Allen & Unwin, 2011

Available from
Allen & Unwin

Marcus doesn’t even want to go away for the summer. And his mum’s fond memories of Diamond Beach turn out to be nothing like reality. This could be his worst holiday ever … But things quickly become a lot more interesting when Marcus discovers the hidden cellar under their smelly old caravan. There, he and his new friends the Huckstepps find themselves touring a string of bizarre fantasy worlds filled with giant pink cats, stranded holiday-makers and walking, talking fairground rides, in a place where dreams quickly turn into nightmares. It’s a wild, exhilarating ride that will lead Marcus straight to oblivion unless he can escape the trap that’s been laid for him.

This title is also available in the United States (Egmont USA).

‘A breathless escapade.’
Kirkus Reviews

‘Jinks . . . combines a plot filled with surreal twists and turns with a dash of Greek mythology in a novel that hits the mark on both the humor and horror fronts.’
Publishers Weekly

‘Jinks deftly mixes mild horror with humor to give younger readers a few shivers and make older readers chuckle . . . the nonstop action will make for exciting read-alouds and book talks. Completely absorbing and totally fun.’
School Library Journal

  • Nicole

    Dear Catherine Jinks,
    We have recently read your book ‘The Paradise Trap’ in our literature circle (a book club) in our class. Some books our teachers choose for literature circles are not interesting to us, but this time we were pleasently suprised.
    This book had a very original plotline and writing so descriptive you never wanted to put it down. We thought that it could make a brilliant movie or sequel. Our favourite characters were Coco and Prot.
    Thank you for providing us with such a unique and brilliant read.
    Ellie & Will

    • Catherine Jinks

      Thank you so much, Ellie and Will! I’m glad you enjoyed my book. It’s funny that you should have mentioned turning it into a movie – when I originally thought of the idea, I pictured it as an animated film. But since I can’t make animated films, I turned it into a book, instead. Well spotted!

      If you liked ‘The Paradise Trap’, you might also like one of my upcoming titles, ‘Saving Thanehaven’, which will be published in Australia next March. (It’s already available in America.) In a funny sort of way, ‘The Paradise Trap’ was a dry run for ‘Saving Thanehaven’, which is all about computer-game characters. It’s very colourful and crazy and fast-paced, sort of like ‘The Paradise Trap’, only for a slightly older readership.But you’ll be slightly older too, next year – so maybe you should give it a go!

  • Nicole

    We have just currently finished your book the Paradise Trap for our Literature Circle Group. We thought that this was an amazing and gripping book that surprised us in many different ways. We were very surprised about how the end of he book turned out with the nightmare holidays as it was very unexpected. All of our group thought that it was a great book. Will you be writing any more adventures about Marcus, Holly, Jake and Miss Molpe? We also think that The Paradise Trap would be a great movie. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Yours Sincerely Lucy and Ella Year Five Fairfield P.S.

    • Catherine Jinks

      Hello, year five Fairfield – and thanks once again for your kind messages! I’m afraid I haven’t really considered a sequel to ‘The Paradise Trap’. But as I just mentioned to Ellie and Will (see below), if you’re looking for a similar kind of story, you might like to read my book ‘Saving Thanehaven’ when it’s published next March.

      PS. Have you discussed what your dream holidays would be in class, yet?

      • Nicole

        Thank you so much for replying back to us.
        now to answering your question my dream holiday would be meeting and talking to Taylor Swif.t I think she is awesome:)
        but if I had to have a nightmare holiday it would be me stuck in aftercare for the rest of my life. It’s so boring with all the little kids jumping on you and wanting to play with you.
        p.s I like the look of your books Elysium,Eglantine,Eustace and Eloise.Are the all in the same series? And what are they about?

        • Catherine Jinks

          You’re right, Ella; ‘Eglantine’, ‘Eustace’, ‘Eloise’ and ‘Elysium’ (in that order) are all part of the ‘Allie’s Ghost Hunters’ series. They’re about a girl called Allie, about your age, who first of all has to deal with a ghost in her own house, then on a school excursion, then in a friend’s house, and then on a weekend trip – though maybe the last ghost isn’t really a ghost. Anyway, she has a group of friends who help her and their job is to try and get rid of the ghosts.

          I think you’d like these books, if you like ghost stories. I certainly like ghost stories. That’s why I wrote these books.

      • Nicole

        Dear Catherine Jinks,
        My dream holiday would probably be going to somewhere like the great barrier reef. I would just hope that I wouldn’t get eaten by Miss Molpe along the way! I think that ” Saving Thanehaven” also sounds like a good book as well as A Very Unusual Pursuit!
        Yours Sincerly
        Lucy Grade Five Fairfield PS

        • Catherine Jinks

          Thanks, Lucy! Yes, I’d like to go to the Barrier Reef – I’ve never actually been there. But I think you’d be safe from Miss Molpe. She lives in my head, at the moment, not Queensland!

  • Nicole

    Our literature circle for school has just finished your book the Paridise trap. When our teacher gave us the book we thought it was going to be an easy read and a very boring book. But when we started reading it turned out to be an amazing mystery and challenging read.
    All six of us have loved the book and enjoyed all the drama. We loved it how only half way through the book they got everyone out of their paradise and then the real drama unfolds. It did get a bit confusing near the end but it was an amazing book. We agree that it should become a movie but should let us star in it. Our favourite charecters were Coco and Prot.

    Thankyou, Noah and Rohan, Year 5 Fairfield Primery School.

    P.S. Will you be writing a second book??? Please tell us!

    • Catherine Jinks

      Goodness! Everyone’s writing in! Well, I’ve already said that there won’t be a sequel, so I guess I’d better apologise that the book got a bit confusing towards the end. Drat. I guess maybe if it was a movie, it wouldn’t be so confusing, because it’s always easier to show action than to describe it.

      I’m glad you liked Coco and Prot. Coco is a great favourite of mine, too – and her dream holiday is my absolute number one. (My number one nightmare holiday is vampire camp.)

  • Bookworm1

    HI I just wanted to say that the paradise trap was amazing and so inspirational! In my life I’ve really never finished a book because it gets boring towards the end and I would just move on to the next book, but the paradise trap is different I actually finished it!!! And as a young reader I just wanted to say the Paradise trap is the best book I’ve read!!! And inspired me to actually become a writer when I grow up! And I’m amazed how only one book changed my life. SO I wanted to change others!!! Thanks so much!!!!

    • Catherine Jinks

      Gosh – I’m going to have to sit down. What an amazing message. Are you serious? Really? You actually finished a book for the first time and now you want to write one? I can’t believe ‘The Paradise Trap’ would have such an enormous effect on somebody! But it’s certainly nice to know, because that book never received a whole lot of attention. I tried to make it like an action-packed animated film, and used to wonder if I hadn’t succeeded – but I’m not wondering now! Thank you so much, Bookworm! (That’s not your real name I hope? Just joking.)
      Subject: Re: New comment posted on The Paradise Trap

  • who am i

    yes this book was amazing and i really enjoyed it

    • Catherine Jinks

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it – and appreciate the message!

      Subject: Re: Comment on The Paradise Trap

  • Edgar Alvarez

    What are those!!!!!??????

  • Anonymous

    I have never read a book with such a large abundance of plot twists :O
    It was an absolute delight reading this. Keep up the good work!
    I will look forward to reading Evil Genius next :)

    • Catherine Jinks

      Thank you so much! What a pleasure to hear from someone who’s read one of my less-well-known books! I have to say I enjoyed writing that book a LOT, so it’s good to know that people enjoy reading it!