The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers is a middle grade novel. Longing to be one of the popular girls in her new town, Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into their club. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, counting the hours, waiting to be rescued. As hours pass, Kammie’s real-life predicament mixes with memories of the best and worst moments of her life so far, including the awful reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to feel hungry and thirsty and light-headed, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.
The Girl in the Well is Me starts just after Kammie has fallen into a well due to a stunt the girls she desperately want to fit in with ask her to perform. As she sits stuck in the well, waiting for help and hoping the girls will either do something to get her out or find someone who can, she thinks about how she ended up there. She remembers her desperation to fit in, and how she should have tried to make real friends rather than trying to be accepted by the popular clique. She thinks about why her family moved for her home, why they are no longer rich, and what has separated them from her father. She thinks about some of the worst moments in her life, which all seem to be recent. She thinks about the good things, like the record store and the cat she likes best at home. Thoughts of suicide are included and is parental incarceration, so if those are anxiety triggers for you then you might want to skip the read. However, I think it is handled very well to make the reader feel less alone and better understood. I will admit to tears, and more than a few moments when I had to put the book down and take a moment. Thankfully, there was also a good amount of witty or otherwise amusing moments to balance the read out a little. A very good read, but not for a light read or an escape.