Parents' Guide to

Small Spaces

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Tween horror done right: scary, not gory, with some heart.

Small Spaces Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (15):

Here's a rare thing: tween horror that's creepy instead of gory, well-written (minus some hastiness near the end), and starring thoughtful, memorable characters. And best of all for kids, they'll never look at a boring farm field trip the same way again. Or a simple scarecrow. Or a corn maze. Author Katherine Arden, in her first book for this age group, throws a lot in the scary-stuff pot and stirs. There are ghosts and old curses and a magical watch, too. The buildup to the bus breaking down is all well-paced and plotted, and Ollie, the main character, is very well drawn. She's hurting after the loss of her mother, but tough and determined to survive.

After Ollie escapes that first night with two classmates, the scares ratchet up. The more the trio learn about the scarecrows and the smiling man, the more hopeless it seems that they'll ever escape them. Which is why it's such a surprise when Small Spaces unravels so fast at the end. And without closure for some of the otherworldly characters they meet. Still, Ollie's bravery and sacrifice add a nice depth to the finish, and will satisfy thoughtful readers. Here's hoping for more tween-centered horror of the same high quality.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate