Turn on your torches and join Aveline Jones!
Aveline is thrilled when she discovers that the holiday cottage her mum has rented for the summer is beside a stone circle. Thousands of years old, the local villagers refer to the ancient structure as the Witch Stones, and Aveline cannot wait to learn more about them.
Then Aveline meets Hazel. Impossibly cool, mysterious yet friendly, Aveline soon falls under Hazel's spell. In fact, Hazel is quite unlike anyone Aveline has ever met before, but she can't work out why. Will Aveline discover the truth about Hazel, before it's too late?
Join the world of Aveline Jones, where mysteries are solved, spirits are laid to rest, and everybody gets to bed on time.
Born in the UK, Phil Hickes now lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon, where he works as an advertising copywriter. He has a passion for horror, ghosts, and all things that go bump in the night. His short stories have been published in adult horror anthologies, but Phil turned his hand to writing middle grade as he wanted to create the same visceral thrill he remembers from reading Alan Garner, Clive King and Roald Dahl. The Bewitching of Aveline Jones is the second book in the series. Book One, The Haunting of Aveline Jones was published to widespread acclaim.
Cover and inside black and white illustrations by Keith Robinson (c) Usborne Publishing, 2021.
“Captivating and gorgeously written. I was definitely bewitched!” – Michelle Harrison
Praise for book one:
“Spooky and thrilling. I’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight!” Helen Duggan, author of A Place Called Perfect
“One of the best middle grade ghost stories I’ve read…and perfect Halloween story) for young readers who enjoy being scared.” Michelle Harrison
Events – host a reading by torchlight and group story writing event in your school, bookshop or library. Email email@example.com for your authorless event pack and discussion questions. Please put 'Aveline Jones event pack' in the subject line.
Immersive read-along on social media, keep your eyes peeled for our social media read-along in September!
Launch Local Legends comp: invite your readers to join our writing competition, the winning entry will be used by the author to create a local legend to feature in the third Aveline Jones adventure. Follow the hashtag #TheBewitchingofAvelineJones to find out more.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 56 members
Aveline is back and this time she's spending two weeks of her summer holiday in a cottage in the small village of Norton Wick near Bristol and, although it's not the holiday abroad many of her friends are having, she's excited to learn that the house backs onto a field which is home to The Witch Stones, an ancient stone circle. Aveline wastes no time in climbing through the brambles to explore the stones, stumbling over an old, rattling bottle on the way. Whilst there, she sees a girl who seems to be stroking the stones. Worried about disturbing her, she edges away but keeps seeing her around the village. The pair eventually meet and become friends. Although Aveline feels there is something strange about Hazel Browne (with an e), she is equally fascinated with her, especially as she introduces her to the magic of the stones. When Harold arrives with his Uncle and Aveline's Aunt, he receives a frosty reception from Hazel. The pair know that there is something different about Hazel but they cannot figure exactly what it is ... will they work it out before it's too late? I read The Haunting of Aveline Jones last summer and loved the tension and spookiness of it (I still remember getting the biggest fright when my phone pinged next to me as I read the end of the book!), so I was incredibly excited when I discovered The Bewitching of Aveline Jones had landed on NetGalley. So excited in fact, that when the book arrived on my home-page, I dropped everything and began to read it! This time, the long, hot days of summer have replaced the dark and cold evenings of Hallowe'en; yet the spooky feel remains ever present in the book. With talk of witch circles, an old village with an ancient church and graveyard at its heart, and wide open spaces with nobody around, you instantly feel on edge. The house where Aveline and her mum are staying doesn't seem to have been used for many years the noises in the night are different to the ones Aveline is used to at home; combine that with the bramble-filled garden and The Witch Stones being visible from her bedroom window, and the hazy summer setting quickly becomes an eerie place where you find yourself just waiting for things to happen! It makes the book completely compelling and utterly unputdownable! (Trust me; my parents were coming for dinner on the day I read it, and I seriously contemplated whether I would get away with reading at the table!). It was wonderful to be back with Aveline and her love of all things ghostly. She is still as determined as ever and fearless in her quest to get to the bottom of things; however, she also finds herself under Hazel's spell, finding her rather alluring yet she also feels hesitant about everything at the same time. This cool young lady seems to have the perfect house and the perfect life; she knows how to invoke the magic from the stones and even manages to persuade Aveline to ditch Harold whilst he's visiting. She has that edge of a dangerous friend, the one your parents always warned you about yet you were compelled to spend time with! Hazel is most definitely a character you'll be wary of but will equally want to see more of her! It's that pull which creates the tension that means you won't be able to stop reading once you've begun! The entire book had me utterly under its spell (so much so, I stayed up until just before midnight so I could finish it ... I was slightly wary of switching the light off afterwards!). With its creepy, summery feel, the hint of magic and the sense of danger, you are going to absolutely love this book! Before I go, I must give a nod to the wonderful illustrations: Keith Robinson has done a wonderful job at adding to the ambiance with both the front cover and those that appear throughout the book.
