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Dark Waters

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New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices. Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying t New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices. Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they've steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie's dad and Coco's mom plan a "fun" boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven't had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn't just any island though. It's hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won't survive long.


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New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices. Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying t New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices. Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they've steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie's dad and Coco's mom plan a "fun" boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven't had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn't just any island though. It's hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won't survive long.

30 review for Dark Waters

  1. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    First of all, that cover? Amazing. It's definitely my favourite of the series. But this didn't nudge out book two for sheer spooky creepy excellence, unfortunately. Now spring (following fall and then winter themes for books one and two), this trio of besties are still researching ways to defeat their nemesis the Smiling Man. Their adventures have taken a toll, as has their preoccupation, and so they jump on the opportunity to spend some time outdoors, away from small spaces and mirrors and any s First of all, that cover? Amazing. It's definitely my favourite of the series. But this didn't nudge out book two for sheer spooky creepy excellence, unfortunately. Now spring (following fall and then winter themes for books one and two), this trio of besties are still researching ways to defeat their nemesis the Smiling Man. Their adventures have taken a toll, as has their preoccupation, and so they jump on the opportunity to spend some time outdoors, away from small spaces and mirrors and any situation that might provoke another encounter, and go sailing. But they still can't escape a brush, and more, with the otherworldly forces. This particular scary story didn't grip me quite the same way as the last book; Arden still did a great job with the vibe, and sending a few twists along the way (the ghost in this story was so good, and heartbreaking), but the story didn't feel as tight or focused. I wish it had been longer, had spent more time building some suspense, digging into the feeling of isolation or more. But maybe that's just the adult in me talking. That said, this did feel more like a build up to the cliffhanger and thus the big finale to come in book four. I still did enjoy it, though, and especially loved seeing the parents get mixed into things, as well as a new friend. Mostly, I'm just excited to reread/binge this series when book four comes out. If you, or the younger human in your life, is into the spookier side of things ala Goosebumps, I definitely recommend. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    I recommend this series all the time to middle grade horror lovers. As much as I love this series for kids, I think if there are any more I might not continue reading. They're good, but I'm not the target demographic. I recommend this series all the time to middle grade horror lovers. As much as I love this series for kids, I think if there are any more I might not continue reading. They're good, but I'm not the target demographic.

  3. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    #1) Small Spaces ★★★★☆ #2) Dead Voices ★★★★☆ we have a cover 👀 ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[trauma, graphic snakebite, serious physical illness of a parent, dead body, death of an uncle, death of a mother in a plane crash recounted, shipwreck (on-page), graphic animal attack (snake, theme), bullying recounted (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram #1) Small Spaces ★★★★☆ #2) Dead Voices ★★★★☆ we have a cover 👀 ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[trauma, graphic snakebite, serious physical illness of a parent, dead body, death of an uncle, death of a mother in a plane crash recounted, shipwreck (on-page), graphic animal attack (snake, theme), bullying recounted (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shruti

    I need this book yesterday. 1. Small Spaces - 4 stars 2. Dead Voices - 4 stars I need this book yesterday. 1. Small Spaces - 4 stars 2. Dead Voices - 4 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    J. Lieutenant of Barad Dur

    2.5 stars. Absolutely average. This story had no heart-racing-faster actions, no creepy moments (except one, hence the two and a half stars). It ended so abruptly, I was completely lost. First book is the best. Second.. so-so. Third-a total debacle. I'm afraid how I will feel about the fourth one. 2.5 stars. Absolutely average. This story had no heart-racing-faster actions, no creepy moments (except one, hence the two and a half stars). It ended so abruptly, I was completely lost. First book is the best. Second.. so-so. Third-a total debacle. I'm afraid how I will feel about the fourth one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ~ a foray in fantasy ~

