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The Girl from the Well

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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.

304 pages, ebook

First published August 5, 2014

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Rin Chupeco

21 books5,405 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,210 reviews
Profile Image for  Teodora .
304 reviews1,636 followers
March 23, 2023
4.45/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

If you are a tea drinker then this is your lucky day my friend because I have the perfect recommendation for you. This book goes so well with blood orange tea that I think I don't even want to consider this a well-put pun.
I am not joking though. Try some hot and sweet blood orange tea while reading this! It is a match.

Now, let’s say a proper hello to this cutie-pie of a horror book, shall we?


Don’t you love it when some scary-ass thing happens to you while reading a creepy book? Yeah, me neither.

Try to be home alone and to read The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco in the middle of the night, thinking that shit like vengeful ghosts and monsters do not exist. Then you hear a weird sound from outside your flat and puff! the power is cut off and you have a panic attack in the dark because you cannot see a thing. It is me, isn’t it? I am next, aren’t I, Okiku? Please, really, I didn’t do a thing wrong! That ugly mosquito deserved to die!!

This happened to me, but it was my neighbours' fault the power was cut off. I didn’t die though. Okiku spared my life.

Okiku is this story’s main spirit. She is the girl from the well. This Okiku is a Japanese legend. A vengeful spirit, she seeks her revenge on the ones who did her wrong, because the once simple servant in a Japanese castle, she is now a human-made monster.

" I am the fate that people fear to become."

Rin Chupeco inspires herself from this legend of Banchō Sarayashiki and manages to twist and turn her words and plots and make up a great story. And the great part is that there are actually plenty of Japanese folkloric legends in this book! (more about that you will find here)

Giving the fact that a part of the action is going to take place in Japan, the world constructed by Chupeco is fairly accurate. Even though I’ve seen Japan only in pictures, her descriptions are as much accurate as any disoriented image I’d have in my own mind. And giving the fact that this decor is so well-described, the myths and symbols and legends brought into action fit in like a glove.

"But there are many things, I have found, that defy nature."

This book's characters are also very nicely constructed. Tark and Callie are cousins. Their connection is so interesting and so beautiful that you cannot but to fall in love with them both. Tarquin is a really weird boy who has been seeing ghosts all of his life. Callie is this type of straight-A student who enjoys doing extracurricular work and study, but as soon as she gets tangled in her cousin’s mysteriously dangerous life, everything seems to rearrange in Callie’s life. They become a team. Like the Japanese ghostbusters or something.

The thing that I really love about the characters of this book is that the good ones instantly capture your heart and the bad ones immediately make you want to punch them in the face. It is a very interesting mixture.

To sum up, read this book! It has:
- My absolute admiration;
- Ghost stories;
- Terrifying murders;
- Japanese culture;
- Japanese words (in case anyone wants to brush up);
- A ghostbuster dream team.

So, there you go. If you don’t want to upset Okiku, please read this story. You’re going to both love it and learn how to sleep with a tiny light on for a couple of days!

"But for a long, long time, I was a great and terrible thing."

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020

Seven of my favorite Bookish Villains in one BookTube Video!
The Written Review

“I am where dead children go.”
Just because she's dead, doesn't mean she doesn't have a life.

Okiku is one of Japan's most famous vengeful spirits - she's the Girl from the Well, star of many horror stories and horror movies.
Few stories start with death. Often, it starts with grief.
She was killed when the man who she loved betrayed her in the worst way possible...And for a while, she was just as bad as the movies portrayed her.

She killed, often, without mercy or rhyme or reason.

But not anymore.

In the 300 or so years since she's died, she's picked up a hobby.

She's still a murderous ghost, but now she has the perfect target.

Okiku can see other spirits. And when children are murdered, their spirits are trapped and stuck to their killers.

And Okiku decided to free those trapped spirits, by force.

Okiku drifts through life, from one murder to the next, and it's really not that bad of an existence.
It is not in my nature to be interested in the living.

But there are many things, I have found, that defy nature.
Until she drifts past a mysterious boy with heavy, intricate and shifting tattoos.

His name is Tark, and there's something inside him, dying to get out.

Whew Nelly, I loved this one.

I am an absolute sucker for any book narrated by a monster - and this one was no exception.

Rin Chupeco is a genius. An amazing, wonderful and perfect genius.

Okiku had a fantastic, otherworldly voice that really drove the story.

Every time she would casually mention her ghostliness (i.e. traveling across the ceiling upside down with a broken neck, or pulling a child rapist into a corner), it brought shivers.

There were so many casually creepy elements, which due to the narrator were magnified tenfold, that I listened to this book half in terror most of the time.

I really loved the way Okiku slowly was brought out of her shell and became humanized the more that she interacted with Tark.

I did think that while Okiku and Tark were wonderfully done, Callie (Tark's older cousin) did seem a bit 2D. I wish she was given a little more oomph to her personality - but honestly, other than that, this book was perfect.

And the best part?

There's a Book 2!!

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August 22, 2014
“I say it is an onryuu, yet I feel no hate from her."

“An onryuu with a conscience, kami help us."
Shimatta! (That means shit in Japanese). God help us, this is supposed to be our terrifying heroine? Kuso yaro! Sou desu ne?! Ramen! *insert random-ass Japanese word here for authenticity* Sukiyaki! Hentai! Bukkakke! Hello Kitty!

This book will be scary, they said. A cross between Dexter and The Ring, they said. Not fucking likely.

This was how scary the book was for me.

Trust me, I'm just as disappointed as anyone. This book was incredibly dull. Sure, it features a scary girl with long hair ripped straight out of The Ring and The Grudge. Doesn't matter. It doesn't change the fact that this was a boring ass book with a main character who is completely unnecessary because she doesn't do a single fucking thing but obseeeeeeeeeeeerve. Whooooooooo. I'm gonna shit my pants. Not.

The book is dull, the plot is convenient, and ever so contrived. Ever so convenient. You're in Japan (sometimes). All the Japanese characters speak English, hoo-fucking-ray. Even the fucking temple miko, or shrine maiden, are college-educated and English-speaking. The main character is boring as fuck. The narrative style drove me nuts. The other main characters are dull as hell. Casper, the Friendly Ghost probably scared me more.

For a far superior YA horror novel, go read the most excellent Anna Dressed in Blood. Hell, take 2 hours of your time, go watch Ringu. Go watch the American version of The Ring. It will be two hours better spent than reading this book.

There is a ghost. