A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.
The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)
My Review: Oh, how I wish I had known about this book for Halloween. I knew it was creepy when, on my first night reading, I had to stop because I didn't want to have scary dreams about it. (Disclaimer: I don’t usually have scary dreams, but in my very pregnant state, I dream about all things weird and scary and this would have just been fodder for that awesome pregnancy side effect). So I stopped reading that first night, knowing full well that I was in for a wild and deliciously scary ride.
This book did not disappoint. First of all, it’s based on Japanese folklore (remember “The Ring?” Yeah, this is based on that same story), which just makes it uber cool cause there’s a whole culture to go behind this and make it more than just a story. Secondly, the writing is interesting. Some of it is written in almost Haiku-like stanzas (so if you’re going to read this one, don’t audio book it—read it). They add a lot to the story and the feel of the book. Thirdly, the story itself, which has obviously been embellished from its normal folklore, is super creepy. In a good way, too. Like the kind of creepy that’s artful enough to capture the feeling without all the gore and disgustingness that horror novels can turn into.
There were a few stylistic things, however, that I felt were a little confusing. The author would randomly switch from first person to third person, and obviously the first person was the girl from the well, but it was still confusing because there was no indication when it switched, it would just randomly be so. I’m not sure if this was not pulled off as smoothly as the author wanted, or if it was supposed to be edited out and just wasn’t. I could see that it would almost work, but it just wasn’t pulled off well enough.
As with all good books, Girl From the Well has an epic apex, and although I pretty much knew what was going on, there’s that point where everything is happening all at once and all of a sudden, the details get a little fuzzy and it all gets a confusing and muddled for a bit. I’m chalking this up to her being a young author, because it’s not like the book was ruined or anything. It was still really great with a really great ending.
This is a YA Fic book, but don’t let that fool you—this has got some fun scares and horror in it. In fact, I would say that I’m glad it was YA Fic because I can just imagine what the content would have been like had it been an adult book. If you’re into horror and folklore, this is definitely one you should check out.
My Rating: 4 stars
For the sensitive reader: This book is creepy and scary, and it does have violence in it, but it is comparable to others in its genre for YA Fic.