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Survivor: 03/15/09

I'm typically not a fan of movie tie-in. Novelizations are one thing but to create an entire series of books from one film seems like a bit much. With that in mind, I reluctantly read Survivor, the first of the Scholastic books based on the Sixth Sense film. The film is now ten years old and the book series is nine years old so the hype has long since died. Can the book stand on its own after all this time?

Surprisingly (to me), the answer is yes. The main character is now Cole Sear and I suppose he was in the film too if you know the twist. There are ghosts and a mystery but the kid who sees ghosts could have been anyone. Cole here is angrier and more self confident than the withdrawn kid in the film.

To make this a "Sixth Sense" book, Cole needs dead people to see and the book delivers with an entire planeload of dead people when the plane crashes next to the museum where Cole and his classmates are on a field trip. What Cole sees in the very first minutes of the crash are crucial to solving the cause of the crash; he just doesn't know it yet and won't for a long while. In the meantime he has to do deal with a gaggle of ghosts who all want to be heard.

The two though who want to be heard most are the sister of the only surviving member of the crash and a Russian passenger suspected of being a terrorist. Like Philip in The Dead Father's Club, Cole has to set his priorities between the living and the dead. He has to sort through all the stories he's being told to find the truth and to decided who needs his help most.

Survivor doesn't require knowledge of the film to make sense. It stands by itself and would have been an excellent 'tween horror without the extra help.

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