Small Spaces is a Middle Grade offering by Katherine Arden (author of the YA title, The Bear and the Nightingale). It is also the perfect read for the Halloween season.
Set during October in small town Vermont, Small Spaces introduces readers to Ollie, a sixth grader still mourning the loss of her mother earlier in the year. She copes with the pain by immersing herself in fiction and alienating herself from her classmates.
One day, Ollie finds a woman about to toss a book into the river. Ollie saves the book and begins reading it. The story in the book within our book tells of a deal with a devil at a small turn of the century farm. Events in the book begin to mirror real life when Ollie and her sixth grade class visit a local farm the next day, a farm that Ollie begins to suspect is the same one described in her book. Soon Ollie and two of her friends find themselves trapped in an alternate universe and hunted by animated scarecrows.
With Small Spaces, Arden has written a legitimately creepy tale that should entertain readers of all ages. The October atmosphere is palpable; reading, I could almost smell the autumn air and feel the chilly breezes. I encourage readers to snatch this book up quickly. There’s no better time than the Halloween season to enjoy it!