I have always been fascinated by standing stones but I’m not sure I want to visit the ones in Norton Wick! The Bewitching of Aveline Jones is another deliciously creepy adventure - every page overflowing with suspense and that spine-chilling feeling that nothing is quite as it seems. Aveline is on holiday with her mum in Norton Wick near Bristol. Their cottage is right next to ‘The Witches Stones’ – ancient standing stones with a dark history. Always curious, Aveline is determined to find out their real story. Were there witches in Norton Wick? Are there witches there now? And what is the purpose of the strange bottle she finds buried at the end of the garden? The village is full of paganism, folklore and a history that leads to more questions than answers. When Aveline meets a mysterious girl walking among the stones, she is drawn to her intriguing ways. At first, Hazel is fun and friendly but the more time Aveline spends with her, the more unsure she feels. Thankfully, her good friend Harold is coming to visit with a stack of books from his uncle’s shop. Hopefully, these books will hold the answers, even if it means discovering something that doesn’t want to be revealed. Phil Hickes is the king of middle grade spooky thrillers. Layer after layer of mystery is unwrapped as readers are carried along with Aveline right into the heart of a ghostly connection. The anguish of those who are trying to connect with the human world is so real and positively eerie. When my copy arrived, the pull of the storytelling was so strong that I had to drop everything to read it immediately. I can only imagine the effect it will have on young readers. Thank you to Usborne books for this brilliantly creepy book!
Every now and again a sequel will outshine the first….and this may be one of those times. While I absolutely loved The Haunting of Aveline Jones, I felt that reading the second, The Bewitching of Aveline Jones, was even better! I think purely from the perspective of character development and understanding her thrills about all things spooky and weird, Aveline is a more rounded character in book two. We know her, her love of books about ghosts, witches and eerie events. We also know that even when she may be afraid, she still manages to figure out the mystery and keep herself safe. Aveline and her mum are away in a cottage for a couple of weeks at the end of summer. Aveline is thrilled as there is a circle of stones just outside the back gate and she is obsessed with learning more about them and their history.. When she spots another girl in the circle she hangs back, but over time the girls form a friendship. It isn’t an easy friendship with Hazel, and it is marked by disappearances, jealousy and magic. When Harold comes to stay for a few days with the original cast from book 1, Aveline is thrilled and gives him a list of books to bring. Together they can solve the mystery and learn a bit more about the stone circle. Haunting, thrilling and mysterious- this is one to read late at night with a torch! I am also thrilled to see a third in this series- this is one series that definitely goes from strength to strength and will be treasured and shared!
