Patrick Carman: Skeleton Creek

Skeleton Creek
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Halloween calls for something scary on the reading table – Skeleton Creek may give just an appropriate amount of goosebumps for the right reader!

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

A book and a movie together, interacting… Carman has had an interesting idea and the realization is professional. Skeleton Creek tells the story of two best friends, Ryan and Sarah, who mean trouble together. They investigate an old mystery connected with a mining company in their home town.

Ryan has already managed to break his leg in the investigations and he has been forbidden to contact Sarah by their parents. The book tells the tale from Ryan’s point of view, the videos available in the web behind pass words tell what Sarah sees.

Author: Patrick Carman
Publisher: WSOY 2009
Category: MG Fiction
Original language: English
Rating: 4/5

This is a page turner for sure. Ryan’s somewhat paranoid telling lets the reader assume something sinister is about to happen and forces one to keep reading. Perhaps my imagination got running faster than the novel, because the events never evolved onto a level I expected. Well, it is after all a MG book and based in the comments in the web, seems to work wonderfully for the right segment group. As an adult reader, I was on the lookout for a big twist, which never came. The ending is a real cliffhanger without any resolution given to the reader. This style is closer to television series than novel series – on purpose, no doubt.

Skeleton Creek was published already in 2009, but I haven’t tumbled on any other books with quite the same format. Combining a printed book and videos in the web is undoubtedly more expensive than just an old fashioned novel. It also requires that the author is skilled in video script writing. All this might hinder new ventures.

But perhaps the main reason that this format hasn’t gained more popularity is that it kind of eats away at the reading experience to mix these two media. When I read a good story, I get carried away into the world of that story. Every interruption in the reading pulls me out of that world. And to stop reading and to go and check a video definitely counts as an interruption. And that kind of interruption can be dangerous, because it might even tempt the reader to stop reading the novel.

Well, I guess in the end it is a question of what kind of a reader one is. If we’re talking about reluctant MG readers, then this would probably be a great way to tempt them into reading. The text portions are short enough not to become an obstacle and then a video is offered as kind of a reward for getting that far in the story. If we’re talking about bookworms who want to dive into a story, this tactic might not work as well.

However, Skeleton Creek has been a reasonable success and has been translated into several languages. I’m sure it was also very interesting to do for the author! Patrick Carman has written several other popular series for youth of different age categories.

Susan

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