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Small Spaces
Cover of Small Spaces
Small Spaces
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New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic
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.
New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic
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.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.0
  • Lexile:
    570
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    2 - 3

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book She pedaled hard past the hay bales in the roundabout on Main Street, turned onto Daisy Lane and raced past the clapboard houses, where jack-o'-lanterns grinned on every front porch. She aimed her bike to knock down a rotting gray rubber hand groping up out of the earth in the Steiners' yard, turned again at Johnson Hill and climbed panting up the steep dirt road.

    No one came after her. Well, why would they, Ollie thought. She was Off School Property.

    Ollie let her bike coast down the other side of Johnson Hill. was good to be alone in the warm sunshine. The river ran silver to her right, chattering over rocks. The fire-colored trees shook their leaves down around her. It wasn't hot, exactly—but warm for October. Just cool enough for jeans, but the sun was warm when you tilted your face to it.

    The swimming hole was Ollie's favorite place. Not far from her house, it had a secret spot on a rock half-hidden by a waterfall. That spot was Ollie's, especially on fall days. After mid-September, she was the only one there. People didn't go to swimming holes once the weather turned chilly.
    Other than her homework, Ollie was carrying Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini, a broken-spined paperback that she'd dug out of her dad's bookshelves. She mostly liked it. Peter Blood outsmarted everyone, which was a feature she liked in heroes, although she wished Peter were a girl, or the villain were a girl, or someone in the book besides his boat and his girlfriend (both named Arabella) were a girl. But at least the book had romance and high seas adventures and other absolutely not Evansburg things. Ollie liked that. Reading it meant going to a new place where she wasn't Olivia Adler at all.

    Ollie braked her bike. The ground by the road was carpeted with scarlet leaves; sugar maples start losing their leaves before other trees. Ollie kept a running list in her head of sugar maples in Evansburg that didn't belong to anyone. When the sap ran, she and her mom would—

    Nope. No, they wouldn't. They could buy maple syrup.

    The road that ran beside the swimming hole looked like any other stretch of road. A person just driving by wouldn't know the swimming hole was there. But, if you knew just where to look, a skinny dirt trail went from the road to the water. Ollie walked her bike down the trail. The trees seemed to close in around her. Above was a white-railed bridge. Below, the stream paused in its trip down the mountain. It spread out, grew deep and quiet enough for swimming. There was a cliff for jumping and plenty of hiding places for one girl and her book. Ollie hurried. She was eager go and read by the water and be alone.

    The trees ended suddenly, and Ollie was standing on the bank of a cheerful brown swimming hole.
    But, to her surprise, there was someone already there.

    A slender woman, wearing jeans and flannel, stood at the edge of the water. Her jeans were nice, her flannel soft, but her boots were muddy and worn, the leather cracking across one heel.
    The woman was sobbing.

    Maybe Ollie's foot scuffed a rock, because the woman jerked upright and whirled around. Ollie gulped. The woman was pretty, with amber-honey hair. But she had circles under her eyes like purple thumbprints. Streaks of mascara had run down her face, like she'd been crying for awhile.

    "Hello," The woman said, trying to smile. "You surprised me." Her eyes looked—stretched—the way a dog looks, hiding under the bed during a thunderstorm. Her white-knuckled hands gripped a small, dark thing.

    "I didn't mean to scare you," Ollie said cautiously.

    Why are you crying? she wanted to ask. But it seemed impolite...
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2018
    A girl steals a book and is swept up in its eerie origins. It's October in East Evansburg, Vermont, and Olivia "Ollie" Adler finds herself distracted from her sixth-grade lessons. She's reeling from the pain of her mother's absence, but she'd rather bottle it up than talk about it. Instead, Ollie escapes into books and reads them at her secret swimming hole. One day, a strange woman attempts to cast a book titled Small Spaces into the water. Ollie steals the book and is given a warning: "Avoid large places at night....Keep to small." Soon she is wrapped up in the book's haunting story of loss and a deal made with a being known as "the smiling man." A class field trip to Misty Valley Farm reveals the truth behind Small Spaces. Can Ollie save her classmates from the smiling man? Or will she, too, succumb to the lure of one of his bargains? The characters are sharply drawn, particularly Ollie and her quirky, bighearted father; one secondary character, black, Jamaican-born Brian, stands out in their mostly white community. The slow reveal of Ollie's trauma is achingly poignant (her mother's death isn't confirmed until nearly halfway through the book). Some elements seem less plausible than others (her teacher leaving kids alone with a creepy bus driver, for instance), but novelist for adults Arden's (The Bear and the Nightingale, 2017) middle-grade debut is atmospheric horror at its best. Chillingly tender. (Horror. 8-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 6, 2018
    Eleven-year-old Ollie lives with her big-hearted baking enthusiast father following the tragic death of her mother, and finds respite from her grief through reading. Her circumstances take a supernatural turn when she encounters a frightening woman attempting to throw a book into the river. When Ollie, drawn to the book, takes it, the woman warns Ollie to “avoid large places at night... keep to small.” In its pages, Ollie reads of a long-ago family whose losses led them to make a dreadful pact with a demonic figure known as “the smiling man.” And on a class trip to a dairy farm, Ollie and two classmates—with whom she forms a reluctant connection—learn that the smiling man is very real. Arden (The Bear and the Nightingale) shrouds her Halloween-time story in autumnal mists, introducing a sometimes-crowded cast of ominous figures, from ghosts to shapeshifters and scarecrow minions. Ollie is a relatable heroine who finds strength through trusting in friendship, while her ghostly adventures lead her to learn an important truth: sometimes, the best way to honor the memory of a loved one is by moving forward, bravely, and with love. Ages 10–up. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2018
    Grades 5-8 *Starred Review* Things were already pretty spooky for Ollie after she rescued an antique book from a weeping, maniacal woman, but when the bus taking her and her classmates home from a school trip to a farm stalls in a dense bank of fog next to a field peppered with creepy scarecrows, it's clear something otherworldly is going on. Heeding the advice appearing in her late mother's digital watch? RUN ?Ollie and a couple of classmates, Jamaican-born Brian and sensitive Coco, escape to the woods, trying to avoid the terrifying, animated scarecrows and find their way back to the farm, which has an eerie connection to the book, a story about a smiling man who makes deadly bargains. In spare, pithy, and evocative language, Arden skillfully cultivates a vivid sense of atmosphere, from Ollie's cozy, welcoming house to the creeping dread of the kids' journey through the ominous, clattering forest. There are genuinely creepy elements here?scarecrows in relentless pursuit, ghostly beings lurking in abandoned houses, and a truly surprising villain at the center of it all?but Arden doesn't skimp on character development either. Prickly Ollie, who's dealing with the grief of losing her mother, softens toward Brian and Coco, who are each gradually rounded out as well. With a tantalizing pace and palpable suspense, all nicely grounded in realistic emotions, this well-wrought spine-tingler is destined to be a hit (just makes sure the lights stay on).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • DOGO Books zojo456 - This is about my FAVORITE book of ALLLL time. Its the book I've been looking for that has these features: Spooky, bone-chilling, and most of all, EXITMENT!!!
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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Small Spaces
Small Spaces
Katherine Arden
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