Close to a year ago, the kids and I read "Skeleton Creek", and was pretty entertaining for all of us. If you haven't heard of this book, it is really quite clever. The book is a collection of diary entries written by teenager Ryan McCray. He and his best friend Sarah have uncovered some sinister goings-on in their small town of Skeleton Creek. Because Ryan has recently broke his leg, he does most of the online snooping, and Sarah runs around town with her video camera documenting suspicious characters. At intervals in the book, you are directed to log onto a website and watch Sarah's findings. Cross-media to reel in the non-readers! I love it! There was a cliff-hanger at the end of the book, and the three of us were insane wanting to read the follow-up book "Ghost in the Machine".
So we get our hands on "Ghost in the Machine" this past August - a gift from my Scholastic rep Mary (who is just the best). After reading about half the book with the kids, they lost all interest. I had to employ guilt tactics to get them to sit and listen to my narrating skillz. Finally, five months later, I decided to just finish the darned thing myself, and get it off my kitchen table.
Ryan and Sarah's adventures continue. They discover more clues to the mystery behind Skeleton Creek, and the creepy dredge at the edge of town. Ryan's dad is involved somehow, people keep dying, and Ryan and Sarah begin to suspect that they might be next on the hit list. All is revealed at the end of the story, with an unmasking of the evil-doer. It was all a bit too Scooby-Doo, frankly.
I guess I can't really blame my kids for ditching the story. It was more of the same antics that we saw in the first book, except a bit drier, with a concept that is no longer new. After reading such superb YA novels recently, such as "Life As We Knew It", or "The Adoration of Jenna Fox", or the brilliant works of Jacqueline Woodson, this story fell flat. On the other hand, the use of both the written word and the Internet makes the experience very three dimensional, and may likely entice the techno-savvy tweens and teens to turn off the TV or video game and read a book. You can't argue with that.
2.5 out of 5 stars