    Super quick read, but not nearly as scary as book 2. The cliffhanger, though. Now I have to wait who knows how long for the last book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    jocelyn

    firstly, LOOK AT THIS VERY EXCELLENT COVER. secondly, i am psyched we're getting some springtime water horror with the best mg crew. firstly, LOOK AT THIS VERY EXCELLENT COVER. secondly, i am psyched we're getting some springtime water horror with the best mg crew.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    As a huge Goosebumps nerd from when I was a wee one, Katherine Arden has brought me back to my childhood with this spooky middle grade series and I’m absolutely loving it. I somehow snagged copies of the first two books as arcs and managed to force myself to wait the long forever drawn out wait for this third installment in the Small Spaces series. Each book has had a paranormal / spooky encounter in three very different settings following the lives of three friends who found their friendship th As a huge Goosebumps nerd from when I was a wee one, Katherine Arden has brought me back to my childhood with this spooky middle grade series and I’m absolutely loving it. I somehow snagged copies of the first two books as arcs and managed to force myself to wait the long forever drawn out wait for this third installment in the Small Spaces series. Each book has had a paranormal / spooky encounter in three very different settings following the lives of three friends who found their friendship through the trials of the first book, Small Spaces. There are little hints from past books sprinkled throughout each following book so I would suggest reading them in order, but it also could stand as its own book if you’re willing to be a little lost on some of the backstory to the characters. I found myself wondering at times if I’ve either gone soft in my horror genre or if this book might actually scare the pants off of a reader or the actual target age range! Because honestly these books can get a little creepy, I love it so much! It’s so cool to see an author who can move so effortlessly through age groups and genres and still produce these amazing stories. I’d highly suggest reading these especially around the spooky fall months coming up! You won’t regret it! Happy reading 🎃! 🐠!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    In this third installment, Brian, Ollie and Coco face down a terrifying creature from the lake. It's Brian's turn to shine as the main focus, and the book opens at the inn his family runs. Brian's parents are worried about him, since his grades have slipped some and he only hangs out with Ollie and Coco since that strange field trip back in the Fall. Brian tries to reach out to his old friend, Phil, only to fine him drawing scarecrows. Coco immediately thinks that maybe Phil doesn't have amnesia In this third installment, Brian, Ollie and Coco face down a terrifying creature from the lake. It's Brian's turn to shine as the main focus, and the book opens at the inn his family runs. Brian's parents are worried about him, since his grades have slipped some and he only hangs out with Ollie and Coco since that strange field trip back in the Fall. Brian tries to reach out to his old friend, Phil, only to fine him drawing scarecrows. Coco immediately thinks that maybe Phil doesn't have amnesia from their first encounter with the Smiley Man. The trio head out for a boat trip on Lake Champlain to try to spot Champ (Vermont's answer to the Loch Ness monster), only to find themselves aboard a boat with Phil and his uncle. Suddenly the cryptic clue left by the Smiley Man outside of Brian's house come together, but will it be too late to save themselves and their family? Book four is going to be a long, agonizing wait, ya'll!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I didn’t like this one. 🥺 Dead Voices was SO good, it scared the shit out of me for ages after I read it a couple years ago, as a fully grown, 25+ year old adult. This just fell flat. It felt like the author wanted to have Ollie be missing and saving her be the final battle against the Smiling Man, and needed a vehicle to get the story there. And this is what we got, two years later. It’s not even 200 pages, we don’t deal with the Smiling Man. It was like a side quest! It read a lot like the Scoo I didn’t like this one. 🥺 Dead Voices was SO good, it scared the shit out of me for ages after I read it a couple years ago, as a fully grown, 25+ year old adult. This just fell flat. It felt like the author wanted to have Ollie be missing and saving her be the final battle against the Smiling Man, and needed a vehicle to get the story there. And this is what we got, two years later. It’s not even 200 pages, we don’t deal with the Smiling Man. It was like a side quest! It read a lot like the Scooby-Doo chapter books I read as a kid. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not this series. I found the sentence structure really choppy, it felt like there were a lot of unnecessary commas and weird stops. I even wondered at one point if this was written by a ghost writer, instead of Katherine Arden, it felt so different than the first two. Also interesting that it’s included Phil, again probably to create the whole picture of the seasons and the books and have it all come full circle. Feels weird to bring him in now though, when it’s just been the three of them. I thought it didn’t really fit the “spring” vibe it was meant to have either. A desolate cold island doesn’t yell spring to me. But maybe it’s a hard season to make spooky. 🤷🏼‍♀️😅 I dunno, this one just really missed the mark for me, and I’m disappointed. I’d been looking forward to it for months. 😔 FAVOURITE QUOTES “The door flew open and slammed against the far wall, with a scream of hinges and shower of dust.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mila

    That was a real spooky book just like the first two, though not as scary as Dead Voices. The pacing was a bit weird, I felt that the ending came very abruptly but still, that cliffhanger!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Fryman

