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[Review] The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

by Amy Rush Da Silva

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The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

Aveline loves reading ghost stories, so a dreary half-term becomes much more exciting when she discovers a spooky old book. Not only are the stories spine-tingling, but it belonged to a girl called Primrose Penberthy, who vanished mysteriously, never to be seen again. Intrigued, Aveline decides to investigate Primrose's disappearance, with some help from her new friend, Harold.

Aveline Jones is a big fan of ghost stories and just can’t get enough of them. When she is sent to stay with her Aunt Lillian in a dreary, creepy town called Malmouth over half term, she thinks things are going to be boring, that is until she discovers a creepy old book. The stories within the book are terror-inducing to say the least and Aveline soon finds out the book used to belong to Primrose Penberthy, who disappeared never to be seen again. Aveline then finds herself investigating Primrose’s disappearance unaware that something or someone is stirring and looking for her.

This was such a spine-tingling, fear-inducing read that had me feeling creeped out for the most part. I was utterly absorbed in this terrifying tale and didn’t read it with the lights off. From the moment you begin the book, you feel uneasy, and you automatically know that something terrifying is going to happen, and you don’t know when. The way Hickes draws you in with his chilling descriptions of the town and its residents gets under your skin and you know something isn’t right. The town of Malmouth itself is dark, grey and makes you feel slightly unsettled which, in my opinion, was the whole purpose of it. Hickes wanted you to feel afraid and disturbed, and this came off extremely well.

Plot wise, I did enjoy the whole mystery of Primrose’s disappearance and found myself thinking up theories to how she came to vanish from the town, none of which were right mind you. If I’m being honest, I was shocked when I found out the truth and this did unnerve me, especially as I reached the climax of the story. It was also interesting to find out about the town’s history, including the house that Aveline was staying in with Lillian. When little details are brought into a story and have a big impact, then you know it’s a great one. The overall plot had me hooked and not wanting to stop reading and, because of this, I finished the book in one sitting.

Aveline was a fully-rounded character that I took to straight away. She wasn’t embarrassed to like what she liked and at times I found her to be very strong-willed, and a little bit bold. Her connection to Primrose was intriguing to say the least, and I feel that the two of them would have ended up being good friends in different circumstances. My favourite character had to be Mr Lieberman, the owner of the second-hand bookshop where Aveline picked up the book that kicked off the plot. He was so eccentric, talkative, alternative and extremely good-natured. I would love to meet someone just like him.

The Haunting of Aveline Jones was a suspenseful, hair raising, frightening read that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. I was utterly engrossed in this terrifying tale and just couldn’t get enough. It is the perfect read for the spooky season and one that you should all be picking up and getting stuck into.