Jazzy Reviews: ‘Small Spaces’

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‘Small Spaces’ has been in my pile of TBR books on my bedside table for some time now. I’ve heard so many great things about it and everytime I think ‘oh that one next’, something else for work or a book for urgent review comes along…oh the life of a librarian! Now that I’ve read Jazzy’s review I’ve moved it to the top of my TBR pile and I’m very much hoping to get to it before the school year begins. Have you read it? Have your teens read it?

It’s lovely to kick off 2020 reviews with one from Jazzy as she’s one of my fav teen reviewers. She is insightful, balanced in all she says about the books she reads…and she reads super different books to me, so we balance each other out! For all Jazzy’s reviews click on the ‘Jazzy Reviews’ tab.

Click on ‘Buy from Booktopia’ when shopping online in Australia to #supportaustralian. Purchase in store from your local independent bookstore where possible #supportlocal.

‘Small Spaces’

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Mallory tugs at the sleeves of her oversized shirt as she watches me. I try not to be obvious about snatching glimpses of her face. There’s little hint of the grinning kindergartner from her MISSING posters all those years ago. Her skin is dull and waxy now, her hair lank. She curls her shoulders defensively as though warding off some kind of threat.

But it’s her eyes that seize hold of me, crystal clear and evaluating. There are questions there, and a sea of answers too. It sparks an urge in me to shake her, demand to know how she disappeared. Did she wander off? Was she taken?

Did I really imagine him, Mallory?

Please tell me my mind isn’t that sick!


When Tash was eight years’ old and temporarily staying at her aunt’s house, a child named Mallory Fisher was abducted from a carnival and Tash saw her imaginary friend Sparrow take her. No one believed Tash, not even her parents and she was sent into therapy. She was then told that she was lying and attention-seeking, as her mother was in hospital pregnant with a son. Nine years after the incident, the Fishers are back in town and Mallory is now mute because of the trauma she had suffered. Tash revisits her aunt’s house and Sparrow reappears. But is he real? Is Tash as crazy as everyone believes? And most of all… can Tash trust herself?


‘Small Spaces’ is a psychological thriller, and it is completely different to what I was expecting. Previously, I had thought that the genre was confusing and boring, as I didn’t understand how a book could be both chilling and intelligent. The events in this novel could happen in real life, too – I can’t say without spoiling, but knowing this made it even harder to read the book at night.

Tash is such a rare character, as she is a storyteller with mental health issues. This makes it hard for the reader to know whether or not to believe her. The story is therefore unique, as normally, a narrator is reliable. Honestly, I have never come across a book like this.

This novel has a few minor concepts which could disturb younger readers – a girl is snatched from a carnival, Tash’s imaginary friend looks terrifying and Tash often feels alone and misunderstood. Some terms such as “dyke” are used in an offensive way against Tash’s homosexual friend Sadie. A drug addiction is central to the storyline. Therefore, I recommend ‘Small Spaces’ to readers aged 13+.

‘Small Spaces’ is like a rollercoaster, as it is riddled with twists and turns. I really enjoyed the plot twist towards the end of this novel, and the way that Tash couldn’t even trust herself is so clever. I love how the characters change and reveal things about themselves throughout the storyline. I give ‘Small Spaces’ ten bookbolts out of ten.

ISBN: 9781921977381
Publisher: Walker Books Australia

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