    Available NOW! One Sentence Summary: The gang (plus a newcomer) is back for the Spring episode and this time they are up against the lake monster of Lake Champlain and not everyone will make it home! Reminds Me of: A Harry Potter-esque friend group set in a Goosebumps novel. Three Reasons You Should Read This: 1) This series is perfect for MG readers looking for something spooky! 2) How can you pass up a spooky book about a lake monster? 3) The ending! *gasp* One Thing You Should Know Before You Pick Available NOW! One Sentence Summary: The gang (plus a newcomer) is back for the Spring episode and this time they are up against the lake monster of Lake Champlain and not everyone will make it home! Reminds Me of: A Harry Potter-esque friend group set in a Goosebumps novel. Three Reasons You Should Read This: 1) This series is perfect for MG readers looking for something spooky! 2) How can you pass up a spooky book about a lake monster? 3) The ending! *gasp* One Thing You Should Know Before You Pick it Up: While you could pick this book up out of order and simply enjoy the spooky adventure, I would highly recommend reading at least the first book (Small Spaces) if not also the second one (Dead Voices), too. You'll get a lot more of the references the main three friends make about their back stories. *Disclaimer - I received an early reading copy for review from the publisher via Edelweiss.*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Even though Ollie, Brian, and Coco are no longer besieged by scarecrows of Small Spaces, and have fought off the Smiling Man in Dead Voices, they are still wary of things that go bump, especially in the day time. After spending some rainy days at Brian's family's inn, the group is looking forward to a brief boat outing while Coco Zintner's mother is interviewing Dane Dimmonds, who runs a tour boat on Lake Champlain that specializes in local history, especially abo E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Even though Ollie, Brian, and Coco are no longer besieged by scarecrows of Small Spaces, and have fought off the Smiling Man in Dead Voices, they are still wary of things that go bump, especially in the day time. After spending some rainy days at Brian's family's inn, the group is looking forward to a brief boat outing while Coco Zintner's mother is interviewing Dane Dimmonds, who runs a tour boat on Lake Champlain that specializes in local history, especially about the mythical serpent, Champ. The kids, along with Ollie's dad, Mr. Adler, and Ms. Zintner, pack their bags and set off on their adventure. When they meet Mr. Dimmonds, they are surprised to find Phil, a school mate, there. Phil is Dimmond's nephew, and helps out on the boat. He was also involved in the terrifying bus trip, and claims not to remember the scarecrows, although he does admit to having horrible nightmares about them. He has also been less than kind to the other kids, especially Ollie, and admits to Brian that he has met someone who matches the description of the Smiling Man in town. Since there was a strange, blackened circle with mysterious words on it left at Brian's inn, the children are already on edge. The boat trip starts out okay, but when Phil is fishing, he catches a small sea serpent, and the voyage takes a disastrous turn. Mr. Adler prevents Phil from getting bitten, but sustains a wound himself. Mysteriously, the engine on the boat goes missing, and the boat starts to fill with water. The kids and Ms. Zintner manage to save Mr. Adler, but Mr. Dimmond is carried off by the water. The group ends up on an island that hadn't appeared on any of the maps, and must try to survive the cold temperatures and lack of radio contact while dealing with Mr. Adler's wounds. There are plenty of creepy things on the island: a forest of hanging fishhooks, abandoned snake skins, and a creepy cabin with the skull of "Tommy" that a crazed, axe-carrying man seems to think is still alive. Could these two be connected with the early 1800s ship, the Goblin, that disappeared in mysterious circumstances? Ollie's biggest concern is saving her father, and since all of the bad things that happen to the group seem to be connected to the Smiling Man, will he somehow be involved with the group's plight? Strengths: For whatever reason, my students LOVE murderous ghosts, scarecrows, or other paranormal creatures. I'm sure they will be onboard with murderous sea serpents and ghosts of sailors! I love the way Arden takes perfectly benign, pleasant scenarios and gets us all cozy around the fire before making everything slide sideways into terror! It's like plunging into a cold pool on a really hot day-- all the more shocking! Mr. Adler is a great character, and his injury is used to great psychological effect as well; Ollie has already lost her mother, so she doesn't want to lose her father, who has stepped up so well to try to fill in the emptiness in Ollie's life. Phil's appearance, and his experience of being involved with the scarecrows, adds another layer of interest. I enjoyed the fact that lots of Vermont-specific background is included; Robert Frost's poetry, Lake Champlain, and (of course) Champ! Weaknesses: We didn't see as much of the Smiling Man in this one, and I would have preferred seeing the group deal with his oily evil rather than the spirit of ancient mariners. This ended a bit abruptly, so I'm sure that this character will play a larger role in the next book. What I really think: My students will be waiting in line for this new installation, and I can't wait to see how the story wraps up in the summer installment. What a great way to structure a series around the seasons, and four books is just the right length. Perfect for fans of the new crop of middle grade horror like the work of K.R. Alexander and Joel Sutherland, and Hermon's Hide and Seeker, Currie's Scritch Scratch, Lawrence's The Stitchers, Brown's The Forgotten Girl, and Ireland's Ophie's Ghosts.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Holy cliffhanger, Batman....

