Book Preview: Skeleton Creek

Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek, #1)Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Hardcover, 185 pages

There’s something up in Skeleton Creek. Ryan, whose journal we’re reading, is stuck in his room and having difficulty remembering what happened one night when he was out with his friend Sarah. Ryan likes to tell scary stories, and uses his writing to come to terms with what happened to him. As he begins to remember, a mystery is revealed, one that Sarah catches on video tape and sends to him. Skeleton Creek combines Ryan’s journal with Sarah’s videos to tell a story that will keep you up at night.

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My Original Thoughts
Skeleton Creek
, by Patrick Carman caught my interest at the NMLA conference in 2009 because it’s a novel that integrates video. Not a novel that was made into a film, but a novel where the video is (supposed to be) integral to the continued understanding of the plot.

Skeleton Creek is supposed to be a scary story. When my students ask for a scary novel, usually whatever I give them isn’t scary enough for their tastes. Maybe it’s because they don’t visualize. Maybe it’s because they’re so desensitized by the visual media they’ve grown up with that the pictures they form in their heads don’t compare to what a filmmaker can do with camera angle, actor positioning and music. I don’t know. But I’ve watched one of the videos that goes along with Carman’s book already. It reminded me of the Blair Witch Project, which is a movie that creeped me out.

A drawback to presenting a book like this is that if you don’t watch the video, you can’t move on. Well, I’m on my second day stuck where I am in the novel because of testing and no computers on, and class and homework. It’s unfortunate because I really want to continue. I’m thinking about reading on and seeing how important the video is to the story.

Carman, Patrick. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.



  1. >I'm in a Title I school. Most of my students don't have computers at home. I read the first four or five pages of the book. I showed them the book trailer and then on our day in the lab I handed them the video codes. I told them that the video would not make a lot of sense without reading the book. Several of the kids could not watch the video (mostly guys) because they said it creeped them out. At the end of class they handed back the passwords. The next day in class I had a line wanting to know if the book was available. I had purchased 5 extra copies. I created lists on sticky notes and put them on the check out cards so I knew who got it next. I would not normally recommend it that way but for some that was the reason they had not picked up the book. Why read it if they could not see the video. It is still one of the number one books checked out from my classroom.


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