Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Small Spaces

Small Spaces. Katherine Arden. 2018. 218 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: October in East Evansburg, and the last warm sun of the year slanted red through the sugar maples.

Premise/plot: Olivia Adler stars in this super-spooky middle grade mystery. Olivia “Ollie” is an angsty heroine. She’s fine being a bit of a lonely outsider. She doesn’t need anybody, right?! Well when a school field trip goes horribly wrong—in an amplified Twilight Zone way—she may find herself having to work together with a few classmates struggling to survive. The eerie nature of the book begins early on the night before the field trip to a nearby farm. She saves a book from being thrown into the river(or lake or pond). She starts reading it...and this gives her a slight advantage over her classmates and teacher. But will it be enough to see her safely home?!?!

My thoughts: Is it a mystery? Is it horror? I’m not confident enough to untangle the delicate distinctions between these two genres. It’s incredibly spooky and suspenseful. Readers have an opportunity to try to figure out what is going on and who the Smiling Man is. It is without a doubt a page turner. I don’t love horror typically. I don’t seek out scares. I really don’t. But I found this spooky read to be enjoyable all the same. It can be good to take baby steps outside your comfort zone. I wouldn’t necessarily push this one on kids who don’t like scary/spooky books. 

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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