  15. 4 out of 5

    breana / milkyboos ♡

    the characters hold a special place in my heart (especially ollie and coco, my brave girls!) i didn’t get as much of the chills reading this as i wish i did though, and i purposefully read late at night as well; that’s really the only let down as i was expecting to feel a bit more fear than i ultimately did ;-; still a really fun & fast autumn/spooky season read though!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aranza♥︎

    These books are always a shot of adrenaline and they are so fun to read. I can’t wait to see how everything ends.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jiny S

    This third book in the series follows the previous two with its own trapped-survival-horror theme. Really great story that reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Sea monsters, ghosts, and sunken ships are all things I love to read about. The story flows very well, and parts of the story are deliciously creepy! Not a big fan of the cliff hanger but it's forgivable of it ties into something epic in the final book, like a plan Ollie comes up to defeat the smiling man (I don't know). This third book in the series follows the previous two with its own trapped-survival-horror theme. Really great story that reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Sea monsters, ghosts, and sunken ships are all things I love to read about. The story flows very well, and parts of the story are deliciously creepy! Not a big fan of the cliff hanger but it's forgivable of it ties into something epic in the final book, like a plan Ollie comes up to defeat the smiling man (I don't know).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

    Ah! I wasn't expecting that ending! I need the 4th book, like now! Ah! I wasn't expecting that ending! I need the 4th book, like now!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Krisette Spangler

    I absolutely loved the cover art for this book. It really hooks your interest in the story. When is book four coming? How will I wait to find out what happens?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This was my least favorite of the series so far but it was still really, really good. And that ending 😱😱 I can't wait to get my hands on the final book! This was my least favorite of the series so far but it was still really, really good. And that ending 😱😱 I can't wait to get my hands on the final book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    The stakes have never been higher in this third installment of the Small Spaces quartet by Katherine Arden. “Dark Waters” takes us to a seemingly inescapable deserted island that’s haunted by ghosts and monsters. Can Ollie, Coco, Brian and their new friend Phil figure out a way out of the Smiling Man’s next terrifying game? Or will they find themselves and their parents trapped there forever? ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Chilling and tense, this next read is sure to get your skin crawling as the dark game continues... u The stakes have never been higher in this third installment of the Small Spaces quartet by Katherine Arden. “Dark Waters” takes us to a seemingly inescapable deserted island that’s haunted by ghosts and monsters. Can Ollie, Coco, Brian and their new friend Phil figure out a way out of the Smiling Man’s next terrifying game? Or will they find themselves and their parents trapped there forever? ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Chilling and tense, this next read is sure to get your skin crawling as the dark game continues... until next time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    lauren ♡

