The Paradise Trap
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The Paradise Trap

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  146 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A boy . . . a witch . . . and a totally sinister paradise: that’s what Marcus gets when his mom rents a scuzzy trailer and parks it near a dirty, noisy beach. Some vacation! Marcus would rather play video games anyway, but when he discovers a staircase underneath the trailer, it looks as if he may be in for some kind of multilevel, multiplayer experience controlled by a co...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by EgmontUSA (first published 2011)
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The cover on this one bothered me because it didn't match the characters.

That aside, this is a very fun book to read/listen to. It is, however, rather long. Great for those young readers who read above their grade level, or even readers who just want something fun but that you can dive into. Definitely some mind games going on, but the narrator keeps a level head and explains as he goes.
Once again I was just looking over the new books in the kids' section, when something caught my eye: in this case, a middle grade book by an author whose work for older readers, Evil Genius, really appealed. And it seems like something Tash might like, too.


This is the literary equivalent of Honey, I Shrank the Kids. That's a good thing. Two families have a dangerous and crazy adventure, and everything works out in the end. Fun stuff.

Library copy.
Ms. Yingling
Marcus is less than thrilled when his mother inists that the spend the summer at Diamond Beach, living in a very gross and rundown travel trailer. He's even less thrilled when they pull into the cheaper end of the park and realize that they can't even see the beach from where they are. When they travel to the water, they have to pass through the spiffy new area with the expensive trailers, and Marcus' recently divorced mom, Holly, runs into a woman she knew as a girl at the beach. Coco's husband...more
This book may be easily recommended with the disclaimer that the beginning is a little slow. Once the story gets going, it was difficult to put down. The concept of creating a basement to an trailer that contains endless dream vacations is so clever. The worlds created are rich, creepy and just absurd enough. The characters – while some are a little flat – are diverse, brave and sympathetic.

I do have one reservation, though. Marcus’ mom is single – no problem there – his dad is out of the pictu...more
Deidrah Reeves
I listened to this one on Playaway. It was very enjoyable and I loved the reader's Australian accent!
The story was really exciting and because I was listening I was not able to flip ahead to the ending and it kept my interest very well. The ending was a bit muddled, but it did try to wrap up loose ends for those readers that need everything tidied up. I would definitely recommend it -- great for a summer read!
Little Miss Sunshine
i am so glad i picked this book from our library shelf because this book was absolutely amazing! im not just talking about the plot, the storyline, the characters, the setting. im talking about everything this book had to offer! this book made me finish reading it in just 2 days. i loved reading every second of this book because it was just so cleverly done and so well written that it actually felt quite real. by the time i had finished the book i i thought to myself, wow. this is one of the bes...more
Buzzwords:Families, dreams &nightmares, the lie of perfection, siren, robots, love

Loved that kids and adults are working together to solve the problems, that the adults are just as quirky and individual as the kids.
I thought this book was alright compared to other books I have read in the past.
I like how Catherine Jinks has made up a story that is quiet unique.
The start of the book is a bit slow, but gradually the story moves on.
when the characters reach the plot the book is really good and I could not take it out of my hands!
But I was a bit disappointed about the end. The last 2 pages just tell you about all about Marcus and his mum and new step dad Jake and what he did after the plot.Maybe Jinks could o...more
Nathan Peterson
Did anyone find the imaginary number reference with the elevator to be funny? I was laughing hysterically after I read that. (Still wasn't enough to make me put the book down though)
I very much enjoyed this book. Every time you thought things were going to slip into a standard, tried and true format, Jinks rang in a change. For once the adults actually get caught up in the "magic", even though they are hardly ready to call it that. Special effects and holograms, anyone? The whole "if it's too good to be true it probably isn't, thing has been done many times, but never better. The set up is well done, the characters are great, and the paradises are very convincing. So are th...more
Karen Arendt
Marcus and his mom, Holly, return to Diamond Beach, a place his mom visited every summer as a child. The place has changed a lot since his mom was a child. Holly buys a used camper trailer for the trip. Marcus discovers a virtual world below the trailer in the basement. He, along with his mom, and a family they befriend on the beach get stuck in this other world. They become trapped by Miss Molpe, some magical siren/witch from Holly's childhood visits to the beach. As they try to escape each vir...more
Much creepier than the cover had me expecting. Marcus' mom drags him on vacation to a beach she adored as a child only to find that it is not the paradise she remembers. To make matters worse they are in a smelly, used travel trailer of dubious origin. It turns out the previous owner is a witch, perhaps a siren of greek mythology, who lured children into the trailer to eat them. One of the storage compartments opens to reveal a stairway to a 'basement' where the unsuspecting walk into their drea...more
Great kids book! I had fun reading it to Tristan.
Connie Hirsch
Charming middle-grade read!
I don't know what to say about this one. I enjoyed it, no doubt about that. The chapters are all very short, so it seemed like I was flying through the book. Maybe it was the fact that the book is quite enjoyable! Everyone has their own idea of what the perfect vacation is... and what is a nightmare to them as well.

