Monday, August 05, 2019

Debbie--have you seen Kathleen Arden's SMALL SPACES?

A reader wrote to ask if I've read Kathleen Arden's middle grade book, Small Spaces. It came out on July 9, 2019, as a reprint from Puffin Books. It first came out in 2018 from G. P. Putnam's Sons (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

Here's the description:
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie who only finds solace in books discovers a chilling ghost story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who 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.

Captivated by the tale, Ollie begins to wonder if the smiling man might be real when she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about on a school trip to a nearby farm. Then, later, when her school bus breaks down on the ride home, the strange bus driver tells Ollie and her classmates: "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 begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed these warnings. 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.

The passage that prompted Sam's (they're the person who wrote to ask me about the book) question is on page 83 when Seth says to Ollie:
"Come on, kid," said Seth. "There's always a ghost story. Look around. How long have people lived on this land? There's us, yeah, but before us, there were those people in that graveyard back there. Fanny Collar--you saw her, right?--on her grave it says that she married the first white child born in Evansburg--why do you think that was even a thing? Because before them, there were the Abenaki, and they had this land and farmed it and died on it and wrote their own ghost stories while people died of plague in the streets of London." 
I'm intrigued by that passage and will order a copy of Small Spaces.