Follow The Artsy Reader on

Book Review: The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

My dear bookish friends!
Lately I have been feeling drawn to some more spooky books. Spooky, I say? Yes, you heard that right! And I have no idea what is happening either lol! But don’t worry, I still am a scaredy cat. Might that be why I’m choosing my spooky reads to be middle grade? Well, let me tell you though, this book really managed to raise the little hairs on the back of my neck – it hits that level of spooky that would be too much to read at night if it were labeled adult, and even so I’d say proceed at your own risk!


The Synopsis

Aveline Jones 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 once belonged to Primrose Penberthy, who vanished mysteriously, never to be seen again. Intrigued, Aveline decides to investigate Primrose’s disappearance.

Now someone… or something, is stirring. And it is looking for Aveline.

Turn on your torches, and join Aveline Jones in her first charmingly spooky mystery, from debut author Phil Hickes.

My Review

Spooky isn’t usually my thing, but ever since I discovered spooky middle grade, my opinion seems to be changing! I have to say if had read this as a child, I probably never would have slept again (and I never really got a good sleep anyway!). But now, as an adult – so totally not the target audience – I really, really enjoy these books! The Haunting of Aveline Jones was no different.

Aveline has to stay at her aunt’s for a few weeks while her mother drives up to Scotland to look after Aveline’s ill grandmother. It’s is the build-up to Halloween, and the coastal town offers the perfect spooky atmosphere right from the start. Dark, wavy, splashy sea, dark and stormy weather, creepy pumpkin decorations everywhere, old houses and abandoned streets – the perfect setting for a spooky story!

When Aveline arrives, she and her aunt don’t hit it off very well from the start. Her aunt is very strict, always right on time – and expects Aveline to be the same. I loved that their relationship undergoes ups and downs, but in the end it was right where I wanted it to be.

Since her aunt is a teacher and the students come to her house, Aveline has a lot of free time to roam the streets and have a look around town. A lot of it she spends at a nearby bookshop. Aveline loves ghost stories, and so naturally, she looks for spooky books there, too! The owner of the bookshop is super kind and also very interesting as a character. He helps her find what she is looking for, and that is a collection of ghost stories taking place in this and the nearby towns – making them even more spooky! But then, when Aveline reaches the back of the book and the last story about a ghostly lady, she can’t read it – all the text has been blackened out! Aveline is infuriated. Who would do that to another reader?!

Luckily, her new friend Harold (the bookshop owner’s nephew) and Mr Lieberman himself help her find out what happened. And, Aveline herself has some pretty good techniques – after all, she’s an expert at everything spooky! But maybe, just maybe, she should have let the dead rest. Because now she disturbed something far too terrifying to even imagine. With her life – and those of the people around her who she has come to care about so much – at risk, will Aveline manage to find out what happened to the unreadable story? And what the disappearance of a girl not unlike Aveline a couple decades ago might have to do with it?

But the biggest question of all… Will Aveline manage to find answers to all these questions before a very angry, very vengeful spirit comes after her?

If you are feeling like you want to read something engaging, somehing that draws you in immediately, a story with good mysteries, well-drawn characters and a perfectly fitting setting – this book is the book for you! While spring makes us wait a bit more and the stormy weather says hello, why don’t you get yourself a nice cup of tea, some biscuits, a warm blanket, and THIS BOOK?

If you are a fan of atmospheric ghost stories with good mysteries, a nice coastal setting and likeable characters, then this is the book for you! The only thing missing for me to give it the full 5 stars is that it could have been a bit longer. Not even much, just a little bit, to explain some parts of the mysteries more.

I have found myself wishing for “a bit more” in many middle grade books lately, so it might just be the way they are. But this is definitely as close to perfect as middle grade ghost story can come in my opinion. Highly recommended, 4.5 stars from me! I can’t wait for the next Aveline book to be out!

Have you read this book? Does it sound like something you can see yourself picking up anytime soon? Let me know in the comments, or come say hi to me on Twitter!

Thank you all so much for reading!


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

  1. Amazing review as always Noly. You make every book that you review sound fantastic and I definitely want to try this one now, it sounds just like my kind of book and I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow The Artsy Reader on