Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: The Girl in the Well is Me

Publish May 26, 2016

In The Girl in the Well is Me, a new book by Finding Ruby Starling middle grade author Karen Rivers, one girl’s pursuit of popularity goes horribly awry. Living in what eleven year-old Kammie calls, “Nowheresville, Texas,” all she wants to do is make her fresh start by having the ‘right’ kind of friends. Kandy, Mandy and Sandy are the perfect example of what Kammie is looking for – a set of girls with unshakeable confidence who have a place to belong. With this confidence comes a mean streak, however, and an initiation ritual Kammie is certain will guarantee her admission into the coveted group makes her fall down a well instead. Stuck with no way out, Kammie has plenty of time to reflect on the events leading up to her predicament. Alternating between Kammie’s painful reality of being stuck down a well and her memories of the past, Rivers frames Kammie’s unfortunate choices in the powerful context of her father going to jail for embezzlement. Struck to her core by the fact that her “parents are the biggest liars of all” with souls that “are tiny lumps of coal,” Kammie struggles with this new truth. As she examines these past events while stranded in the well, a complex and deeply affected character is revealed. Rivers has a way of hijacking a reader’s brain, making them feel as if they are experiencing the same things Kammie is such as, being in a low oxygen environment. Kammie’s narration starts to go sideways with hallucinations and the inability to tell what is and is not happening, pulling her readers along for the ride. Wrestling with difficult truths and the real danger of her death, Kammie’s experience falling down a well makes for a captivating read as she endeavours to find her own truth in the midst of all the lies.

The Girl in the Well is Me

Karen Rivers
Dancing Cat Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-770-864-641