I kept seeing this book on display in Waterstones, and I loved the cover. It has the perfect balance of spooky and fun, and I picked it up while I was on my pre-birthday middle-grade shopping trip. I nearly picked up both, and now I wish I had because THE HAUNTING OF AVELINE JONES is a perfect gothic middle-grade read and I need the sequel stat.
About the book:
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.
What did I think?
This middle-grade ghost story is incredibly atmospheric. It has the perfect gothic slow build, the story unfolding in pieces to pull the reader into the story. The way that Aveline and Primrose’s stories are tangled together were incredibly engaging and made for a rapid page-turner of a book. The setting matched the atmosphere perfectly, with a small seaside town abandoned by tourists and full of creepy figures ready for Halloween.
Aveline’s character voice is perfect, she sounds just like the 11 year old that she’s supposed to be, and I love reading middle-grade books about avid readers. Aveline’s interest in ghost stories fits any reader who picked up this book, and it made it even spookier. I could imagine being in Aveline’s place with The Lady looking for me. Honestly? She was braver than me. I liked the friendship between Aveline and Harold, developing from that awkward stage of being drawn together in a small town to being close friends, working together to save Aveline from the ghost searching for her.
The adults in this story weren’t just story dressing like I’m used to in middle grades, which was really nice. I liked that Aveline was able to lean on her aunt for help, and Mr. Lieberman made for a great addition to this group cast, even if sometimes I questioned the freedom he gave this young girl. They all worked together to solve this mystery and I loved that Aveline was trusted and believed easily. The mystery isn’t overly convoluted, but that’s what I expect for a middle grade, and the atmosphere more than made up for it, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the final page. About halfway through the book I added the sequel to my wishlist, already confident that I’d want to continue. And I absolutely do want to keep reading them, and can’t wait to get back to Aveline for the second story in this series.
Release Date: 17th September 2020