    when i first started this i wasn't sure if i was going to love it as much as small spaces and dead voices, because it just felt a tiny bit flat compared to the first two? bUT the ending rly won me over (view spoiler)[(queer coded gay pirate ghosts ftw) (hide spoiler)] !! i listened to the audio book again and just like the first two it totally heightened the experience, the narrator does such a good job!!! i love this world and these characters so so much. if you want something fun and spooky to when i first started this i wasn't sure if i was going to love it as much as small spaces and dead voices, because it just felt a tiny bit flat compared to the first two? bUT the ending rly won me over (view spoiler)[(queer coded gay pirate ghosts ftw) (hide spoiler)] !! i listened to the audio book again and just like the first two it totally heightened the experience, the narrator does such a good job!!! i love this world and these characters so so much. if you want something fun and spooky to read then pls read this series!! it's the best. and i can not wait for the next book!!! that ending!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I love Katherine Arden! I’ve read all of her books. Small Spaces & Dead Voices were great! Arden has such a wonderful way of writing- you really feel like you are there with the characters. I felt fall and winter in her first two Small Spaces- I could see it, feel it, and smell the smells. Small Spaces was creepy and fun! Dead Voices was so spooky, wonderful! Unfortunately, Dark Waters didn’t quite measure up. It felt rushed, and lacked depth. It almost felt like half of a book. By the time thin I love Katherine Arden! I’ve read all of her books. Small Spaces & Dead Voices were great! Arden has such a wonderful way of writing- you really feel like you are there with the characters. I felt fall and winter in her first two Small Spaces- I could see it, feel it, and smell the smells. Small Spaces was creepy and fun! Dead Voices was so spooky, wonderful! Unfortunately, Dark Waters didn’t quite measure up. It felt rushed, and lacked depth. It almost felt like half of a book. By the time things really got going, it was over. While there was a sea monster… it didn’t have the same spooky feeling of the previous books in this series, which was disappointing. However, the cliffhanger at the end was awesome! I’m looking forward to the 4th book, hoping it brings the series to a good finish.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    There was a no denying that Katherine Arden is a fabulous writer. She is a master at suspense and can make you feel chills even in summer. That being said, Dark Waters was not her best book. First, Coco, Ollie, and Brian from the first two books would have been super suspicious of this boat trip. Ollie was just naturally that way while Brian and Coco have learned to be. Also, Coco and Brian would have known what was up with Ollie and would have demanded answers. If this had been the first book I There was a no denying that Katherine Arden is a fabulous writer. She is a master at suspense and can make you feel chills even in summer. That being said, Dark Waters was not her best book. First, Coco, Ollie, and Brian from the first two books would have been super suspicious of this boat trip. Ollie was just naturally that way while Brian and Coco have learned to be. Also, Coco and Brian would have known what was up with Ollie and would have demanded answers. If this had been the first book I had read by Arden, I would have been impressed, but there were a lot of issues that don’t match up with her other books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Rose

    4.5 Stars. A great new installment in this series! This series is consistently creepy, always delivering a decently scary mystery/ghost story while the Coco, Brian, and Ollie grow as people in their fight against the Smiling Man. I loved the haunted island, giant monster, early spring vibes this one had! My one complaint is that the cliff hanger made it feel unfinished, but over all another great middle grade horror and I can't wait to see what happens next! Thanks to Edelweiss+ for the advanced 4.5 Stars. A great new installment in this series! This series is consistently creepy, always delivering a decently scary mystery/ghost story while the Coco, Brian, and Ollie grow as people in their fight against the Smiling Man. I loved the haunted island, giant monster, early spring vibes this one had! My one complaint is that the cliff hanger made it feel unfinished, but over all another great middle grade horror and I can't wait to see what happens next! Thanks to Edelweiss+ for the advanced copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    KC

    In this third installment, the gang sets sail in search of Champ, that fabled monster in Vermont's Lake Champlain. But their excursion did not go according to plan. After becoming shipwrecked on an island that did not appear on any map, the group finds themselves fighting off a land traveling snake-like sea creature. Will they get off the island and escape danger or will they fall victim to a historic curse? In this third installment, the gang sets sail in search of Champ, that fabled monster in Vermont's Lake Champlain. But their excursion did not go according to plan. After becoming shipwrecked on an island that did not appear on any map, the group finds themselves fighting off a land traveling snake-like sea creature. Will they get off the island and escape danger or will they fall victim to a historic curse?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    As with all of the previous books in the series, I really enjoyed this one too. I can't go into too much detail about what it's about because of the prior books, but it's the third installment in the Small Spaces series and this one takes place in spring and involves a boat adventure and a creepy island. The writing in this book was comparable with the previous two and well-paced and well-written. The ending was frustrating though, but not unexpected. The setting was just as atmospheric as all o As with all of the previous books in the series, I really enjoyed this one too. I can't go into too much detail about what it's about because of the prior books, but it's the third installment in the Small Spaces series and this one takes place in spring and involves a boat adventure and a creepy island. The writing in this book was comparable with the previous two and well-paced and well-written. The ending was frustrating though, but not unexpected. The setting was just as atmospheric as all of Katherine Arden's novels. it's always one of my favorite parts of her works. This one took place on Lake Champlain and on a creepy island and it was excellent. The plot is something I can't talk much about, but the above summary should probably give you some insight. Like the other books it deals with Ollie, Brian and Coco getting involved with the Smiling Man's antics and it was no different in this book. Finally, the characters. This was Brian's book and I loved getting to see his perspective. I adored his interactions with Coco and how perceptive he was throughout everything. I always love the other characters too like Ollie and Coco and Mr. Adler etc. They were all great in this book too. And I loved the addition of Phil. What a fun addition! I really loved seeing how far all of the characters have come from the first book. Fantastic addition to the series and I'm already dying for the last book! TW/CW: Severe injury, death, grief

