Cover Dark Waters: A tiny ship on the water; under the water a monster fish with razor sharp teeth watches it

About the Book

Title: Dark Waters (Small Spaces #3)
Published: 2021

Cover Story: Keep Your Hands And Feet Inside The Boat
BFF Charm: Make It Rain
Talky Talk: It’s Getting Dark
Bonus Factor: Ghosts, Shipwrecks
Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhangers
Relationship Status: Bosom Buddies

Cover Story: Keep Your Hands And Feet Inside The Boat

I have never felt such existential dread as the time I went snorkeling on my honeymoon in Grand Turk, and the boat took us a ways out from the beach to check out this fairly shallow reef, and then I turned around underwater and faced this giant drop off into open sea. Like a deep, primal panic just staring out at all that crushing, empty water. I immediately turned my back to it and did not face that direction the rest of the time. So…yeah, safe to say that even contemplating monsters like THIS might be out there just chilling in the water makes me totes fine with staying firmly on the deck.

The Deal:

It’s totally understandable that Brian’s parents are a bit concerned with the way their son has been acting the last year, startling at shadows and preferring to spend his afternoons holed up with his new friends reading occult books. So when Coco’s mom invites everyone on a sailing trip so she can review a boat tour company, they’re inclined to say no. But after the creepy, cryptic warning Brian, Olivia, and Coco received from the Smiling Man, how can Brian let them go off by themselves? Plus, maybe a little sunshine and lake breeze is just what the doctor ordered.

Except their day on the water soon begins to resemble something out of Jaws as the boat is attacked and sunk by a snake-like monster…and the island they end up on isn’t actually on any known maps. With no food or shelter and a creature stalking their every move, what the heck are they supposed to do next?

BFF Charm: Make It Rain

BFF charm holding an umbrella

These brave, smart whippersnappers are my middle school ride or dies. Even poor Phil (Brian’s former friend who’s uncle owns the boat) has earned my BFF charm for having to deal with all those scary flashbacks alone for the last year! I mean, yeah, he did bully Coco in the first book and that was a shit move, but I’d wager being turned into a scarecrow by the devil serves as an excellent Scared Straight deterrent. And if my girl, Coco, can be the bigger person and forgive him, who am I to be recalcitrant?

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Aside from Olivia’s dad and Coco’s mom getting closer, this friend group remains strictly platonic.

Talky Talk: It’s Getting Dark

This book is Brian’s time to shine as Arden ratchets up the stakes by including the trio’s families in the Smiling Man’s evil machinations. I enjoy how each story lets the individual characters play to their strengths while moving the overarching plot along and building on their friendships with each other. The setting—a misty, haunted island that shouldn’t exist, with silverware warnings in the trees and a monster stalking the shores—was the creepiest yet, and this was probably the bleakest situation our heroes have found themselves in. I think it was my least favorite of the three so far, if only because I was surprised and then annoyed when ended too soon. What happens next, Katherine Arden???

Bonus Factor: Ghosts

Little ghost sugar cookies

I won’t spoil anything, but the backstory of the island’s ghosts actually ended up being surprisingly poignant.

Bonus Factor: Shipwrecks

A shipwrecked ship underwater with fish swimming around

Never want to be in one, obvs, but I love a good heart-pumping, death-is-breathing-down-our-necks action sequence, and Arden delivers the goods.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhangers

WHAT WAS THAT? Like, really, I have to WAIT?

Relationship Status: Bosom Buddies

This Book and I, nay, this Series and I, have been through it together, and we’ve forged a relationship based on heightened emotions and mutual respect.

Literary Matchmaking

A Map for Wrecked Girls

If you’re looking for more stories about shipwrecks and being stranded, try Jessica Taylor’s A Map for Wrecked Girls.

Neverworld Wake

Dead or stuck in purgatory or all in their heads? Marisha Pessl’s Neverworld Wake is trippy and weird and wholly unputdownable.

Hold Back the Tide

Melinda Salisbury’s Hold Back the Tide also makes me cool with never going in the water EVER AGAIN.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Dark Waters is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.