Taking place almost entirely inside the well where Kammie Summers is stuck, The Girl in the Well Is Me by Karen Rivers is a great middle grade novel about bullying, family, friends, and being true to oneself.
11-year-old Kammie and her family moved to be closer to her dad, who is in prison. We don’t see this, but we learn about it after Kammie gets stuck in a well as part of an initiation gone wrong. Kammie falls deep into an abandoned well and is completely stuck, her arms pinned at her sides. The girls that got her into this mess take their sweet time to get her some help, and during that time we’re entirely in Kammie’s head, and she’s got a lot on her mind. We learn about the cool girls she was trying to be friends with, about Kammie and her family, and about her dad and how they’ve been coping without him.
I realize that description might sound kind of boring, but it’s not. Kammie is an extremely likeable character, she tells a great story, and she has a wonderful sense of humor. Even while being trapped in a well, this girl is funny, like when she starts questioning where Lassie is in times like these and ponders whether cats would ever help someone in this situation. (The answer is no, they would not.)
But it’s more than her sense of humor. We learn all about Kammie and how she longs to belong, how she misses her grandma, how she knew these girls were trouble, and through it all, her mind jumps all over the place, just like our mind does. She quickly moves from one thing to the next, all while trying to forget about snakes, rats, and bugs down in the disgusting well. She’s immensely relatable and delightful and this quick read was really entertaining, which is hard to do with a character stuck in one place the whole time. Nicely done.