The Crawl Space

Arthur M. Mills, Jr.
Branching Plot Books (2012)
ISBN 9780986016608
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 14) for Reader Views (9/12)

“The Crawl Space” by Arthur M. Mills, Jr. is the story of three kids, Bruce, Charles, and Mark.  One day, when they are caught bullying another kid, the principal gives them a challenge.  They can either bring notes about their behavior to their parents or they can clean the crawl space.  The crawl space under the stage is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a young boy who died there when he was forced by bullies to enter the crawl space.  Bruce, being the hothead that he is, dooms them all to cleaning the crawl space.  Will the boys escape with their lives, or will the ghost of the crawl space claim three victims?  You decide. 

The book included choices at the end of most chapters that would allow you to determine the fate of the main characters.  The choices added a lot of flavor to the book that otherwise would not have been nearly as entertaining.  It can get rather irritating sometimes because you will die, a lot.  There is only one ending where you escape the crawl space alive.  All in all, the choices added more of an air of mystery as to what lurks in the school.  It can get rather tedious trying to find the one ending where you live.  Some of the deaths include dissolving in a pit of acid, being crushed by books, and getting strangled by a giant anaconda.

This book carries some anti-bully sentiment as the bullied ghost tries to kill the main characters in many different and colorful ways.  Even if you escape, the bullies will never be the same again.  Their souls will have been cleaned as well as the crawl space.

I would recommend “The Crawl Space” by Arthur M. Mills, Jr. to people who like choose-your-own-adventure style books.  To fully enjoy this book though, you have to be pretty patient as there are many more fatal endings then there are endings where you live.   It was a fairly quick read and I finished it the day I got it. 

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