Book Review: The Girl from the Well

So I have two almost-finished reviews to post, but then I read this, and thought “what do schedules matter? This book is more important.” And it kind of is. Because it’s my first absolute favorite of the year, and I read it in a day and a half.

18509623The Girl from the Well

  • Author: RinChupeco
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Year: 2014
  • Shelved in: Teen fantasy and adventure
  • Genre vibe: Ghost stories, Japanese lore, horror, supernatural
  • At a glance: Murders happen, you watch everything through the eyes of a ghost. Everything is beautiful and everything hurts.

The Good Stuff

I COULD GO ON FOR AGES. I’m at the point right now where mostly, I have a lot of emotions about how good this was. But really, really seriously, this book is incredible.

One of my favorite things ever is a good ghost story. In that genre, probably my favorite thing, hands down, is stories written from the eyes of a ghost. This book is one of the best ways I’ve ever seen it done. It’s peppered with things like this

girl from the well

which give the narrator an incredible, incredible personality. She is was a person, and she is a character, to the reader. But she’s also a powerful, ridiculously dangerous spirit. She is something other, something not natural, something supernatural, and even the writing portrays that beautifully.

One of the advantages (or disadvantages, I suppose) of having a narrator like this is that you can have your cake and eat it too if you like the flow of first person, but need the information and scope of third person. Okiku being a spirit and all, she can give us some insight to what the rest of the characters are feeling and thinking, without having to switch POV.

Lots of people would call this head hopping.

That’s exactly what it is, and that’s why it’s awesome. It’s a spirit hopping her energy focus from one head to the next, giving the reader a definite set of eyes to look through for the whole book, but providing insight enough to get emotion out of you for every character.

Interesting/different writing styles are another one of my favorite things, and this book completely satisfies.

Another thing it does incredibly well is characters. This book is very much a story, like most ghost books. Something like that carries a certain kind of detached, floating atmosphere, which is often very fitting. The Girl from the Well fits this bill, but also takes things a step further, using interactions and Okiku’s “head hopping” to actually connect the reader pretty intimately to a lot of the characters. You get to know the entire main cast almost just like you would in any other kind of book.

Almost being the key word, I suppose. Girl from the Well stays true to the ghost story vibe and keeps you just a little distanced. You, the reader, are becoming friends with Tarquin and Callie through Okiku who, being a little bit less than living herself, can never quite precisely know them.

All of it fits together like puzzle pieces glued perfectly into place. This book is seamless.

The last major point I have is that even the storytelling is superb. There are hints of a mystery feel at some points, and some other points are absolutely terrifying, and others are soft and sweet. The events of it are all neatly strung together and work with everyone in such a great way.

I want to read it again already.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

Can I make a beautiful dress out of the essence of this book and wear it everywhere because it makes me so happy?

Overall

  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Recommended to: Fans of ghost stories, or people who can handle the scare and are interested in really cool writing and really awesome perspective.
  • Lasting impression: Cool water over your fingers and the gentle pressure of someone’s hand between your shoulders telling you it’s alright, while lightning breaks the sky overhead.
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