Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 5, 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.
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.
A very high creep quotient
Are you afraid of the dark? Or scary movies features spook children and the like? Then you might want to read with the lights on because The Girl from the Well features that famous urban legend of the Japanese ghost girl from the well – yes exactly the one you are thinking of from that movie The Ring. Heck that movie is even mentioned here in the book. Not only do you have her, Okiku, as the main scary ghost in this book but there is another nasty main ghost plus many ghosts of murdered children. I was instantly liking the chills from the very first pages what with the descriptions of oozing, drippy flesh, gloopy sounds, gurgling and all that jazz. It was dark and creepy and filled with death – so ultimately perfect for a creeper like me. But did I stop reading once the lights got low – why yes, yes I did – I’m still a bit of a pansy.
A writing style that might turn readers off
This book is written in a very peculiar style. Its told from Okiku’s point of view. As she’s a ghost she doesn’t have much attachment to the physical world outside of the murderers she seeks to take vengence upon, so her attention flits from place to place. She also has a case of OCD or something because she is constantly counting things. You’ll get her descriptions of things with numbers thrown into the middle of sentences as she counts things off. She also for half of the book does not call the characters by their names but by the titles of what they are, or just descriptors. Like “the teacher’s assistant (which is Tark’s cousin Callie) or ‘the boy’ or ‘the man’ or ‘the smiling man’ etc. So it can make it a bit hard for you to attach to the other characters a bit. In addition to that sometimes a sentence will cut off in the middle and jump to the next line then immediately jump to the line after that
So I can see how this style could be a bit strange for people. But the way I read it was as if it was putting emphasis on those words or drawing them out. It added to the atmosphere of the book for me and only made me enjoy it more. However, for some I think the overall style of writing could possibly bug them. I recommend reading a sample online or in the bookstore before purchasing so you know whether or not it’s for you.
Though Okiku is a strong vengeful ghost exacting justice on the murderers of children she has for some reason developed this fascination with Tark, a young boy who has a nasty spirit bound inside of him. As she gets closer to Tark she finds a new meaning for her existence. It was definitely an interesting story to read but I do wish that there was more depth built behind Okiku’s story as well as that of Tark and his cousin Callie. It was a great story and one that I zipped through in under a day but there were definitely more creepy bones rather than meat holding it together. I would highly recommend The Girl from the Well for anyone that enjoys a good bloody ghost story as well as anyone that is interested in Japanese folklore.