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Skeleton Creek


Skeleton Creek

The thing about reviewing a scary story is that it's very important not to give too much away. In the case of SKELETON CREEK, it is even more so because every page in this book is filled with chilling fear and strange mysteries.

The story opens as we begin to read Ryan's journal. Ryan is writing about his and Sarah's most recent experiences at the dredge, an abandoned gold mining site. Ryan was almost killed in an accident there, and this, coupled with other "Sarah-Ryan" incidents, has made the parents forbid their relationship. Now at home recovering, Ryan journals about his experiences with a sense of foreboding.

I know my writing has changed in the past year. The two kinds of writing --- the made-up scary stories and the documenting of events in Skeleton Creek --- have slowly become one. I don't have to make up stories any longer, because I'm more certain than ever that the very town I live in is haunted.

This is the truth.

And the truth, I've learned, can kill you.

What started out as a kind of innocent curiosity has led both Sarah and Ryan to suspect that something much more sinister is happening at the dredge. Ryan knows what he saw and experienced that night --- something or someone was moving toward him in the cold darkness. He could hear the scrap of a foot against the floor and then a shape and then… the next thing he remembers he is waking up in the hospital. Stories abound about the place being haunted by old Joe Bush. Ryan and Sarah know these aren't just stories. Something really is out there.

For the time being, while Sarah is frightened by what has happened to her friend, she is determined to go ahead and videotape her explorations at the dredge. She links up to Ryan's computer, and now the reader moves into an interactive experience. By following the links given in Ryan's journal and entering the passwords, we are introduced to an even more terrifying world seen through Sarah's video cam. Following her shaky camera at night is like walking into the phantom-filled Blair Witch forest.

Both Patrick Carman's official website and the publisher’s website,, show you the power this tiny book offers. The video previews alone will definitely scare you.

This is a most exciting new interactive reading adventure, and kids will love it. Be warned though that it is not for the faint-hearted. More than a few times I looked over my shoulder and turned on another light. What happens to Sarah and Ryan in the end will leave you shivering with disbelief. Fortunately, book two will be out in September and more than likely will fly off the shelves like phantoms from the dredge.

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on February 10, 2009

Skeleton Creek
by Patrick Carman

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2009
  • Genres: Suspense
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545075661
  • ISBN-13: 9780545075664