Dark Waters

Putnam. (Small Spaces: Bk. 3). Aug. 2021. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593109151.
Gr 4 Up–Arden’s series features compelling folklore from the state of Vermont. Friends Ollie, Brian, and Coco have experienced a multitude of ghostly horrors—from haunted farms to eerie snowbound inns—but now in the third volume of the “Small Spaces” series, the kids take a sailing trip with another school friend that turns nightmarish. The trio are wary of trusting new people and fearful of sharing secrets that might endanger others, especially their parents. When the day trip turns sour as an unidentified enormous creature, reminiscent of local lore’s Lake Champlain monster, leaves the party shipwrecked on a nearby island, the kids use all their survival and problem-solving skills to unlock riddles from the infamous smiling man to escape the island. Those who are attracted to mystery, adventure, and spooky stories will be drawn to this sequel like a moth to a flame. Yet, Arden also uses her platform to talk about mental health, forthright communication, and the importance of a strong group of friends.
VERDICT A gentle ghost story that highlights the friendship of underestimated kids using their wits to solve riddles and protect their families.

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