In the spirit of Nancy Drew, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and the Hardy Boys, Bon Rose brings us Hailey and Jared.
In Series 1 titled Old Jacob we meet Hailey and Jared on the last day of their summer vacation. To make the day count the two decide to go investigate an abandoned coal mine near their small town.
Although we do not learn the name of the small town (population 2, 500, no theater, no swimming pool) we do learn that the coal mine is close to the Patterson farm.
It quickly becomes obvious that Jared’s brother Dustin had made up a story for Jared’s snoopy ears about a man referred to as “Old Jacob” who found gold inside the mine and was in the mine when it caved in.
Jared explains to Hailey that years later a group went in to explore the mine and only one came out uttering, “Old Jacob, axe, no heads!”
Even though Hailey and Jared knew the story was a figment of Dustin’s imagination, they still approached the coal mine with some creepy feelings.
Hailey finds a flashlight with good batteries. Who left it there and why?
With flashlight in hand, Hailey and Jared enter the mine. They each pick up a piece of coal to keep as a souvenir, as a reminder of their adventure.
As they venture further into the mine, they can hardly believe their eyes because there is “Old Jacob’s gold” embedded into the walls and ceiling. Hailey and Jared could only believe one thing, that the story of Old Jacob had to be true. And if the story was true, then they needed to get out of the mine.
While Hailey and Jared were admiring the sparkle of gold, they failed to pay attention to their path throughout the mine. No surprise here, as the two become lost in the mine. Nor is it a surprise that the children start to believe that Old Jacob is chasing them in the mine.
After a frantic scene running through the mine, Hailey feels a blow to her head, then nothing.
The next scene takes us to the next day. Hailey is waking up in her bed on the first day of the new school year.
She gives an explanation that thinking (notice that term “thinking”) of the coal mine gave her a nightmare. Yet, when she reaches her hand into her lunch sack, there is a lump of coal.
Personally, I feel that I am left hanging. I would like to have learned the name of Hailey’s and Jared’s town and would like to know whether or not Old Jacob really existed. And while reading the exit run through the mine, I could not help but wonder if Dustin and his friends were trying to scare Jared and Hailey.
So, if any of these questions cross your mind:
Did this story actually take place or was it Hailey’s nightmare? If it was a nightmare, where did the lump of coal come from? Did Hailey and Jared actually go to and enter the coal mine? Were they chased by Old Jacob?
You are going to have to decide the answers for yourself, as Bon Rose does not answer them.
Bon Rose has written other stories in The Adventures of Hailey and Jared. I would recommend these stories to parents who are wanting their “tweens” to read something other than wizards and vampires.