Warning: Do NOT read this book if...
-You are by yourself
-You are in a dark place
-It is thundering/lightning/general storminess outside
-You are easily spooked
-You still sleep with your parents
-You cover your eyes during scary movies
-You refuse to go first in haunted houses
You scaredy-cats know who you are and don't say I didn't warn you!
Skeleton Creek isn't just a mystery. It's a creepy mystery that sucks you in until the very last page, where it spits you out panting and trembling. If you weren't afraid of the dark before, you will be after reading this. Trust me.
Ryan and Sarah live in the boring town of Skeleton Creek, Oregon where nothing exciting ever happens. When researching the history of their town's dredge, they stumble across the mystery of Old Joe Bush, a miner who worked on the dredge and was mysteriously killed. The two curious teens make a midnight jaunt to the abandoned dredge in the middle of the woods where two things happen: they bare witness to a bone-chilling "phantom" and Ryan has a terrible accident that leaves him in the hospital for two weeks.
After the accident Ryan is left recuperating in his bedroom and is forbidden to have any contact with Sarah. However, the search for the truth is far from over. Sarah continues to hunt for clues and video tape her findings, sending them to Ryan by email where he secretly checks them without his parents knowing. Readers can watch Sarah's videos by going to http://www.sarahfincher.com/ and typing in the passwords she gives Ryan (which are located throughout various chapters in the book).
OK, this is really embarrassing but I have to get it off my chest: I watched the first of Sarah's videos by myself one Tuesday night after everyone went to bed. I don't know if it was the dark room, or the quiet house, or the late hour, but I was spooked. VERY, VERY SPOOKED. After that I couldn't bring myself to watch anymore of the videos. I know, I know, I'm a huge wimp. When I work up the courage to finally watch the rest of the videos it will be at 9:00 in the morning, with all of the lights on, and surrounded by people. WIMP!
As Ryan and Sarah begin to piece their clues together they realize that the mystery is larger than they ever imagined and that the entire town seems to know something that they don't.
The story ends with the two of them making their way back to the dredge (dun dun DUN) and leaves you with a cliffhanger that makes you want to throw the book at the computer in total frustration. (Or, if you're like me, you'll be breathing a huge sigh of relief that it's finally over. For now.)
For those brave enough to want more, the sequel, Ghost in the Machine, comes out October 1, 2009 and you can pre-order it HERE. You're on your own for that one, though. I've had enough of sleeping with the lights on...
Recipe to Read By: Bone Cookies
These sweet treats are pretty authentic-looking. You can even add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring with the extract for an "aged" look.
Pinch of salt
5 egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1teaspoon almond, vanilla, orange or lemon extract
1. Preheat oven to 220°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Prepare pastry bag with round #10 tip (about 3/8-inch diameter).
2. Combine sugar and salt in small bowl. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in small bowl with electric mixer at low speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form and meringue is shiny and smooth. Add extract; beat just until blended.
3. Fill pastry bag with meringue. (Note: Mom probably has a piping bag collecting dust somewhere under the counter behind all of her other never been-used wedding gifts of long ago.)
Pipe log 3 to 4 inches long. Pipe 2 balls on both ends of each log. Smooth any peaks with wet finger. Repeat with remaining meringue.
4. Bake 30 minutes; turn off heat. Leave cookies in oven overnight; do not open oven door.
5. Take the hamster/gerbil/mouse out of your little brother or sister's cage and replace with these cookies. When he/she starts to cry pick up one of the bones and eat it. Watch them howl. (I didn't tell you that!)
Recipe courtesty of http://www.howstuffworks.com/
Click on the link to see a cool pic of what the finished cookies look like: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/meringue-bone-cookies-recipe.htm.