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SKELETON CREEK


By Patrick Carman

Scholastic Press, 2009 ($14.99)
For ages 10 and up, Grades 5 and up
ISBN-10: 0545075661
ISBN-13: 13: 978-0-545-07566-4

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Ryan thinks the isolated town of Skeleton Creek is a very weird place, and he is not alone. His best friend Sarah shares his belief, and their actions in trying to prove it have disastrous results. After spending two weeks in the hospital, he comes home and begins to chronicle their experiences in his journal. Thereís not much else he can do, he and Sarah are not allowed to be in contact. As resourceful teenagers, of course they do manage to circumvent their parents.

Ryan has always wanted to be a writer, in the style of Hemingway or Steinbeck, but he now fears he may not live to finish the current journal, much less grow up and achieve his dream.

The mystery of Skeleton Creek revolves around an abandoned gold and silver mine, and the ghost of Old Joe Bush, who died a horrible death while running the dredge that crushed the rock. Thatís where Ryan had his accident, and Sarah -- well, what happened to Sarah? In his dreams she is falling, falling, but yet she is sending him cryptic messages. Is his whole life a nightmare? He doesnít know who to trust, not even his own mind.

This is a shivery good yarn, one that should not be read right before bedtime. There are two web sites dedicated to the book: http://www.sarahfincher.com/, and wwwenterskeletoncreek.com, along with other cutting-edge marketing tools -- videos, book trailers, a MySpace.com page and more. Readers will be able to interact with the book, helping to solve the mystery. This seems to be the future of book promotion, and SKELETON CREEK may become a big success.

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