Title: Small Spaces
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Middle Grade Horror
Publication Date: September 25th, 2018
Synopsis: “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.” (Goodreads)
I am ashamed to say this but, this book scared me. I know, I’m an adult but I am the biggest chicken, haha. It doesn’t really take much and even though this book was terrifying at times, it was still a fantastic read that I couldn’t put down!
Ollie is a girl with no fear. She loves to read which I think is an escape for her especially after the death of her mother. I liked her a lot and enjoyed seeing where the story took her. She kept up with the no fear mentality throughout and did what she needed to do to survive. That takes guts!
The plot was very fast paced and although there wasn’t too much character development, the story didn’t need it. The characters were interesting, spooky, and fun. I also thought I had the villain all figured out but I didn’t! It was such a surprise.
Overall, Katherine Arden never disappoints with her writing. I loved her Adult Fantasy series and am excited to see what her next creepy Middle Grade book has in store for me!