Title: Small Spaces
Author: Sarah Epstein
Cover image: Jan Faulkner/Shutterstock
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Thriller-psychological
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: 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.  Ass disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again.  And she realises Mallory is the key to unlockingthe truth about a dark secret connecting them.  Does Sparrow exist after all?  Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh wow this book! This has been such an amazing and thrilling read that’s kept me guessing until the very end. Teenager Tash Carmody thought she saw an imaginary person called Sparrow lure away a little girl from a carnival when she was young herself. Years later Tash now knows that Sparrow was never real, that she made him up to gain attention, and the only thing haunting her now is a fear of closed spaces. But when the family of the girl who went missing all those years ago now arrive back in the neighbourhood, Tash starts to see strange things and begins to question what really happened in the past.

Although I have loved reading this book I have to admit that it took me a bit of time to really get into this story. The book begins by introducing Tash and her life to us as a seemingly normal teenager albeit one who sufferes from claustrophobia and some taunting from a fellow teen. The story felt more like a contemporary one at first and I did wonder when the psychological thriller aspect would really begin. Tash is roped into helping to serve food with her friend at a house party and it’s at this point that the story starts to become more interesting as we finally start to see just how bad Tash’s claustrophobia is and how she’s taunted by this image of Sparrow, the imaginary friend she invented when she was young.

The story chapters alternate between Tash’s first person perspective and either interviews with her psychaitrist over the years as she’s grown up, newspaper articles and memories from her past. I enjoyed these extra alternating chanpters as they slowly begin to show you what issues Tash had as a child. As the story moves forward, the pace does pick up and the story becomes really good. It gets very interesting when we learn more about what happened in the past and just what this ‘Sparrow’ looked like. I have to admit that this got quite creepy and by this point I was gripped.

It takes some time for the story to really get to a place where it’s page-turning but when strange things start to happen that Tash can’t explain, you begin to wonder behind everything. Is it someone else, or could it really be Tash? The story just keeps you guessing and I just couldn’t put it down! The ending is so amazing and very satisfying. It has a proper conclusion rather than being too open-ended which I’m glad about, but it’s also brillliant as the story kept me guessing until the very end and I just had no way of knowing who was responsible for everything or what was going to happen. There is very occassional use of the s swear word and although some of the descriptions, like that of what Sparrow looked like are quite creepy most of the story is just more twisted psychological thriller rather than anything too gruesome.

This really is a brilliant psychological thriller and I just loved it. It’s dark in parts and the image of this ‘Sparrow’ character is chilling. Although the story does take a bit of time to get into the true psychological part, it’s also easy read and has a great conclusion. I can’t wait to read more books by this author in the future and this is one book that I’d recommend for anyone interested in a bit of a dark psychological thriller with a big teen vibe.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like to read psychological thrillers?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