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.