Friday, July 13, 2018

Small Spaces - Sarah Epstein

Small Spaces - Sarah Epstein


"Small Spaces is a gripping YA thriller from debut Australian author Sarah Epstein, perfect for fans of Fleur Ferris. 14+." - Walker Books Aus

Traumatized as a child by her imaginary friend, Tash has been taught to ignore instincts and distrust memories.  So when she is once again confronted by unsettling events from her childhood, Tash must decide what is true and what is imagined.  Time is ticking and lives are at stake.

I do love a decent thriller, and Small Spaces definitely delivers on the suspense front.  The pacing is ideal, I zoomed through in a couple of sittings.  Epstein uses narrative devices like flashbacks, transcripts and an unreliable narrator and it all really, really works.

There's a satisfying blend of likeable and unlikeable characters.  Additionally, the unlikeable characters are suuuuuuper unlikeable.  Some are truly manipulative and emotionally abusive.  The more sympathetic characters are perhaps not wonderfully drawn, but for this particular story I don't think it matters.  There's is so much else to be caught up in.

There's a pervasive creepiness that oozes out of the flashbacks, right into the present day story.  Tash's imaginary friend is right at the heart of the horror and almost enough stop me from sleeping well at night, yanno? The homestead is also... I just... I can't with the homestead.  Suuuuper creepiness (in the best way).

There were some weaknesses, though insignificant enough in the scheme of things.  It was difficult to keep reading through some of Tash's decisionmaking.  Important for the progression of the story, but frustrating.  There's some insta-love and a little too much tell vs. show.  None of this got in the way of what was a twisted, layered and tightly plotted story.

Small Spaces is already in stores and libraries so check it out.

Review copy kindly provided by Walker Books

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