Title: Small Spaces
Author: Sarah Epstein
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 2nd August 2018
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Small Spaces follows Tash Carmody who has been living with childhood trauma – witnessing her grotesque imaginary friend Sparrow lure a young girl, Mallory Fisher, away from a carnival. No one believed her at the time and Tash came to accept that Sparrow was never real.
But years later, memories are resurfacing and Tash is starting to Sparrow again. So the question arises, is Sparrow real? The answer may lie with Mallory Fisher.
Small Spaces was a quick read that is overwhelming in its intensity, its mysteries and its twists. You are never sure if what you are reading is correct, if only because Tash doesn’t know whether she believes it either. The mystery unfolds skillfully, slowing unravelling the past and the present in tandem with each other.
Sarah Epstein’s writing style is incredibly smooth – she transitions between the past and the present, what is real and what may not be, with such ease. These quick changing aspects of the story could have to lead the entire thing to be a muddle but Epstein shows her care for the tale she is telling.
The characters were all understandable, whether you liked them or not. You understood their motivations and it impacted their actions throughout the story. Tash, in particular, was an incredibly sympathetic main character – she spends most of the book questioning what she remembers and what she sees around her, leading her to feel confused and distant to the people around her (something that happens to a lot of people with mental health issues from time to time).
I liked Mallory as well – another character who had been through a traumatic experience but affected by it in a different way from Tash, and yet both found common ground despite their shared history. The friendship between these two is very sweet and powerful at times.
This was definitely a book of strong badass girls with mental health problems, and I am living for it!
I also have a lot of respect for how Epstein showed mental health and therapy – the choice to go, the choice to stop, and all of the things that come along with mental ill health. The treatment of Tash was frustrating and saddening in places, however, when it came to how people reacted to her and what she claims to have seen. So, be prepared for that.
And, as for the question, is Sparrow real?
Well, you’re going to have to read and find out for yourself…
Have you read Small Spaces? What did you think? If you haven’t, has this review made you want to pick the book up or not? Let me know what you think in the comments!