You know that feeling…when you sense someone or something is watching you…you look over your shoulder but there’s nothing there… I was thoroughly bewitched! Phil Hickes had me under his spell from the very first chapter. This is spooky storytelling at its spine-chilling best with a plot so powerful it has the ability to completely enchant you. I was helpless to resist it’s charms, totally entranced, unable to tear myself away. It’s the end of the summer holidays and Aveline has swapped spooky seaside location Malmouth for an equally eerie cottage in the remote village of Norton Wick – the village setting feels so authentic I found myself Googling to see if it really existed! Steeped in superstition and folklore, Norton Wick has a pagan history and links to witchcraft. It seems almost deserted… lonely…yet Aveline constantly senses a mysterious presence. Totally obsessed by all things supernatural, Aveline’s absolutely delighted when she discovers that the cottage her mum has rented is right next to an ancient stone circle that the locals refer to as The Witch Stones. She feels sure strange and scary things have happened there – sorcery, rituals druids making sacrifices – and can’t wait to investigate. Then almost out of nowhere, Hazel Browne appears at the stones. She has a mysterious, almost ethereal quality and brims with confidence and coolness. Hazel is completely unlike anyone Aveline has ever met before and she’s instantly and completely taken by her. But there’s something about Hazel niggling away at the back of Aveline’s mind, a feeling that something is not quite right, a feeling of unease that gets stronger and stronger… Aveline is joined at the holiday cottage by her floppy-fringed, slightly geeky side-kick Harold and ‘the oldies’ Aunt Lillian and Harold’s uncle, eccentric bookshop owner Mr Lieberman. Being reunited with these familiar characters from The Haunting of Aveline Jones felt like being back amongst good friends and the wonderful camaraderie between Aveline and Harold is stronger than ever. But Hazel Browne seems intent on breaking that bond and will stop at nothing to totally possess Aveline. Will Aveline find out the truth about Hazel before it’s too late? In Phil Hickes’ signature style, a chain of chilling events build to a blistering conclusion with terrifying consequences – you really will be looking over your shoulder throughout. So gather yourself some herbs, polish those crystals and make sure you chant a protection spell before pre-ordering! The Bewitching of Aveline Jones was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. I feel absolutely bereft that I’ve finished it and wish I could go back and read it all again for the very first time. Thankfully the adventures with Aveline are not over yet – phew! At the end of the book there’s a teaser for The Vanishing of Aveline Jones, for which there now lies another agonising wait… With thanks to Usborne Books and Netgalley for approving me to read an advance e-copy of this incredible book.
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. Aveline Jones is reluctant to spend a summer holiday with her mother in a remote English town devoid of any other children her age. When she finds an odd arrangement of witch stone it captivates her imagination. And when, soon after, she meets a strange but bewitching girl of around her age, her holidays suddenly appear to be far more full of adventure than she originally foresaw. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Aveline Jones. Just as in the last book featuring her, this was full of supernatural horror, eerie vibes, and folklore come to life. I adored the atmosphere Hickes conjured, as well as the insights to Britain's supernatural past. This was heightened with the small snippets related to the occult that appeared between each chapter and were taken directly from historical texts. The illustrations provided a thrilling finishing touch and also aided in crafting the perfect, sinister and suspenseful, little read.
Thanks so much to Usborne Publishing & NetGalley for granting my request for this lovely eARC. I was granted this request and within 5 minutes I already had it up on my kindle ready to read because I loved the first book so much and couldn't wait to see what adventures Aveline and Harold went on in this story. I definitely enjoyed this book and felt the same spooky vibes that i'd got in the Haunting. The writing is engaging and witty and just keeps you coming back for me. I wish we got a little bit more of Harold and Aveline's friendship in this book; I felt he took a bit of a backfoot in this story and I really was hoping to see him more front and center. I definitely still enjoyed the plot though and I can't wait to see how the next story goes because that premise sounds brilliant! You can get your hands on a physical copy on 16th September 2021! I know i'll be adding this to my shelf.
I’ve always loved a scary read and as a child would keenly anticipate my weekly visit to my local newsagent to collect my copy of Misty comic, which was always packed with stories of witches and dark magic. Sadly, it was never as popular as the more girly reads and after a while was discontinued but together with my much-loved Usborne Vampires, Werewolves and Demons supernatural guide provided the younger me with frights aplenty. When my own children were growing up, either they were not interested in such material or that sort of thing was not available to them. I certainly don’t remember seeing anything like that on our numerous visits to the library or in bookshops, so I am delighted that there seems to be a steadily increasing market for spine-chilling reads – with this sequel to last year’s The Haunting of Aveline Jones being the latest to catch my eye. Even better than the original