Small Spaces by Katherine Arden is a 5th-6th grade mystery for those juveniles who enjoy a good scare.
After suffering the loss of her mother, eleven-year-old Ollie, pulls away from everyone but her dad and her books. So when she comes across a crazy woman about to throw a book into the creek, she grabs the book and runs. As she begins to read the small book, Ollie is enthralled in the story until she begins to wonder if it is in fact, just a story.
When Ollie and her class go on a fieldtrip to an old farm, she starts to notice similarities to the book she was reading. As night begins to fall, the school bus breaks down and the mist thickens. Something isn’t right and Ollie knows it, so when the creepy bus driver tells the kids that they “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” She listens to the advice of her mom’s broken watch and she RUNs.
As Ollie and her two classmates run into the woods, they realize they are being followed and so the hunt begins.
I really enjoyed Arden’s Bear and the Nightingale series, so when I saw she wrote a juvenile ghost story, I had to give it a go. I am not drawn to scary books, but I’ve had quite a few readers advisory questions for them lately, so I picked this one up. And I’ll admit, there was a point where this book actually gave me the shivers.
I don’t know that I would recommend reading this one before bed but I think my horror buffs would definitely enjoy it. We get all our classic elements of horror: the supernatural, a creepy backstory, the buildup, a ghostly protector, a villain, a mystery to solve and more.
Ollie is a strong female character. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks and primarily keeps to herself. She does have her flaws. She pushes people away and jumps to conclusions. But she also knows what’s right and wrong and will help someone in trouble.
If nothing else, this one gets 5 stars for being a juvenile book that is actually spooky. I’d totally recommend Small Spaces to 5th+ grade boys and girls who like a good scare.
That’s all for now!