The Girl from the Well is a horror book told from the point of view of a ghost who avenges murdered children, Okiku. It’s the first book in a duology; the sequel is The Suffering.
I’m not usually a horror reader – few horror books are hyped and look promising to me. I’ve found some horror novellas that I loved, but I had never read a horror novel before, and The Girl from the Well looked interesting. It’s the only horror book I know that is told from the PoV of the ghost.
The beginning was disappointing. The first half of the novel is set in America, and I was kind of bored. There were some scenes that were probably supposed to be scary/creepy, but weren’t (for me). Nothing really worked until that scene with Yoko and the headless dolls.
Up to that point, I wasn’t invested in the story. I liked seeing everything from the ghost’s PoV (the lightbulb scene!), but I felt detached from the other characters. They felt stereotypical to me.
And then, Yoko and the headless dolls.
That’s when the book really started to get interesting. The ghost gets closer to the human characters, the book gets creepier, and the characters go to Japan – the change of scenery helped a lot, the school setting was boring – and the book as a whole got better. I liked how the author was inspired by Japanese traditions and myths.
I loved Okiku and the way her narration was written. She felt a bit like Juliette from Shatter Me, but she’s ancient and dangerous, and this time the obsession with counting things was actually relevant to the plot.
While Okiku had an interesting arc and while I liked pretty much everyone by the end, I don’t think the human characters were memorable. But they weren’t too stereotypical either (and there was no romance), so I’m not disappointed.
My rating: ★★★¼
Have you read The Girl from the Well? What is your favorite YA horror book?