Fourteen-year old Josie, haunted by the death of her mother, leads her best friends to an ancient cemetery to rub graves on Halloween night. Convinced she will come away with proof of her mother’s spirit at last, the evening takes an unexpected turn as the teens gravitate four ways into the haunted grounds. Set against the backdrop of the rainy Pacific Northwest, four graves will be rubbed, touching off a series of events that will rattle their once mundane lives. From the lonely World War II hero to an accused witch, the people buried beneath the stones have stories that need an ending. The journey to unravel the mysteries leaves the friends wondering if the graves would’ve been better off left alone.
In author Jennifer L. Hotes’ YA thriller novel, Josie Jameson and the Stone Witch, readers meet a teen that’s been struggling since childhood to fill the shoes of her dead mother. Josie is a caregiver to her little brother, a confidante to her grieving dad, and the backbone of her tight-knit group of friends.
But always being the strong, responsible one has taken its toll on Josie, now fourteen. After stumbling upon the grave of a witch, she’s been plagued with nightmares, dark visions, and fainting spells that leave her feeling like a freak. And then suddenly her faulty heart gives out and for 5.4 seconds Josie is technically dead.
The second book in the Stone Witch series takes readers along with Josie who, with the help of her friends and clinging to the final memories of her mother, must face the challenges of her future as the past battles for her soul. Will she be strong enough to face her fate?
Readers are talking about Josie Jameson and the Fourth Tombstone.
“From the first chapter, I knew this was going to be one of those books that kept me awake, goosebump to goosebump, right up to the end. I was not disappointed.” – Mendocino County reader
“I found myself feeling the rain, smelling the cedar boughs, hearing the crows, and seeing a little grey cat as he rubs his way through legs and into unsuspecting hearts. This is a “can’t put it down” kind of book that may keep you awake at night…and not just when you are reading!” – Arizona bookclub member
Kirkus Reviews Reads Josie Jameson and the Fourth Tombstone
“Hotes’ Halloween tale tells of graveyards, unfinished business and seekers after the unknown.
The four rubbings of the title are impressions on paper, made from grave markers rubbed with black chalk. A group of teenage friends, led by young Josie, go out on Halloween night to visit a purportedly haunted cemetery and to take rubbings from the headstones there. While Josie hopes for some contact with the spirit of her dead mother, her friends Casey, Blaze and Seth are drawn to other graves. They find themselves called by the mysteries of the people laid to rest there and the loose ends of their lives. The kids begin four personal journeys as they research what happened to the dead men and women behind the rubbings; perhaps they’ll find ways to bring closure to stories long left unresolved. The thoughtful, intelligent and altogether human narrative shows how lives can interweave even after death. Hotes masterfully brings her characters to life, both the living and the dead; each is vivid and involving. The supernatural is present, but it’s as subtle as a shadow on the moon. One of the most startling moments—when an eerie photograph crumbles—could just as easily be the result of a printer’s toner malfunction as the wrath of the angry dead. The characters connect to the world of the strange in ways that feel real—odd sensations, weird coincidences, chilling images and vague encounters. On a technical level, the text is clean and professional, with welcome poise: “I kick the glove compartment with my mud-caked boot and smile when I see the brown scuff I’ve left on his fancy Italian leather.” Although the book is the first in a series, the author makes sure that it’s quite satisfying on its own.
Quality YA suspense set in a world full of fantastic possibilities.”
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