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Small Spaces

(Small Spaces #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,916 ratings  ·  1,718 reviews

New York Times bestselling adult author ofThe 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

Hardcover, 218 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Katherine Arden
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,916 ratings  ·  1,718 reviews

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Apr 10, 2018 marked it as to-read-unowned  ·  review of another edition
I would read Katherine Arden's shopping list if she published it.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing

ARC given to me by a confirmed angel, Lilly at Lair of Books, which I will cherish and love forever!

“You might get to know characters in books, Ollie thought, but getting to know a human was an entirely different thing.”

Small Spaces is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade novel and I loved it so very much friends. Many of you know that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books of all-time, and even though these stories are nothing like one another, the beautiful writing,
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
What fun!!

Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Unfortunately this one didn’t really do much for me :( it was fine, but it definitely didn’t live up to the hopes I had for it. Womp.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Avoid large places at night. Keep to small.

It’s an ambiguous but ominous warning that Ollie Adler gets from two different people and an old book. But why?

Olivia (Ollie), age 11, is having a tough time dealing with a recent personal tragedy, and getting sympathetic looks from her father and teacher only makes it worse. She’s withdrawn from activities like the softball team and chess club that she once loved. Ollie still finds comfort in books, though, so
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Penguin Teen

Many thanks to the G.P. Putnam's Sons for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

When the mist rises, and the Smiling Man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night. Keep to small.

Have you ever heard of the Scoville Scale? It is the scale that measures the spicy-ness of a food. Mainly peppers. With the lowest pepper, the Bell Pepper, all the way to the hottest, the Carolina Reaper , the Scoville Scale has a variety of hotness. I feel like this reflects on horror books as
In fourth grade I sold my soul to the Scholastic Book Club’s Apple paperbacks. There was only one thing in the entire world I ever wanted to read, at that point. Only one thing that could make my little heart go pitter-pat, and that was the comforting presence of ghost stories. This was long before Bob Stine decided to slap an “R.L.” in front of his last name and stake a claim in the world of G-rated horror fare. But it was also long after John Bellairs made it his business to truck in the ...more
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
"When the mist rises, and the smiling man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night.
Keep to small."

Small Spaces was my first Katherine Arden book and I loved it! At first I was skeptical because this is her middle grade debut novel but once I started to read, all my reservations about the book disappeared. Quoting C. S. Lewis, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." Fortunately, Small Spaces proves to be that amazing
☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
Oh yeah, baby, bring it on! Everyday is a good day to read some spooky, cozy, Halloween kid's book

Ollie is an 11-year-old girl who recently lost her mom and lives with the her pie-baking, sock-kitting, sweetest dad in the world. She is extremely clever, plays chess like a pro, and reads like an adult. One day, going home from school, she sees a crying woman trying to toss a book in the river. Ollie, being a young bookworm, is horrified by the idea to throw a book away, so takes it from her
Katherine Elizabeth
Actual: 3.5 / 5

This was my first Katherine Arden novel, and it did not disappoint! I love how unique this was and how much I related to Ollie and her love of reading (amongst other things). Reading this made me feel all nostalgic for whatever reason, too — which was great.

For such a short novel, so many things happened. But that’s to be expected from a Children’s book, since it allows their imagination to take over. That being said, it leaves a lot to be desired for someone like me who loves
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
"Avoid large places. Keep to small."

Why haven't I read anything sooner by this incredible author? This book was perfection. It was heartfelt, had great characters and most importantly - was actually spooky! It's the perfect Halloween read, or if you are like me, it's a perfect all-year round read.

Middle-grade horror is probably my favorite for this category. As much as I love fantasy, I tend to seek out the horror even more in middle-grade. It's so much stronger than it is in YA currently
Joey Rambles
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Shelves: favorites-2018
About three things I was absolutely positive:

First, this is one of the scariest MG novels I've ever read.

Second, there is a possibility that this book might not get the same attention as something like City of Ghosts, which is a shame, because while I liked that novel, this one is an absolute gem and deserves to be treated as such.

And third, this is one of the scariest MG novels I've ever read.

I was right. Katherine Arden can do no wrong. I sincerely hope she continues writing for a very long
kath | novelandfolk
It is a confirmed fact that I will read anything Katherine Arden writes.
To be honest, I haven’t read a middle grade horror since I was squished into a school bus seat with a tattered copy of Goosebumps in my backpack. It isn’t a genre I had considered revisiting, not for any particular reason other than moving on to other things. However, when I found out that the author of my favourite trilogy was debuting a middle grade novel, of course I had to give it a try.

In Small Spaces, Arden really
Peter Monn
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much better than I thought it would be. Really enjoyed this. It felt like a more developed Goosebumps book with more character development. My full review will be on my booktube channel at
Julie Zantopoulos
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a middle-grade horror and I kinda love little Ollie. It wasn't all that I wanted it to be but I loved the discussion of grief, loss, and friendship. Also, parts of it were downright creepy and as I'm reading this near Halloween I am very very cautious around corn/scarecrows. Just saying.
That's exactly the kind of book I wanted to read in October!

Katherine Arden tells a very interesting and spooky Halloween tale. The autumn atmosphere is really well described by her beautiful writing. Pumpkins, scarecrows, October sun, colored trees, ghosts and cemetary... Nothing is missing! And all this wraps a delightful story of friendship and resilience. A nice and surprising discovery!

