Book Buzz
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About the book | About the author | Early praise | First look | Q&A | Reading copy giveaway

Small Spaces is a beautifully crafted psychological thriller. I couldn’t put it down.’—Fleur Ferris, author of Risk, Black and Wreck

Small Spaces About the book

We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.

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 15 and mute, Mallory has never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

Small Spaces, the gripping #LoveOzYA debut of the year, will be published by Walker Books Australia in April 2018.


Sarah Epstein About the author

Sarah Epstein spent her childhood drawing, daydreaming and cobbling together books at the kitchen table. A writer, illustrator and designer, she grew up in suburban Sydney and now lives in Melbourne with her husband and two sons. She is passionate about YA, especially the thriller genre, which is her favourite to read. Small Spaces is her first novel.


Early praise for Small Spaces

‘This spine-tingling, shiver inducing psychological thriller is one of the most impressive YA debuts I’ve read in ages. With its twisty-turny plot, super-creepy atmosphere and deeply relatable characters — Small Spaces is impossible to put down and a legitimate threat to any reader’s peace of mind. This book should probably come with a nightmare warning!’—Sarah McDuling, Booktopia

‘Tense, creepy and completely engrossing, Sarah Epstein’s psychological thriller, Small Spaces, kept me breathlessly reading well into the night … with a light on!’—Kate Page, Pages & Pages

‘This gripping debut messes with your head and makes you doubt your own senses. With Small Spaces, Sarah Epstein smashes it out of the park.’—Ellie Marney, author of the ‘Every’ series

Small Spaces is a deliciously creepy YA thriller that reeled me in, made my heart race and kept me guessing to the very end.’—Rachael Craw, author of the ‘Spark’ series

‘A fantastic example of the brilliant quality of Australian YA.’Gilly Reads

Small Spaces is an incredible debut. Not only is it deliciously creepy, its twists and turns keep you guessing all the way through. I’d recommend enlisting the company of a stuffed animal if you’re reading this one past bedtime.’—The Loony Literate 


First look

Start the thriller you won’t get out of your head: you can read a sneak peek of Small Spaces here.


Q&A with Sarah Epstein

How did you come up with the character Tash?

I thought a lot about what the family dynamics might be like in a situation where a young child is visited by an imaginary friend, resulting in erratic and disturbing behaviour. Would the adults in her life intervene or just wait it out? And what would happen if the imaginary friend reappeared years later, throwing the now-teenager and her family into turmoil again? I realised at the core of such a story would be a character who is desperate to win the trust of others when she isn’t even sure she trusts herself. From this, Tash emerged and started telling me her story.

As well as a riveting storyline, what do you think your readers will get out of what Tash is dealing with and her battles with questioning her sanity?

There’s a well-known expression, ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about’, and that’s not only true for Tash and a number of other characters in this story, but for many readers as well. I think Tash’s self-belief issues are relatable, as are her fears and hopes about the future, and not fitting into ‘the norm’. To me, Tash embodies our basic desire to be heard and believed by those we trust most, as well as our sometimes fragile ability to believe in ourselves.

Who has been your greatest influence as an author?

For Small Spaces my greatest influences were Rebecca James, Gillian Flynn and Liane Moriarty. I love all of Rebecca’s YA thrillers and when I read Sweet Damage and Beautiful Malice I was inspired to write something mysterious and suspenseful. I find the darkness of Gillian Flynn’s twisty plots and flawed characters mesmerising, and the nonlinear narrative of Dark Places encouraged me to look at an alternative storytelling structure for Small Spaces. And Liane Moriarty’s ability to craft compelling mysteries that hold her readers’ interest and keep them guessing to the end is a skill I find endlessly inspiring.


Reading copy giveaway

Can’t wait to read Small Spaces? Send an email to with ‘Small Spaces’ in the subject line—the first five people to email will win a copy of the book!





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