Bookish Item | #MGtakesonthursday : Small Spaces – Katherine Arden

Normally we do tags on Thursdays, but lately both of us have been having a harder time finding tags we want to do or think are fun. That’s when I stumbled upon this new bookish meme: #MGTakesOnThursday created by BookCraic. Middle grade books have become a bigger part of our TBR, so this looked like a lot of fun. Let’s take a look at what this is all about!

How to participate:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favorite sentence.
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

So this is pretty straightforward! Today I’m going to showcase ..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.

Favorite sentence from page 11:

Ollie crossed her arms, thought in her mom’s voice Well, in for a penny…, hefted another rock, and said, “Oops, my hand slipped.”

Small Spaces in three words:

Creepy, friendship, scarecrows

Why I recommend Small Spaces:

I’m not really a fan of horror stories because I scare quite easily. When Small Spaces was available to Read Now on Netgalley I figured it wouldn’t be so scary since its a Middle Grade book. Oh my, was I wrong! I read the book in one sitting, there was no way I was going to go to bed without finding out if there was a HEA haha. At the moment I’m reading the second book in the series and I can’t wait for the third book to come out! Candyce also read this book and you can find her review here.

Have you read this book yet? And the second book in the series? I definitely plan on reading more books by this author, everyone seems to love her!

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