14 December 2015
The Girl in the Well is Me
Rivers, Karen. The Girl in the Well is Me. Algonquin BFYR, 2015.
This book is an acquired taste, but is recommended for strong readers.
Kammie is down in a well. She was trying to get in with the popular girls at school and ended up falling in a well. The story takes place in Kammie's thoughts as she is stuck in the well throughout an entire day and night, including visions she has when she is low on oxygen. Eventually, the reader learns why Kammie is in that town, why she tried to become a popular kid, and how she got trapped in the well.
There are very few middle grade books featuring incarcerated parents, so I was pleased about that aspect of this book. And eventually it was good to hear how Kammie ended up in this town and how hard it was for her to leave her old life behind when her family moved and her mom started working at what sounds like an Amazon warehouse. And of course there's the bullying/mean girls aspect. But a lot of this story is just so odd. The reader is trapped in this well with Kammie and has only Kammie's distracted thoughts to listen to as the sky grows dark and Kammie slips further into the well.
I would have enjoyed this story more if it had started with Kammie in the well, then flashed back to her past and caught us up with what was going on, ending with her eventual rescue. The scattered bits of her past that had to be gleaned in between spiders crawling on her un-shoed foot and her oxygen-deprived hallucinations were just difficult to follow. This story would be even more difficult for a child to comprehend and follow. I won't be using this book in my book club, and I probably won't recommend it to any but the strongest of middle grade readers.
Bottom Line: Check it out from the library if you're curious, but don't purchase it.
Recommended for: middle grade
Red Flags: bullying, Kammie's father is in prison
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Zebra Forest, Okay for Now, Rain Reign
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.