Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.02 with 4,086 ratings (as of 7/24/2019)

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. …Goodreads

200 Word Review

‏I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Katherine Arden is best known for her adult/young adult fantasy novel, The Bear and the Nightingale. With Small Spaces, Katherine Arden ventures into writing for middle school-aged children. This creepy horror book brought me back to my childhood where I stayed up late reading Lois Duncan, Richard Peck, and Joan Lowery Nixon. Those authors, among others, wrote horror books for children that were able to scare you without being gory.

The description of Small Spaces brought to mind the movie Jeepers Creepers 2 – a school bus full of children breaks down and they are in danger of something in the night/dark. That is where the similarities end. Arden teams up 3 students who are classmates but not friends. They leave the bus for the safety of the forest…

This story is tame compared to many of the horror movies children have seen in recent years. It is the innocence of the story while being scary and suspenseful that makes it such an interesting read.

Small Spaces is the first book in her Small Spaces series. The 2nd, Dead Voices, has a release date of August 27, 2019. I preordered it and will review it as soon as possible.

This review was published on, Smashbomb, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble on 7/24/19. When available, the review will be published on and, using Overdrive, will be rated in 9 libraries.

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Juvenile Fiction
Print Length: 234 pages
ISBN: 9780525515029
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Purchase at Amazon *** Barnes and Noble

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