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Small Spaces

Narrated by: Renee Dorian
Series: Small Spaces, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

New York Times best-selling 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, 11-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.

©2018 Katherine Arden (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic reviews

  • A Kirkus Best Book of 2018
  • Middle-Grade A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018
  • Middle-Grade A Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2018 
  • An Amazon Best Book - October 2018

“Atmospheric horror at its best. Chillingly tender.” (Kirkus, starred review)

“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).” (Booklist, starred review)

“Riveting…The story moves at a good pace with just enough clues to keep the reader intrigued and guessing.” (School Library Connection, starred review)

What listeners say about Small Spaces

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creepy

Its 1.30am and ive just finished listening to this story, i listened to it in one sitting, as tired as i am i just couldnt stop listening.
This book isnt just for kids, im 36! Im not sure what age id let my kids hear this but it depends how sensitive and jumpy they are. The story isnt gory but has suspense and is dam creepy.
I found the story intriguing. Ive never heard of the smiling man story before but ive read in other reviews it is well known in the us.
For a shorter story it was fast paced and had alot of detail. She really does have a gift with story telling.
The main characters were likeable especially the main one 'Ollie', her personal development throughout the story was great.
Although i did like 'Coco' i found her a little much at times but thats just because i dont have the energy to tolerate enthusiastic girly girls. But she was a sweet character and i was pleased with how her character grew throughout.
I liked the narrator alot and hope she reads the other books (i read there will be 4 in total).

I did feel a little of an anti climax at the end of the story as i did with her last book in the Winternight Trilogy, and i feel like im repeating my self when i reviewed her last book. Im not sure if its me but i feel she has such a strong beginning and middle her endings lack the same quality. I was really creeped out by this story until i got close to the end and something changed for me, but i cant put my finger on it. Hence the 4 stars.

But all in all i enjoyed it and It will be a story id return to again perhaps around Halloween to get my Creepy fix.

Looking forward to book 2 'Dead Voices' tomorrow!

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  • Bad Vegan
  • 01-06-19

Delightful

As an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. It's delightful. Much of the middle school angst was relatable to my own childhood. A great book if you want to get a young person who enjoys ghost stories interested in reading. It's first in a series. The second one will be released on August 27.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-05-19

the best

i thought it was the best book in the whole world it was pretty scary but i loved it. i hope the author makes more

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 02-10-18

Small Spaces was a great short story

Was kinda dark with a hint of the snow kings attitude in the deity's personality, had a feel good happy ending to it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-20

Quality fun time

A fine YA story. Seems a bit short, but that's because it's pretty good.
No melodrama, decent characters (remember: if you are annoyed at a kid here and there, that's because they act like normal 6th graders xD), the story avoids the convenient Deus ex machina-s.
The reader does well. Intonation, expression- it's working. No overacting, too.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-10-19

Fun

loved it. fun and spooky. appropriate for 10yrs old and above I would say.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Seth Adam Smith
  • 07-10-19

A GREAT Scary Story

I’m someone who loves a good scary story IF it has a good, meaningful ending (I hate books/movies that are purely about horror and/or end on an ominous, sickening note). This book, while being quite scary, was also particularly meaningful. The characters were very believable and there was a healthy dose of humor sprinkled throughout the book. I quite enjoyed it. I will definitely read the rest of Katherine Arden’s books.

2 people found this helpful

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  • theycallmefrench
  • 05-11-18

Awesome fun !

This is a nice quick spooky story right in time for Halloween. I'll listen to it again soon!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-10-18

<br /><br />

love it so very much and is a thriller book with lots of adventure best book

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christian Beck
  • 22-06-20

Warning - Young Adult Novel

Maybe I missed it in the description, but I had no idea this was a YA novel (guessing for 6th graders). I knew it centered around kids, but so does a lot of Stephen King. That being said, I listened to it and it was good story performed well, I just wasn’t the target audience. I recommend for a family road trip to make the time fly by.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barbora Kocianova
  • 29-02-20

A beautiful read!

A great little story to pass a misty afternoon with! Loved both the narration and the storytelling in this - Katherine Arden really knows what she's doing when it comes to injecting the mundane with a dash of magic. :)

1 person found this helpful