title, this book will again hold its readers spellbound by the strange and spooky events in which our young heroine finds herself involved. Our story opens in the summer holidays, with Aveline and her mother starting a break in the country cottage they have rented for a fortnight in the village of Norton Wick. Although the prospect of two weeks on a sunny Spanish beach is more appealing to Aveline, she is keen to investigate an ancient stone circle known locally as The Witch Stones, which is situated just at the end of the back garden. Fighting her way through the brambles and other weeds to reach the stones, Aveline’s attention is caught by an old bottle that is half-buried in the ground and which makes her feel uneasy when she frees it to take a closer look. When she reaches the stones, she takes a good look around and becomes aware of another presence – a girl in a flowing white dress who appears to be carrying out some sort of ritual. The girl smirks at Aveline who, embarrassed at being caught staring, quickly returns home. The following day, Aveline is again caught out when the girl passes by the cottage on her horse and determined to find out who she is Aveline follows her into the heart of the village where she loses her. Looking around, she is spoken to by a woman who introduces herself as Alice, the local vicar. Alice asks Aveline if she has visited the stones, before revealing that some of the villagers won’t go near them after sunset because of tales of supernatural creatures that might snatch them away. With little else to do in the village to entertain her, Aveline makes her way to the stones again where she sees the mysterious girl for the third time. Aveline is a little thrown when the girl asks her if she is a witch, before telling her that she is only joking and that her name is Hazel. Keen to be friends, at first Hazel seems like lots of fun but as time goes by Aveline sees a different side to her and starts to question just who she is and why she seems unable to resist the strange girl’s plans for her. What is Hazel’s connection to the stones, and will Aveline be able to break the hold she fears Hazel has gained over her? The power of suggestion over the human mind has long been recognised, and here that power is used to fantastic effect. From the moment Aveline first spots Hazel, it is clear that there is something odd about her – something unsettling, but suggested so subtly that it is hard for both Aveline and the reader to pinpoint exactly what it is. Many children will recognise the magnetic appeal that Hazel holds and will see themselves reflected in Aveline’s decisions as she tries her best to dismiss her fears and justify Hazel’s strange behaviour to herself. Many of us have found ourselves in awe of other, cooler peers and against our better judgement have tolerated what we know in our hearts to be not in our best interests in our desperation to continue friendships, and so it is here. Fortunately for Aveline, she has a true friend in Harold – who we first met in Book 1 – and fans of the original story will be delighted to further their acquaintance with him, his uncle and Aveline’s aunt who again all have a part to play in this narrative. Do not fear if you have not read that title as yet though – this works perfectly well as a standalone as everything that you need to know is seamlessly included here to bring you up to speed. Deliciously spooky, this is a real delight for younger readers who like a scary read. It would make a great class reader in upper KS2, and I am sure some Year 4 children would delight in it too, although I wouldn’t recommend it as late night reading for younger or more sensitive readers just in case – especially one section which I’m not going to describe here for fear of including spoilers. Let’s just say, you’ll know the bit I mean when you get to it. As always, huge thanks go to Usborne Publishing and Net Galley for my advance read, ahead of publication on 16th September. A spine-tingling 5 out of 5 stars.
In Aveline's second adventure, she and her mum are on holiday in a tiny quiet village. However, just at the end of the garden is an ancient stone circle. Perfect for investigation! The Witch Stones aren't all Aveline finds and she makes a new friend, a mysterious girl called Hazel who seems to have some kind of connection with the stones. Unexplained things start happening but luckily Harold is on his way with a huge pile of books covering all eventualities. I really liked Alice, the village vicar, who reminded me a lot of Geraldine from The Vicar of Dibley. Though I thought she could possibly have been a little bit more helpful to Aveline. This was every bit as good as the first book, just as scary and thrilling. I loved the suspense and eeriness. I'll definitely be buying myself a physical copy as soon as it is released and already I can't wait for the third book in the series.
If you enjoyed The Haunting of Aveline Jones then you are going to love The Bewitching of Aveline Jones! In this book, we join Aveline on holiday in Norton Wick where we see her curiosity about a historical stone circle play out. Of course, if you've read the first book, you'll know that things are likely to turn sour with things not being as they seem and a problem to solve... I really enjoy Phil Hickes' storytelling and writing style. The language he uses is so atmospheric and immerses the reader in the scenes he creates. One scene in particular left me feeling uneasy; I could picture every detail as if I were there! Phil Hickes has created a solid series. Once I pick up one of his books, I can't put them down and that was definitely the case with The Bewitching of Aveline Jones. I am already itching to read the next in the set and will be waiting patiently to get my hands on a copy!
