Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 15, 2016
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.
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A hilarious and heartwrenching story about a bullied girl whose search for a new beginning takes a dire wrong turn.
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.
Karen Rivers has created a unique narrator with an authentic, sympathetic, sharp, funny voice who tells a story perfect for fans of Flora and Ulysses, Reign Rein, and Counting by 7s. The Girl in the Well Is Me will have readers laughing and crying and laugh-crying over the course of its physically and emotionally suspenseful, utterly believable events.
Karen Rivers has created a character who is lovable and easy to connect with right from the start. Kammie is intelligent, funny, and perceptive. Her story is difficult—I found myself raging against the unfairness she has faced in her life. Her ordeal in the well is harrowing (but age-appropriate; this is a middle grade novel, after all). You can’t help but feel the same emotions she’s feeling as the story progresses.
Wanting to fit in in her new town, Kammie makes friends with the popular girls at her new school (who are bullies of the most insidious type; they’re absolutely horrible!). While Kammie is in the well, she reminisces about her life. We find out why they had to move to Texas, why her dad isn’t in the picture, her anger and her heartbreak, why she wanted to join this particular group of girls knowing full well what they were like.
The details unfold slowly, yet the pacing is absolutely impeccable. The Girl in the Well is Me is as thoughtful as it is a page-turner.
My favorite quote:
“When I grow up, I’m going to be one of the gently present people.”