By: Katherine Arden
My Rating: FOUR out of FIVE stars
Best for: 10 and up
Katherine Arden wrote The Winternight Trilogy, which I LOVED. So I thought I’d give Small Spaces a try. It’s her first jump into middle grade and quite different from her debut effort.
The sixth-graders in this small, Vermont town, take a field trip to an actual, working farm. You know–Cows, corn fields, barns. Also an old cemetery…a haunted past…stories about The Smiling Man…
…and scarecrows. Really creepy scarecrows.
Ya. It’s a haunted farm. Thanks teacher.
Small Spaces was a surprisingly scary story with characters I could connect with. I loved that the main character’s name was Olivia but she called herself Ollie. She’s also a bookworm who would rather spend her time reading than peopling. It’s well written, too, although it did talk down a bit to its middle-grade audience. Usually that bugs me, but the good significantly outweighed the bad with this one.
Love of parents, standing up to bullies, being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, dealing with the death of a parent, and making friends with people you first misjudged are some of the key themes.
If you’re okay getting spooked, I say give Small Spaces a try. Perfect for Halloween or anytime your looking for something fun to read. 10 and up.