Oh, how I wish I would have had Aveline Jones on my bookshelf when I was younger. Adventure, mystery, folklore, witchcraft, sleepovers, fish and chips! - it’s got everything that a 10-year-old me would have absolutely adored. Aveline and her mum have come away to Norton Wick for their summer holiday. Their cottage sits beside an ancient stone circle that the villagers refer to as the Witch Stones, and she is looking forward to learning more about them. “Ghosts, ghouls and witches (are), of course, her specialist subject.” She soon bumps into a rather strange girl called Hazel. Unpredictable and overly friendly, mysterious and impossibly cool, Aveline instantly falls under her spell and is even willing to ditch her friend, Harold, just to spend more time with her. But it doesn’t take long for Aveline to start becoming suspicious of her new friend. How does she know so much about the Witch Stones? Where does she keep disappearing to? What on earth does she have against Alice, the local vicar? With beautiful illustrations by Keith Robinson, The Bewitching of Aveline Jones is a captivating read which manages to feel summery and spooky at the same time. At 256 pages you’ll want to finish it in one sitting, but you might want to sleep with the light on when you’re done! It’s the perfect story to read by torchlight. Keep your eyes peeled for events, writing competitions and a social media read-along in September. In the meantime, pick up your copy of The Haunting of Aveline Jones to introduce yourself to this “deliciously spine-tingling” new series.
We are back in familiar territory with this wonderful story. The Bewitching of Aveline Jones takes us back to characters that we already fell in love with but this time, instead of ghosts, we are in the realms of witches. Aveline makes a new friend when she is on holiday near a sacred stone circle. However, this friend is not all that she seems, especially when she starts excluding her friend, Harold. Phil Hickes does something wonderful in middle grade - stories that really make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. And The Bewitching is no different. Absolutely stunning follow up and I simply cannot wait for book 3.
The Aveline Jones books are fast becoming one of my favourite MG series! Atmospheric with fantastic characters I can't wait for book 3!
After reading The Haunting of Aveline Jones last year, I couldn't wait to read this sequel. Phil Hickes has done it again and written a fantastic spine-tingling story that will keep you hooked until the end. Aveline and her mum are staying at an old, creaky holiday cottage in the countryside, where there just so happens to be an ancient stone circle right at the bottom of their garden. The villagers of Norton Wick have many theories about the stones and how they got there, but it is the name that draws Aveline in - The Witch Stones - and it is not long before creeping shadows, cackling birds and a strange sealed bottle add to the mystery. Then, Aveline meets a mysterious girl called Hazel Browne (with an e), who seems to know a lot about the stones and the history of Norton Wick. They soon become friends but Aveline can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right about Hazel. With the help of Harold and his books, can she work out what it is before it is too late? This eerie and chilling tale is sure to be another hit and it is great to read the teaser for the next instalment, 'The Vanishing of Aveline Jones' - I can't wait!
Aveline Jones is back for another superbly spine-tingling adventure in The Bewitching of Aveline Jones, a spookily witchy tale that is a perfect autumnal reading treat. Aveline Jones is on a late summer holiday with her Mum, staying in a remote rundown cottage in the village of Norton Wick. With her natural curiosity relating to all things supernatural, she is keen to visit the ancient stone circle, known as The Witch Stones, close to the cottage, and learn more about their history. It is not long before she meets Hazel Browne, a cool, confident and friendly girl who is keen to become Aveline’s friend and introduce her to the magic of the stones which she seems to know a lot about. Although Aveline is wary, she is also fascinated by her mysterious new friend, a friend who may not always be telling Aveline the whole truth … Aveline’s friend Harold, who we met in The Haunting of Aveline Jones, comes to visit and brings with him some books Aveline has asked for, books that might reveal more about the Stones, the mysterious bottle that Aveline has found buried in her garden, and even her new friend, but will these revelations come too late to protect the friends? This is a thrilling, dark mystery, laden with suspense, a brilliantly evoked eerie atmosphere, and deliciously sinister moments that sent a shiver down my spine. There is a constant sense that things are not quite as they may seem in Norton Wick, and that danger may never be far away. The past has a way of invading the present, but will Aveline and Harold discover the truth of someone’s past before it is too late? Aveline is just as wonderful as I remember her from her first adventure. Even though she is spellbound by Hazel, her natural instincts warn her to be wary, to question and to investigate, just as I would expect from this strong, curious and determined girl. The cover and inside illustrations by Keith Robinson are stunning and complement the spooky atmosphere of this story perfectly. This is a wonderfully spooky middle-grade read that is perfect for readers of 9+ and is one I cannot recommend highly enough.