Thursday, August 2, 2012

38. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

What a cool idea!  Intermixing journal entries and a video diary to tell a story. This feels as though it was inspired by the Blair Witch Project.  The format  feeds the tension and suspense.  No third party narrative to foreshadow or explain beyond what the Ryan ans Sarah know.

Skeleton creek is broken into two parts - Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the story. Skeleton Creek is a book and a movie at the same time. The format contributes greatly to the series appeal.

Carman uses suspense and fear to drive the plot.  The concern that housebound Ryan has for Sarah as she investigates alone creates the urgency this story needs. The grainy video provides a horror movie feel (although the acting could be much better!).  The special effects are effective.  In fact, they may be too much for younger, more sensitive viewers.  The back and forth from text to video also feeds the urgency of the situation by echoing the emotions of the main characters.  As they  hide their searching from their families and wait for 'safe' moments to send messages, the readers need to switch from reading to firing up the computer echo  those actions.

A great mystery ghost story for middle school to teen readers!

Book 1: Skeleton Creek

After an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam in the haunted woods beyond Skeleton Creek.

Ghost in the Machine

Clues from Ryan’s journal and Sarah’s videos all point to one thing: someone will do anything to stop them from uncovering the deadly truth. 200 pages, nine videos, and a shocking end to the story that started a revolution in reading.

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