Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers September 25, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery, Scary, October Read
2018 challenge: N/A
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads
I would give this book 3.5 for a review.
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”
And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.
My Brief Thoughts:
I really loved this middle grade adventure story. I liked how this standalone was so well crafted and such a fast pace read. It had the right balance between adventure, scares and friendship. I normally love books with a trio of characters and this book was no different. This book was def scary at points but very good for middle grade kids. I think this would make a great fall or October read. It also harder issues like grief, death and bullying in a very easy to understand way.
My Extended Thoughts:
Characters: These characters were just super fun to read from. This book was very short but the characters def made impressions on me. I also loved how much detail the side characters got and it def made the world building seem larger because of all the characters we got to know.
Scary??? This book def. has creepy and mysteries undertones. I would rec. this book for higher middle grade or as a read a loud for younger kids. I get scared easy and this book did not terrify me 🙂
Plot: I really enjoyed how this book was created and the present storyline and the past told through the dairy. I thought this made the book rather fast pace and it was rather hard to put down,
More books! I really want to check out her adult stuff!