By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
Beneath this stone lie the remains of Meg Shelton, alleged witch of Woodplumpton, buried in 1705. After a messy breakup with his girlfriend, Alfie needs to get away for a while - so he decides to spend the summer holidays with his dad in a tiny village in the North of England.
In the local church graveyard, he chances upon a boulder with a strange inscription - and meets Mia, who then tells him about the local superstition surrounding the stone. "If you walk three times around the stone and say "I don't believe in witches," Meg will come after you.' Alfie, in a reckless attempt to show his bravery, accepts the superstition as a challenge. He thinks the story is nonsense. But it soon becomes apparent that he's just made the biggest mistake of his life...
Just in time for Hallowe'en comes Danny Weston's spooky supernatural tale about the demise and reawakening of an eighteenth-century witch. Teenager Alfie is escaping a broken romance and spending the summer in the seemingly sleepy village of Woodplumpton. Whilst his Dad is at work, Alfie explores the town and comes upon enigmatic local girl, Mia, making etchings in the graveyard.
When she tells him the tale of Meg Shelton - buried upside down in the graveyard and under a stone to stop her escaping - Alfie thinks she's pulling his leg. Taking up the dare of incanting, 'I don't believe in witches' three times, Alfie unleashes a vengeful witch and a whole load of trouble.
I love a spooky story at this time of year and this book manages to be both creepy and humorous. Alfie's a thoroughly likeable protagonist and he reminded me a little of a more mature version of James from The Ghost of Thomas Kempe - both afraid and annoyed about the curse he has unleashed. The romance element gives the book an additional edge as Alfie has to come to terms with some potentially life changing events.
I loved the fact that the book is based on a genuine local legend and I think the author has done a wonderful job of creating a believable backstory for Meg.
Perfect Hallowe'en reading.
282 pages / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+