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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Small Spaces

Updated: Jul 11, 2021


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2


"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."


 

Small Spaces is the first installment in Katherine Arden's MG horror series of the same name.


I wasn't expecting much from this, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this.


It was short enough to keep me entertained and I was not expecting the twist which was nice. It wasn’t really scary but was unsettling enough because scarecrows (no one likes scarecrows). I also liked the development of the characters and their relationships. Ollie, for example, was not the best person in the beginning but she had good character growth.


If you're looking for a horror novel but not looking to lose any sleep, this will work for you.

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