5*: Sad to finish it, this book was amazing
4*: Really liked it!
3*: Liked it
2*: Fell asleep a couple of
samantha  (books-are-my-life20)
So I wanted something to read for Halloween that wasn't blooding or worst and found this had just come out and it looked fun, I went in thinking it would be like The Halloween tree, but found it was pretty creepy mostly because I can't stand scarecrows. But I could see anyone of any age enjoy this like I did if you want something a little spooky to read with no blood or guts.
Kimberly Antill
If you are looking to get a head start on the Halloween season this year then Small Spaces just might be the book for you. It's a little bit spooky, a little bit heart-wrenching and it's 100% a page turner.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Katherine Arden, and atmospheric creepy novels
“When the mist rises, and the Smiling Man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night. Keep to small.”

What a wonderful spooky book to start October with! Sure, it’s middle-grade, but talented authors like Katherine Arden write so atmospheric and compelling, anyone will get chills from The Smiling Man.

If you have read Arden’s Winternight Trilogy (and you should), you know that she excels in writing beautiful, vivid settings. The Misty Valley, the bus stranded in a dark forest, the
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3 stars

A creepy little book with a strange story. I liked it just fine, but it didn't suck me in at all and I found myself skimming at the end. I thought I would find it scary, but after binging the haunting of hill house all weekend I think the scare-o-meter had zero effect on me.

I am definitely interested in trying Arden's adult novels, maybe I will connect with those more.

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rachel ☾
I don’t think I have ever been recommended an adult fantasy as much as Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale but in typical Rachel fashion, I jumped on her newest book instead.

Small Spaces reminded me why I adore middle grade to this day. It had everything I loved to see: a heartfelt friendship, palpable atmosphere, a twisty, turny plotline, and characters who I came to adore with every fibre of my being.

Ollie, our protagonist, is such a Gryffindor. She is slowly working through her grief and
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4/5 stars


"When the mist rises, and the smiling man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night. Keep to small."


As I've said already- this definitely reminded me of Goosebumps, or Are You Afraid Of The Dark? If you've never read a Goosebumps book, or watched either of these t.v. shows you probably won't know what I'm talking about, but I felt myself being brought back to a simpler time when the only "horror" I knew was the family friendly kind! I was completely invested in this
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I am gonna finish this SO soon. So... so soon. Just... not right now.
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this middle-grade book quite a lot. After finishing The Winter of the Witch, I was in a bit of book hangover so I decided to see what else Katherine Arden has written because I needed more of her writing just as soon as possible. When I found out that she had recently published a middle-grade novel, I was really quite eager to get my hands on it so I put in a request at my local library and waited for my turn with the book.
Cameron Chaney
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Scholastic for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. Full video review to come.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden follows Ollie, a young girl who has found an escape through books since her mother's death. One day, when Ollie sees a mysterious woman preparing to throw a book into a river, Ollie rescues the book and runs home. She quickly discovers that the book isn't normal. It is an unnerving tale recounting the story of "the smiling man", an evil being that will grant
Rylee (Hermit Odysseus)
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
This is a quick read, and perfect for Halloween because it’s goosebump-inducingly spooky (and incidentally reminds me a lot of Goosebumps). I don’t do well with scary, and I seriously can’t emphasize that enough. This one isn’t even scary but it’s shiver-me-creepy and man alive did I have to hold my breath to make it through(yes, I'm that much of a wimp).

Let’s begin

A list of the creepy elements

- scarecrows
- smiling (yes, this book manages to make smiling über creepy)
- ghosts
- an compelling
☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness
3.4 stars

Great Halloween read but I didn't find it spooky enough. I know it's intended for a younger audience but kid Tinja would have agreed with me ;)
Claudia ✨
It's official. Katherine Arden is the queen of writing atmospheric books.

Small Spaces is so very different from her beautiful debut, The Bear and The Nightingale, without losing her enchanting writing or taking away from this being a middlegrade novel. I had a friend who said that this reminded her of Goosebumps, and I could not agree more.

So what is it about?

Eleven-year-old Ollie is trying to get her life together after losing someone very close to her, and doesn't feel much joy except for
Rida Imran
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019, audio
“Small spaces! Keep to small spaces or see what happens to you! Just see!”

With only this warning we follow Ollie an her 2 friends; Coco and Brian on a sinister timed adventure.
I liked how well our characters were crafted. Ollie who looked ups to heroines from her book and Coco who feels and tries her best to be brave.
And I loved the wholesome father daughter relationship between Ollie and her dad.

I loved the menacing vibe in this book with scarecrows and that smiling man.


The man’s smile
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

I loved it! From the beginning to finish, I liked everything about it. My last reads weren't that great, so I really needed a good book to lift my spirits and this one definitely did the job.
The story is so intriguing and the plot just sucks you in. Also the characters are wonderful. They mature and form a closer bond through their nightmare school trip, and what a trip it was. This book is all about adventure, friendship and love. These things can
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A note to everyone who trips and falls upon my Goodreads page. First, welcome. Let us read and discuss all the books together. Second, Goodreads is wondrous, but contacting me through my Goodreads DMs is a good way to ensure a long wait for a reply. Your best bet is Twitter or Instagram (arden_katherine) on both.

Happy reading.

Born in Texas, Katherine studied French and Russian at Middlebury

Other books in the series

Small Spaces (4 books)
  • Dead Voices (Small Spaces #2)
  • Untitled (Small Spaces, #3)
  • Untitled (Small Spaces, #4)
“You might get to know characters in books, Ollie thought, but getting to know a human was an entirely different thing.” 6 likes
“Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” 2 likes
More quotes…