Small Spaces

Narrated by: Renee Dorian
Series: Small Spaces, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (200 ratings)

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Publisher's 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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Fun

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

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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.

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Awesome fun !

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

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<br /><br />

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

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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. :)