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ladzinski

    Listened to the audiobook Content warning: Snakes, dead parent (mentioned), starvation, poisoning, infected wound As far as my hyperfixations go, this book has to be my favorite. It’s got urban legends, naval history, and camping in the woods. The kids are on a boat trip that goes horribly wrong when a snake-like entity capsizes the boat and traps the kids on an island. Once again, they have outwit not just the Smiling Man but also possibly Champ, the monster inhabiting Lake Champaign. My favorite Listened to the audiobook Content warning: Snakes, dead parent (mentioned), starvation, poisoning, infected wound As far as my hyperfixations go, this book has to be my favorite. It’s got urban legends, naval history, and camping in the woods. The kids are on a boat trip that goes horribly wrong when a snake-like entity capsizes the boat and traps the kids on an island. Once again, they have outwit not just the Smiling Man but also possibly Champ, the monster inhabiting Lake Champaign. My favorite character in this entry is Phil. The way Arden navigates PTSD from hauntings is so empathetic. Yes, the evil might be defeated (for a bit) and the danger might be over, but it has lingering effects. Granted, she showed this expertise when exploring Ollie’s negative mental state in Small Spaces, and it’s good to see that kind of emotional complexity here. I also wanted to highlight the entire historical subplot. It’s engaging and though the kids read from a diary once again, seeing the truth play out in horrifying real life makes for added thrills. Elements from Small Spaces return here in a way that adds cohesion to the series. And as mentioned earlier, the cliffhanger at the end is making me impatient for the next entry.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Martin

    What a fun, spooky read for Fall! Terrifying snake-like lake monster? YES please! This third installment finds Ollie, Coco and Brian joining up with one of their classmates, Phil, as they plan to spend a fun day sight seeing on the local lake but get marooned with a few of their parents on a hidden island (and cannot escape)! It appears the Smiling Man has found a way to reach them once again! And this time, there's a ghost trapped on the island with them and a monstrous lake monster is also aft What a fun, spooky read for Fall! Terrifying snake-like lake monster? YES please! This third installment finds Ollie, Coco and Brian joining up with one of their classmates, Phil, as they plan to spend a fun day sight seeing on the local lake but get marooned with a few of their parents on a hidden island (and cannot escape)! It appears the Smiling Man has found a way to reach them once again! And this time, there's a ghost trapped on the island with them and a monstrous lake monster is also after them! This adventurous and creepy middle grade novel is full of Goosebumps vibes and was so much fun to read! I am really enjoying this series a lot! And while this particular story was not near as scary as the first two novels, it was still quite entertaining to read! The cliffhanger at the end is amazing and I cannot wait for the next one! I certainly recommend this series for those who enjoy middle grade reads!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cara (Wilde Book Garden)

    The atmosphere and characters are still top-notch and I love that this was kind of "Brian's book". And I loved seeing him and Coco work together so much! BUT. Katherine Arden, that ending was bullshit and you know it - don't lie to me. I'm not mad (view spoiler)[because I KNEW Ollie was going to pull some dumb shit like that, and also because thankfully she wasn't super active in this book so I didn't have a lot of time to get irritated with her, and also because we know they have a chance to get The atmosphere and characters are still top-notch and I love that this was kind of "Brian's book". And I loved seeing him and Coco work together so much! BUT. Katherine Arden, that ending was bullshit and you know it - don't lie to me. I'm not mad (view spoiler)[because I KNEW Ollie was going to pull some dumb shit like that, and also because thankfully she wasn't super active in this book so I didn't have a lot of time to get irritated with her, and also because we know they have a chance to get her back, and also because she's my least favorite of the main characters so if one of them has to be temporarily missing I'd rather it's her than Brian or Coco (hide spoiler)] , I'm just disappointed. CW: Grief

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