Okay WOW, I absolutely glued my face to Small Spaces! It was so good!
I started off reading last Sunday afternoon thinking, “Eh I’ll read a few chapters before working” and then it’s an hour later and I’m flipping pages anxiously after shouting at the sun and checking under my bed 57 times and saying, “whAt iS GoING ONNNN.”
Solid stuff here. Am a fan.
Also three things to note: (1) I literally can’t check under my bed because my bed is on the floor?!??!!? So look what this book has done to me. And (2) I don’t actually usually like thrillers (I’m never thrilled #sob) but I enjoyed this one so so much!! My thriller-opinion is CHANGED. And lastly (3) I actually read an ARC so the first picture of this post is badly photoshopped. Enjoy my skills ah ha ha.
✓ The amazingly created characters is what made this one stand out for me! I do like a good solid twisty plot, but charactesr who are complex, diverse, dimensional and LEAVE ME FEELING THINGS?!? Heck yes I’m more here for that. Tash is an anxious (and slightly neglected) wreck. Morgan is like an over-excited puppy of love. Sadie is here to be so fabulous you can see her glorious light shining from the moons. Mallory is soft™ and must be protected at all costs. I!! love!! them!! Books that focus on characters first always make me care —> which makes the plot way more compelling.
✓ The plot was also frikkin’ fine. It’s about Tash, now 17, still trying to recover from her traumatic childhood where she (a) had a creeptastic imaginary friend named Sparrow WHO WAS LIKE AN EVIL SPLOT YOU’D FIND IN THE BASEMENT, and (b) she witnessed a 6 year old little girl get kidnapped. But obviously when an 8-year-old says “My imaginary friend kidnapped her!” everyone just writes her off as an attention-seeking brat.
My heart really broke for Tash and the way her mental health was treated. It was infuriating who everyone diminished her as “attention seeking” when she was obviously anxious, even as a kid. And her mother was awful and condescending (argghh) and I think the book really highlighted how isolated you can feel with mental illness and not being believed.
✓ So is the imaginary friend real or not?! It keeps you guessing and second-guessing yourself the entire time! Is it paranormal? Is Tash really seriously seeing things? Is someone mucking up her life? IS THIS THE BROTHER OF STEPHAN KING’S IT OR SOMETHING??? Obviously I give no spoilers. (Mwhahaha.) But I LOVED how it was handled. Sparrow was so flipping creepy. I was genuinely CREEPED. If I say “creep” one more time you can creep over and turn me into a crepe or something. I mean.
✓ The whole plot tied together reeeeeally well at the end. Possibly it was a bit tight/clean/tidy, but more importantly I’m sitting here lowkey wishing for a sequel from this fantastic-friendship-squad, who are all slightly damaged but super adorable little boxes of trauma! Aww.
✗ My only quibble is that it was slow to warm up. But we also know I have the attention span of a refried gnat, so take that onboard! I just felt it dragged a little too much at the beginning (although I get it was to build tension and set the scene) and some of Tash’s decisions were like: “WHYYY TASH WHYYYY.” I mean she literally had a traumatic experience at her aunt’s creepy house as a kid and now, at 17 is like, “I’M SURE IT’LL BE FINE TO REVISIT.” aGhighajfffsss Look once I ate a piece of lettuce and it had a grasshopper near it, so now I can never eat lettuce again. Be like me. Be safe. Learn.
Small Spaces is one of my new favourite thrillers! A+ characters who had me invested within mere pages and the type of creeptastic imaginary friend that will make you ban yourself from imaginary games forever! Such fun! I will take 9 more!
THANKS TO WALKER BOOKS AUS FOR THE ARC! Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein was published April 2018!
Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing.
As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?
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