Favourite Quote:
"All you have to do is remember that the real world isn't meant to be perfect. And that there will always be ups and downs, no matter where you are."

I think this sums...more
Apr 08, 2014 PWRL marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-new
Lyn Battersby
Lyn is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Lyn herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

Highly enjoyable book that actually includes parents in the adventure rather than pushing them out at the first opportunity. Good writing, excellent style, satisfying prose. Very good.
Alison Dellit
A passionate recommendation from my eight-year-old nephew led me to this children's book with an imaginative premise, if a somewhat pedestrian execution. The characters struggle to become more than stereotype, and the plot becomes repetitive at times. But the descriptions are vivid, and the hint of a more existential dilemma - can we tell the difference between heaven and hell - gives it some edge.
Andrew Marr
the characterization was somewhat thin, which is disappointing after the deeply drawn characters in the Genius trilogy. In the first half of the book I felt smothered in the social satire of "perfect" vacations. The plot itself is engaging enough to make for a fun read. The reader of this book is not likely to lust after a "perfect" vacation.

The one thing that I really liked about this book was that it included the adults in the story. Most books in this genre have the kids on their own trying to figure everything out. It was a nice change to see the adults working together with the kids. Character development was a bit weak but the concept of the book was interesting.
The premise is great--what happens when you get trapped in a dream vacation? And the execution adds some great elements. The ending is my favorite kind in most books but especially children's fantasy--not too prescriptive. Though (mild spoiler!) everyone does live happily ever after, or at least close enough.
I always enjoy Catherine Jinks on audio, but would never read one of her books since I don't enjoy them enough to not have the awesome Australian narrator. This one was pretty hectic and action-packed, so it made for particularly entertaining listening.
Finished in 2 hours!!! 8:30-10:28

Was a bit slow at first and I hated when all the characters were screaming at the top of their lungs. Aside from that, the story was a good and had cool imagination.
Jul 26, 2011 Nova rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids aged 9 to 15
'Back to the Future' meets 'Alice in Wonderland' with some Greek mythology thrown in makes for a totally unpredictable fun read that would appeal to children aged 9 to 15.
Akash G
its with a lot of twists and turns and the book makes you feel like your in and your really into the book I missed most of my communication arts class.
Inventive, difficult to anticipate, just the right amount of creepy and with really fantastic characters. I'll read more of Jinks!
A solid contribution to the science-fiction-adventure-vacation-robot-nightmare-time-travel-romance-fantasy genre.
Heather Thaler
Was ok. Got a little frustrated towards the end. Wanted the situation to be solved, way before it was.
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Catherine Jinks is the Australian author of more than thirty books for all ages. She has garnered many awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award(three times), the Victorian Premier’s Award, the Aurealis Award for Science Fiction, the Australian Ibby Award, and the Davitt Award for Crime Fiction. Her work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, Britain,...more
More about Catherine Jinks...
Evil Genius (Genius, #1) The Reformed Vampire Support Group Genius Squad (Genius, #2) The Genius Wars (Genius, #3) The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

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