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The Paradise Trap

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  316 Ratings  ·  56 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 03, 2012 Stefani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ms. Yingling
Apr 27, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
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
Aug 09, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2015 Prisca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is because, at first you just think its about a mom, Holly, and her son, Marcus, going to a boring summer vacation at a dirty beach. At the beach the boy realizes that there is a basement under the trailer that they are staying at. The author turned a boring vocation into a big scary adventure. It keeps the readers at the edge of there seats the whole entire time. in the basement, Each person has a room to a paradise world that they dream of. Since its your paradise, your paradise worl ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Susanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The paradise trap is the interesting story of 2 families and a... Trailer. The author does an interesting job spinning the tale of false reality, mazes, and questions. Marcus is a boy who's parents are divorced. He desperately misses his father, and he has no interest in public crowded locations. His mother feels sorry that all he finds interesting are games, so she buys an old trailer! They set off to diamond beach, where Marcus' mother went to as a child. They meet friends and try to enjoy the ...more
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
I read this book because my son asked me to. He is a voracious reader and usually has good taste, or, at least, he has taste the often aligns with mine. I finished this book in a matter of hours because it was an easy and enjoyable read. Don't expect too much from the writing here, but do expect a romp through a wonderful plot. Magic, mystery, and characters who come in all shapes and sizes, including dogs and robots! One thing I truly liked about this book was that Jinks included the parents on ...more
Adele Broadbent
Marcus and his mum are going on holiday to the Diamond Beach Holiday Park, but soon discover it’s nothing like his Mum remembers it when she holidayed as a child.
It’s overcrowded, the water isn’t fit to swim in and the tiny caravan they’ve bought smells like smelly armpits.
When they run into his mum’s childhood friend, she introduces them to her family and their flash caravan, Marcus begins to think it might not be so bad after all – until they discover a cellar in their own little caravan. But
Brock Stonebraker
Aug 19, 2014 Brock Stonebraker rated it it was amazing
the book is about a boy named Marcus that is a computer geek and never does stuff outside. his mother takes him to a lake and take his electronics away to good some outdoors time and what not. they take a trailer and its really old and small. his mother meets up with an old friend and they are rich and have a big trailer and she has kids. Marcus becomes friends with one of the kids. he and the boy go to Marcus's trailer and they find and cellar and it has doors that leads to there paradise dream ...more
David Macpherson
My son and I listened to this in the car on the way to school and back. I am impressed my son had the same feelings I did, that the first half was great and then it continued to lose our attention as it limped to the end. The concept is kind of cool, an evil child eating siren from Greek Mythology lures children into a door in the bottom of camper and from there they are trapped in their perfect holiday. The ideas of the perfect holidays are great, but when all the characters are taken from thei ...more
Nov 05, 2012 Nekokit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2014 Robyne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marcus and his mom go on a vacation at the beach in an old trailer. Marcus makes some new friends and while exploring his old trailer, they discover a doorway to magical worlds. Unfortunately these magical worlds have a dark side to them in that you may get stuck there forever.

I really liked this book. There were twists in the story that I didn't see coming and the character's were realistically portrayed. For instance, the sullen teen was sullen and rude. I hate when children's books sugar coat
May 28, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-may-2012
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
Nov 18, 2015 Jb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one. the character's reactions were believable, and the story was interesting, but i found myself worrying what was happening to the dog the whole time.
the dog is in very little of the book itself, but that was my focus. probably has a lot to do with my dog loving personality. i'd like to read it again. knowing the fate of everyone i think it would take on a whole new perspective.
I love Jinks' books. one of the few authors that i enjoy reading non-series books from. always thinki
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
Sep 10, 2012 Carmine rated it liked it
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
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.
Apr 04, 2012 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, aussies
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
Jan 25, 2016 Joe rated it did not like it
Though this is a children's book with a boy protagonist, the entire book is written to appeal to middle aged women. The book heavily features the boy's mother, her best friend, and a long lost crush (who is described as sexy and who ultimately marries the friend). They have "adventures" that include a dance club (for the boy's sister) and a beauty salon. Not only will the target audience hate this book, but it is poorly written, repetitive and has annoying characters. This is the worst book I ha ...more
Karen Genest
Your dream vacation...or your worst nightmare...the possibilities are endless. It starts out as a trip down memory lane for Marcus' mother, Holly, complete with an old, rather smelly, trailer and a journey to Diamond Beach. It ends with an absurd, crazy, scary trip through layers of lands, populated with characters whose very existence depends upon you staying...will they escape? Great read for upper elementary.
Lyn Battersby
Jan 28, 2012 Lyn Battersby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awards
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.
Aug 08, 2013 Alison rated it liked it
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.
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!
Oct 05, 2012 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books, fantasy
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.
Aug 08, 2012 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
Andrew Marr
Jan 05, 2013 Andrew Marr rated it liked it
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.
Chiara Bortoli
Sep 01, 2014 Chiara Bortoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I liked that it had lots of unexpected twists in the plot and it kept me reading all day. I also liked that it quickly got into the main story of the book and didn't drag out. The only criticism that I have is that there could have been a bit more of a background on some of the characters.
Jan 13, 2017 Pernilla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With no other books available I decided to read one of my children's books and I picked this one. The Paradise trap it was ok, not quite my cup of tea but the author do keep it interesting and I can see why it appeals to my children.
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.
Oct 22, 2016 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started off as a good concept, then dragged too much for me. Not that the action wasn't there, just lost my attention. The whole moral of the book is life isn't perfect, which is good, but still felt it lacking.
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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
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