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Skeleton Creek #1 (Volume 1) Paperback – May 11, 2016
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A gimmick? You betcha. But given the novelty and the advertising blast this novel with accompanying Web videos is getting, this is something kids will want. And Carman’s accessible, journal-type text, full of mystery and foreshadowing, pulls from the outset. Teenage Ryan records the circumstances that landed him with a broken leg, forever—according to his parents—parted from his partner in mischief, Sarah Fincher. But parental edicts mean little in the face of a true mystery in the teens’ boring town, so the two use technology to keep in touch: while Ryan journals and frets, Sarah films her adventures, references to which appear periodically in the journal along with the address of a Web site where they can be viewed. With an appropriately homemade look, the nicely choreographed videos definitely build atmosphere, but for most of the novel, readers won’t miss vital clues if a computer isn’t close at hand. It’s the ending that really annoys: the last page of the journal leads to a video that promises answers—but not until May 2009. A spoiler? Not quite, but certainly something book purchasers should know about. Grades 5-8. --Stephanie Zvirin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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First you read the book.... Ryan's journal of events that are taking place AND THEN you watch a video from Sarah online. These are 3-8 minute videos made by "Sarah" a teenage girl. They are not state of the art videos but they are enough to get a rise out of the kids. It is not too scary just every once in awhile something unexpected jumps out at you. My students could not get enough of this book. They would listen for hours and beg to watch the videos over and over again. They would beg for me to stop reading so we read... A LOT!
This book was so good that soon the 6th grade class next door was wondering what we were up to and wanted in on the action. So... they started reading. Then the third class joined us and then friends at another school. I am telling you... this book is a life saver! We ended up reading the first 4 books of the series in the last 4 days of the school year!!! It was the most we read all year long. The kids went home after school and rewatched the videos with their parents. They were desperate to be the first one to solve the mystery.
This would be the perfect "Halloween" story as well. I saw somewhere that this was good for grades 4-6. I would agree. I think 7th graders may even enjoy it.
Right from the beginning the story picks up and goes as the two characters, Ryan and Sarah try to uncover Skeleton Creek’s mysteries. The first thing you find out is that the book is actually Ryan’s journal so its like he’s telling the story to you himself, and what adds to that feeling even more is the handwriting style font. Ryan is a compulsive yet dedicated writer, and a good thing too because he’s restrained to him bed due to an accident that takes place before the book starts and tells you about at the beginning. So while Ryan’s stuck Sarah’s out digging up anything she can about the old abandoned dredge outside town. Which is where the videos come in, Sarah sends Ryan passwords that let him access the videos online (which is the same way the reader accesses them as well) since the two aren’t allowed to speak to each other by order of their parents. The two quickly learn that the mystery of Skeleton Creek and the dredge is more dangerous than they thought, Ryan almost died investigating it and the ghost that haunts the dredge, Old Joe Bush, was actually killed at the dredge because of it.
Skeleton Creek’s biggest downfall though is it’s ending. Major cliffhanger. But it does make you want to go out and buy the next book, Ghost In The Machine or borrow it from your local library.
I would recommend this book to anybody who likes ghost stories, stories with suspense or mysteries. I really enjoyed it.
Master of creepiness or an artists with panicky words? That is the question. When I first started reading this book I noticed that how the author got you scared was with simple words and phrases like "fear", "too terrible to write down", "dredge", "watching", or even "window". I hate windows at night. And wouldn't you know it, that is how the "ghost" is introduced... peeping through a window (see book cover). Is it just me or do I feel a chill? Hmm, oh well. The first two videos are creepy and I would highly recommend a buddy being there with you. Good news though, the rest of the videos are fine. No creepy things popping up, mainly stuff about the mystery. The mystery parts were actually quite interesting and I'm anticipating the next book, but I'm a little nervous about the videos. I can't say that I was so scared out of my pants that I couldn't continue, but it was enough to creep me out. I don't particularly like ghost stories unless I have a good hunch (and it turns out to be true) that the so-called ghost is a real person just scaring people. (I think I watched too many Scooby-Doos.) I thought combining text and video was a really neat idea and, although I prefer to read rather than watch, I think this new idea is a great way to get kids to read. I really don't agree with this book being labeled 9-12 because if someone younger than twelves picks up this book, chances are they'll have a hard time going to sleep. I would recommend to anyone age 12+, but definitely not anyone younger.
If you like ghost mysteries, grab this book and let the story of Skeleton Creek suck you in. Hey, this would even be a great thing to read during a sleep-over. But if you're faint of heart or don't like to be scared, then you know you shouldn't read this book.
No goosebumps? Great. Well here's your chance to experience Ryan and Sarah's adventure yourself because I'm giving away a signed copy of Skeleton Creek. I'm 90% sure that I'm going to give away some other books along with Skeleton Creek, so it might be a few more weeks till this book is actually up for grabs. Please stay tuned!
Ready for the next chilling adventure? Don't hold your breath 'cause Book 2, Ghost In The Machine (Skeleton Creek) will be here October 1st, 2009.
Age Group: YA, ages 12+