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The Vanishing of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes – published by Usborne

Her Uncle gone.

A house abandoned.

Answers none.

To say I’ve been counting down the days to reading this is an understatement…Aveline Jones is my absolute favourite Middle Grade spooky series and since the summer holidays, I’ve been obsessively checking Netgalley daily for an early copy having been uploaded. So when the news broke on Twitter that it had gone live, I was SCREAMING!

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones was without a doubt my most anticipated read of 2022 and I could not have loved it more! As with the two previous volumes, I devoured it in one sitting completely unable to tear myself away from the spooky mystery and atmospheric setting. And as The Fae are at work in The Vanishing, Aveline’s latest adventure is perfect for fans of Ross Montgomery’s The Chime Seekers and Catherine Fisher’s The Clockwork Crow series.

Aveline’s Uncle Rowan mysteriously disappeared without a trace over 10 years ago. With no sightings since or fresh evidence as to his whereabouts, the trail has gone cold. His body has never been found but Aveline’s mum and Aunt Lillian have reluctantly decided that it’s time to sell his house.

It’s the start of the Christmas holidays and not ones to miss out on a mystery, Aveline and trusty sidekick Harold travel with Sarah and Lillian to the lonely village of Scarbury, determined to find out the truth of what became of Uncle Rowan. It seems unlikely his house will yeild any clues – sparse and unlived in for years his few possessions lay abandoned gathering dust. The Police allegedly searched the house years ago, yet his study stands locked and the key nowhere to be found.

But supernatural forces follow Aveline and Harold around and they’ve barely had time to unpack before things start to go bump in the night. An unsettling encounter on the stairs in the dead of night leads to the key to the study being revealed. Aveline and Harold begin to sift their way through the stacks of information stored in there (at 3am of course!) and make the shocking discovery that a number of unexplained disappearances haunt the village of Scarbury, locals vanishing into thin air never to return. And they appear to be linked with the Scarbury Long Barrow, an ancient burial ground not far away – a site of interest it seemed for her archaeologist Uncle.

More digging through Rowan’s possessions reveal a collection of cassette tapes. Upon listening to them, Aveline and Harold come to the chilling conclusion that Rowan was researching paranormal activity and the tapes are actual audio footage of séances – Most Haunted eat your heart out, these are seriously scary scenes!

The creepy recordings are enough to scare anyone senseless but the pair are determined to keep searching for answers and the next day, they set out to investigate the Scarbury Long Barrow. Aveline remembers a spooky blog post about Scarbury Harold found on the internet on the train journey up and they decide to email the blogger – hopefully a local person – to see if they know anything. They get a reply back in seconds, sending a grave warning not to visit alone and agree to meet Sammy Adamu-Taylor AKA Spookyblogspot in the village. Sammy tells them a terrifying tale of malevolent, magical forces at work and implores them to stay away, but as Midwinter Night approaches, The Fae draw Aveline ever closer to a dark underworld that awaits…

Autumn has become synonymous with the release of a new Aveline Jones adventure and I’m truly hoping that there will be more supernatural mysteries in the pipeline with our favourite duo Aveline and Harold. I really love how their friendship has developed and strengthened, from shy, akward beginnings in a Malmouth bookshop in book 1 to the paranormal in-bestie-gators they are now 2 books on, they really trust one another and have each other’s backs.

Spooky Season wouldn’t be the same without Aveline and as the promise of another installment has neither been confirmed nor denied, I am going to treat myself to a re-read of the original adventure in the lead up to Halloween.

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones will be published on 27th October by Usborne books.

Click to read my review
Click to read my review

With thanks to Usborne and Netgalley for approving me to read an early copy of this brilliant book in advance of publication.


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