The Girl in the Well Is Me
by Karen Rivers
Newcomer Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into a club whose members have no intention of letting her join. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, growing increasingly claustrophobic, and waiting to be rescued—or possibly not.
As hours pass, the reality of Kammie’s predicament mixes with her memories of the highlights and lowlights of her life so far, including the reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to run out of oxygen, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.
Honestly, it was the title that really got me interested in this book. I thought this was kind of like a dystopia or steampunk or mystery with those titles that begin with The Girl (The Girl in Iron Corset or The Girl On the Train or The Girl Who Kicked My Butt…. okay, the last one doesn’t exist)
The Girl in the Well Is Me is mysterious indeed, but the topic dwells on a lot of matter including bullies, hallucinations and… zombies? Kammie fell down a well after three bullies (Sandy, Mandy & Kandy) told her to standing on top of it, believing that this was part of the girls’ initiation so she could join their clique.
Down the well, random thoughts filled her mind, like her father’s incarceration, her mom and brother’s struggles as they moved into a new town, her desire to be accepted by the community starting with the “Mean Girls”, all the while shouting for help as the air inside the well depletes. Hallucinations about goats and zombies filled her mind as well, and I, the reader, is left guessing whether she’d be rescued or be left to die.
This book is dark and imploring, two factors I never thought would jive in a children’s book. Countless times I asked, why aren’t there any rescuers trying to save little Kammie in the well? And countless times I wondered if I am reading about Kammie’s present dilemma or reading her thoughts about her past, or present company. I literally got lost in the book because of the tenses used. It was rather confusing reading what’s happening around Kammie and then suddenly we’re taken to another time in the past. I would have preferred it if there had been a prelude per chapter or something like that.
But overall, I loved the story. It made me cry a bit, made me deliriously angry with the three stupid mean girl and made me wish I was there to comfort the girl in the well. I loved her resilience, her positive demeanor, and most especially, her deeply profound and penetrating thoughts. If I were the one there in the well, I think I’d end up with tears in my eyes, face red and voice hoarse from shouting.
Karen Rivers writing was unique and promising. I think her novel offers so much more than what’s on the surface. Readers will be able to relate and connect with the character and that’s what really is important. One thing for sure, though. This book is clearly imaginative!
NOTE: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.