RV doesn't have a cellar! Down in the basement of the RV are two doors. Marcus and Eddie choose one and find an amusement park full of clowns, talking rides, unlimited funnel cake. Eddie is swept up in the joy of, hey, his dream vacation and when Marcus tries to drag him out he is attacked by anthropomorphic carnival games and clowns.

Marcus tries to alert the mums, but they are doing a home foot spa, so he lures Eddie's older sister Newton (Newt) into helping him save her brother by stealing her cell phone and running while she chases him. She needs her phone. Newt is a teenager.
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