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. – Goodreads.com
There’s something about horror books that has always appealed to me. I read my first horror novel in third grade and soon after discovered Stephen King, which opened a new world for me. The best YA horror novel I’ve read in recent years has been Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and although this book didn’t rise to those heights, it was still one of the better horror novels I’ve read in a while.
I dare you to read this novel and not picture Okiku as the creepy, slithery young girl from the movie The Ring. Imagery is not a problem for this author. Some parts of this book are so vivid they will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make you feel like someone is standing behind you. Although Okiku is a murderer, you can’t help but understand why she does it and root for her when she rids the world of another criminal and frees the souls of the victims. I also enjoyed the Japanese folklore woven throughout the book.
Some readers have stated the writing style of this book was distracting, but I felt like it added to the story. Okiku is a ghost who kills people, a spirit who hasn’t moved on for over three hundred years. Her life doesn’t consist of unicorns and rainbows, so the writing isn’t warm and gushy, but instead reflects Okiku’s feelings of coldness and isolation.
On the other hand, Tark’s character isn’t as well-developed and I never felt like I knew him. As he is such a large part of the story, I expected to learn more about him throughout the book, but he remains a mystery for the most part. There are also numerous grammatical errors – singulars, plurals, and tenses – that I hope are corrected in the final printing.
Although this book isn’t without some negatives, it is still a cut above most of the YA horror novels I’ve read and I recommend it to any horror fans looking for an eerie, enjoyable read. If you have an overactive imagination, you probably shouldn’t read this alone.
This review was based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.