I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the novel as a whole, especially since my memories of the Blair Witch Project weren't the most pleasant. I am going to have to admit that I did get a little frightened by the story and decided that I'm wasn't going to read any right before bed, even though the story kept me engaged the entire time. This is another one of those titles (along with I, Q: Independence Hall and Quantum Prophecy: The Awakening, that I bought last year at the New Mexico Library Association Conference and just got around to reading).
I thought quite a bit about the difference the videos make to the story, and I came to the conclusion that it was the videos that pushed this novel to the edge of the thriller category. The only other author I've read that has made me feel that much nervous anxiety is Stephen King. I was completely freaked out when I read It.
When I was hunting for the videos, or rather, trying to get the website to work, I stumbled upon a couple other websites that are related to the Skeleton Creek universe. On the companion website, Sarah Fincher's webpage, there's a link to the Skeleton Creek Investigations fan page on Facebook. I was slightly surprised by this, though I shouldn't have been. I'm not an avid Facebook user--there are a few friends I keep track of through this interface, but it's not something I check regularly. Skeleton Creek Investigations has 4,867 fans. This may not seem like a huge number, but think about the viral influence of sites like Facebook and MySpace.
The character Sarah Fincher has a MySpace page, but it hasn't been active since September 2009, which is near the time Ghost in the Machine was released. Unlike the Facebook group, Sarah Fincher's page only has 55 fans. Makes me wonder if kids are making the move away from MySpace and toward Facebook. Or the production people realized that the MySpace page didn't get many hits and moved their efforts toward Facebook, where there were more followers.
On the Skeleton Creek Is Real website, the author claims that Patrick Carman's book and the events therein really happened. I haven't had the opportunity to read through the blog that goes along with this website, but I plan to. I think the Skeleton Creek following is significantly bigger than the 4,867 people who are following on Facebook. I can't help but wonder if Skeleton Creek will have a following (possibly more short-lived) similar to the MuggleNet fandom for Harry Potter. Comments on Skeleton Creek include links to other sites of interest to fans of the show. One comment links back to the Facebook page, which apparently continues the story by giving clues to fans, and the fans have to figure out a piece to the puzzle.
The final link that I found particularly interesting (and posted on my Twitter feed earlier this week) is Skeleton Creek Analytics. I couldn't find any information about the author of this website, but he took the passwords to the videos and analyzed the choices the author made in the context of the larger picture of the novel. I've read two of the postings thus far (and they're only for the first book so far) and the author makes some interesting connections. The site was only started a month ago, so I'm guessing the author isn't done yet. I'll be interested to see what else he has to say.
Carman did a fantastic job of keeping readers from one novel to the second. There is no resolution at the end of Skeleton Creek. In fact, the characters are left in the most precarious of predicaments that I'm going to get made fun of when my family and I travel to Las Cruces on Monday and I have to pick up the second book so I know what happens. So you'll be hearing about The Ghost in the Machine here soon, dear readers because I am a book addict and cannot help myself.
The final thing I'm interested in is how this book would play out as a read-aloud. Would the integration of video help hold the attention of reluctant readers? Many of mine didn't really care for When You Reach Me, and many of the novels that have recently made my Top 10 list are too long to function as good read alouds.