The Paradise Trap
By Catherine Jinks
Expected publication April 24, 2012 by EgmontUSA
The vacation that his mom planned is not at all the vacation that Marcus gets thanks to a used trailer they buy that turns out to have a very evil past.
I've heard of Jinks' books before but never picked one up, though I have a couple of them on my to-read list. Her books seem to always be well-received, as they are often quite funny. So, that's basically what I expected when I started this one - a funny, sci-fi story. However, for me, this book was a little all over the place. It's very fast-paced and frenetic, to the point that it almost feels disorganized - a lot of information is thrown at us very quickly and readers are simply supposed to go along for the ride. I can imagine this works well for many kids, but as an older reader, I found it a bit disconcerting. Additionally, I didn't find anything all that funny, though, once again, I imagine there is quite a bit here that kids will laugh at. This is certainly an adventure story, but there are a few too many elements thrown in - a little of Greek mythology, a little of evil technology, and a little madcap family hijinks. There is a serious lack of characterization - though I mentioned that a lot of information is thrown at us at once, we never really get to know the characters all that well. As a result, I never really got all that invested in the story and, if it didn't have such short, readable chapters, I might have given up on it. The book is very readable - it's over 400 pages but they really fly by. I can see this appealing to kids looking for a different science fiction story, but it just wasn't a book I really enjoyed.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.