ARC Review: The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers

the girl in the well is me by karen rivers

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.

Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, published March 15th, 2016, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

I hate to use the words “quiet resilience” or something equally as cliché and overused by professional book reviewers like “poignant and inspiring”, but this book has/is all of those things.

At first, I was surprised that they would make a middle-grade book as dark as this, and then I realized it wasn’t really about that. Sure, Kammie is stuck in a well, but what this book is really about is cruelty. That cruelty transforms Kammie and makes her into someone who is still marked by her experiences but is resilient because of them.

I’m sure at this juncture you know that Kammie is not seriously going to die in this well, which is why I can’t really say that this book is even about the well. It just lets Kammie reflect on her life at a time when she thinks she’s going to die, and the character growth in this novel is what truly impressed me. I loved getting to know Kammie’s character, and I sympathized with her in everything that happened.

Some of the side characters were cliché, but Rivers managed to fit a ton of plot into 224 pages, and that made it worth the read. This is quite possibly one of my favorite books of this year, and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it. Would highly recommend. 4 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 224


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