WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED IF YOU’RE SCARED OF CREEPY LITTLE GIRLS
So, this was the 3rd book I have read this year (yay I’m finally making some progress) and it was the creepiest book I have ever read. Personally, I love horror and creepy things (even tho I think as I’ve got older I’m a bit more of a wuss). When I was younger and I used to love watching horror films and scaring myself with them. One of the scariest ones I can remember watching was The Ring. Its about a dead girl who will crawl out of her well, through your TV and kill you. And the same Japanese legend that The Ring was based on is also what The Girl From The Well was inspired by. So I kinda new that I was already going to love it. I didn’t know the legend before reading this book and it tells a few ghost stories and legends from Japanese traditions which I personally found SUPER interesting and new. If you’re like me and love some creepiness in your life keep reading to know more about this book.
TW: This book does contain mentions of rape, child abuse and murder. They are just mentions and the book does not go into graphic detail but if any of that offends or troubles you perhaps this book is not for you.
Okay so as well as being inspired by an old Japanese Legend half of the book is set in Japan, the other half being set in America. It follows the story of Tarquin AKA Tark and his cousin Callie. Tark lives with his Dad who is a high up business man and his mother is living in a psychiatric hospital as she is believed to be mentally ill and unstable. The whole book is narrated from the point of view of Okiku, a 300 year old Japanese girl who was murdered and thrown down a well, giving her a grotesque appearance. Okiku is a vengeful spirit who hunts down child murderers to set free the spirits of the children they have killed. This is another reason why I think I enjoyed this book, I love unsolved mysteries and missing persons cases. I think its important that people hear about these cases so that one day they can be solved and their families can have peace and justice can be done. This book really pushed that message for me (not sure if it was intentional but it did and I really liked that aspect).
I really enjoyed the characters in this book I think Okiku gives a unique perspective and narration of the story as she is not always directly involved but more just observes and watches. Also finding out more about her purpose and he story as time goes on is very gripping and even touching at times. Tark is your average teenage boy at first, he’s angsty and sarcastic but as times goes on and he really develops as character and becomes funnier and more enjoyable to read. Callie was the same, her character gets better the more they go through and they are more enjoyable to read and easier to connect with. You know how in YA books parents are just kinda there? Well thats Tarks dad in this book he is just kinda there throughout the whole thing. His mother on the other hand is a far more interesting character and she is involved heavily in the plot just not with Tark.
One of my favourite things about the book as a whole… NO ROMANCE!!! If you’ve followed my reviews for a while you may know that romance just really isn’t my thing. Especially in YA because its mostly insta love, abusive or just badly written. But this book has no romance at all since it mainly focuses on cousins. And guess what? It was STILL a good book regardless of romance. I do not need to read any more cardboard characters that are thrown in just to be the love interest and this book proves it!
The Girl From The Well is really as creepy and scary as you make it. Personally, I have an imagination that just runs away with me so I found this book creepy and very atmospheric. Other people might not get the same effect as I did.
I have very few problems with this book (hence the 4 star rating). The biggest problem was the writing for me. Sometime it jumps tenses when Okiku is observing and that annoyed me a little. The next problem is that when they were in Japan nearly everybody that was a big part in the story spoke perfect english. While not impossible I just found it a little improbable that everybody they needed to speak english spoke it perfectly. However, not all characters spoke english so its not like the author made everybody in Japan fluent. These problems aren’t too big and were easily over looked.
TLDR; YA Book without romance (yay), filled with Japanese legends and ghost stories, characters with interesting back stories and creepy af. What more could you want pick up this book, I highly recommend it!