My blogging buddy Jay of The Scented Library sent me this spooktacular young adult read just before Halloween. And what a fitting find it was, too, neatly checking off all of the things I love in a book – whimsi-gothic cover art reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie poster, supernatural shenanigans afoot, an above-the-title pull quote from R.L. Stine! But showing just how well she actually knows me (see, friends, you need never have met a person face-to-face for them to just get you) Jay acknowledged that while very cool, a recommendation from Stine carried ever so slightly less cachet than one from MY favourite young adult author of choice, Christopher Pike (difficult, as I’ve heard he’s a grumpy old sod who resolutely refuses to play the publicity game.) Also, this last-last minute entry towards Jay and Julie’s 2018 reading challenge satisfies the theme of a book with purple cover art, which I was then inspired to turn into what I think is a rather lovely, evocative manicure. So really just the most perfect gift – with thanks again, friend. 🙂
Yes, yes, but what of the novel itself? Geez, patient puss, I was just about to get to that. 😉 Without giving away too much of the plot, Small Spaces, by author Katherine Arden, is a fog-shrouded, atmospheric little supernatural thriller, more taut novella than novel, which I think is to its great advantage. Small Spaces clips along at a nice pace; I had it finished up within three or four sessions, and I was loathe to put it down once the action really began.
Creepy, unsettling and shiveringly, delightfully scary, Small Spaces tells the story of 11-year-old Olivia “Ollie” Adler, an outcast by choice following the death of her mother the year prior. On a field trip to a local farm, Ollie wanders away from her classmates and has an unsettling run-in with an employee – he intones that there is great danger coming, but suggests that if she hides, and confines herself to small spaces, she just might survive the threat.
And that’s pretty much all I can tell you without giving all of the rest of the story away, because the book plays it so straight, truly what you read is what you get. There are some surprisingly delightful moments in Small Spaces, but it’s a simple book, with a straightforward narrative that it wears on its earnest, young adult sleeve. I really, really enjoyed it; it was a nice little diversion from the usual, and proper spooky, too. A fine read for a cold and gloomy day.
Scarecrows – this nail art is supposed to depict scarecrows standing in a mist-laden field. And I can’t say anything more about it than that, except I think this manicure turned out really rather well; holographic polishes, especially when they are sponged on like they have been for this gradient manicure, always have a bit of a heathered grey tinge to them, perfect for fog-shrouded books AND nails.