Review – Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Read.  Watch. Uncover.
Skeleton Creek


Something mysterious is happening in Skeleton Creek.
Something scary. Something sinister.

Ryan came close to it … and nearly died.
Now he’s trapped in his house. He can’t
trust anyone – not even himself.

He is forbidden from seeing his best friend, Sarah.
So while Ryan is isolated and alone, she
plunges back into the mystery, putting her
life on the line to get to the truth.

Ryan is desperately trying to write down the full
story. And while he does, Sarah takes videos of what
she finds, then sends him the links so he can watch.

Together, they discover:
The past is dangerous. The present is haunted.
And the future is deadly.



My Thoughts 
When I first heard about this new book from Patrick Carman I was excited to say the least. Having volunteered with a school library I knew about his previous books for children and had seen how much kids enjoyed reading them, especially the Elyon series. So there’s one point for being an author that gets children excited about reading. But I’m a life-long reader and it takes a bit more to get me truly excited about a book, so why was I so worked up awaiting Skeleton Creek? The answer is the format. Books have traditionally been about the writing and the story, but nowadays with most books being translated into the movie format, I’ve seen too many people skipping the books in favour of the film. And with kids this is especially distressing, because not only do they have the option of movies but many books are also making the jump over to video games. What I mean to say is that with technology being a part of our everyday lives it’s easy skip the book, to play the game, watch the movie – but that means you may miss out on the original message that designers and producers did not think crossed over well into their medium. However, Patrick Carman came up with the perfect solution! Why not take all three formats, mix them together and see what happens. And the final product, Skeleton Creek is a phenomenal thing indeed. Check out this video clip, where Carman shares his thoughts on Skeleton Creek’s design.

So, the idea is a great one, but how does it play out? Amazingly! The book starts out with a journal entry from Ryan, his first line: “There was a moment not long ago when I thought: This is it. I’m Dead.” Wow, how’s that for an intro. From there the reader is pulled straight into Ryan’s story. The diary format works really well in making the reader feel they have stumbled upon Ryan’s personal account of what happened. Because of past events, Ryan has been forbidden contact with his best friend Sarah. But kids being kids, they find a way around this using the internet. Sarah, not able to see or phone Ryan uses her video skills to upload filmed messages to her website. Ryan, being the type who wants everything written down, includes website passwords so that Sarah’s videos can still be included in his journal. Along with the passwords, Ryan also prints out hardcopies of relevant emails and clues, which he then glues into his journal. All of this information taken together as a whole, creates a very engaging story, that pulls the reader into an interactive mystery, to find the secret behind Skeleton Creek.

I found myself feeling very connected to Ryan as the story progressed. During his forced separation from Sarah and while reliving the horror of what happened to them, he becomes paranoid and on-edge, as he gathers clues that confuse things even more, he starts to question his own mind and the people he knows. This emotional instability came across wonderfully in the writing. Likewise the videos perfectly capture Sarah’s stubborn drive to uncover what is going on. She is driven, and slightly careless, but as you watch her in the videos you start to form an idea of how successful she could someday become as an investigative journalist. Alone, the two main characters probably have no chance, but together they create the perfect team, one worried and cautious, the other foolhardy and brave. One to consider and tell the story, the other to capture and show it.

Ghosts, gold, secret societies, conspiracies. The ending of Skeleton Creek left me wordless, and I eagerly await the next instalment. Until then, there’s lots of interesting things going on around the internet and I will be watching for the next appearance of Ryan and Sarah.

About The Author
Patrick Carman is the award-winning author of many books for young adults and children. He grew up in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from Willamette University. His birthday is February 27th, 1966. He spent a decade living in Portland, where he worked in advertising, game design, and technology.
Patrick Carman has been a life long writer and storyteller. He writes books for young adults and children for Scholastic and Little Brown Books for Young Readers. His bestselling series include The Land of Elyon, Atherton, and Elliot’s Park. Mr. Carman’s books have been translated into approximately two dozen languages.
Mr, Carman spends his free time supporting literacy campaigns and community organizations, working with, mountain biking, fly fishing, doing crosswords, playing Scrabble and basketball, reading, and (more than anything else) spending time with his wife and two daughters.

Title: Skeleton Creek
Author: Patrick Carman
Reading Level: Ages 10 and up
Book Type: Hardcover 192 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 2009

Explore Skeleton Creek
Skeleton Creek Is Real
Live Friday The 13th Webcast
Portfolio Days (music from SC)
Sarah @ MySpace
Joe Bush ?

Other Reviews
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Sharon Loves Books And Cats
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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

When I first heard about this, I was a skeptic, but I've read such rave reviews that I really want to read this one.

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

Great review! I'm glad you liked it too :)

naida said...

wow, this sounds so good!
great review :o)

p.s. I received your wonderful package, thank you sooooo much!

Darla D said...

My 10-year-old daughter and I loved this book and its concept! She is still talking about Old Joe Bush and the shivers that run up her spine when she thinks about it. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

Lenore said...

That's a stellar first line. I'm hooked!

mari said...

This was a fun book. YOu can find my review here.

Anonymous said...

Nona has two other books by Patrick Carman. It's a trilogy and she's waiting for the first book before starting it. Can wait to read this one too. :)

Zoe said...

Sounds great :)

Ladytink_534 said...

I love the idea of this book and the idea of the format is really neat too. Ever since I was a kid I've enjoyed reading the book and then seeing the movie (which is why my personal challenge is to read all the books that were made into Disney movies) and I just love how this takes it to a whole new level!

Anonymous said...

that book was great u did a great job Patrick carman

Anonymous said...

i heard about this book from my friend and i read it and now i love it im on the 2nd book!