Riveting Read: Small Spaces
A spine tingling psychological thriller that appeals to all ages
Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter
Her current read is ‘Small Spaces’ by Sarah Epstein
This instalment of Riveting Reads come to you from Assistant Youth Librarian Kerrie Gamble.
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?
Sarah Epstein explores many themes throughout her novel including childhood trauma, PTSD, family issues and mental stress. Epstein explores ideas relating to the believability of children’s words and how they can often be brushed off as attention seeking or acting out like the main character Tash was. This novel is essentially about a young girls past coming back to haunt her and her attempts to navigate and survive this childhood trauma. Epstein uses the unreliable narrator trope extremely well which adds to the suspense and mood of the novel as well as realistically portraying someone who no longer knows what is real or not. As a reader you begin to suspect every person close to Tash as the book slowly reveals morsels of information and clues about what really happened. This book creates a frightening and tense portrait of teenage trauma but does contain a lot of your typical teenage drama for example romance and catty high school girls. With a twisty turny plot, creepy atmosphere and compelling characters it is hard to put this book down.
Epstein has created a well fleshed out protagonist who is realistic and believable. The main character of Tash has flaws and relatable issues that make you root for the character but also makes for a thrilling read. The characterisation of Tash was outstanding throughout this novel as she struggles with her childhood experiences and the fact that nobody believes her leading her to intense therapy, trust issues and her questioning her mental health. The novel alternates between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ which adds to the suspense of the novel and gives insight into the past. The ‘Then’ chapters contain transcripts from therapy sessions, newspaper clippings and flashbacks to the childhood events while the ‘Now’ chapters are Tash trying to figure out what really happened all those years ago. Descriptions of Tash’s memories in the ‘Then’ chapters are sparse and haunting which creates suspense and uncertainty throughout the novel. Readers will become as confused as the protagonist herself trying to sort out whether Tash is telling the truth or not about what really happened.
Overflowing with shocking twists and creepy chills this novel had me immediately hooked
You can find this book in the Young Adult section under EPS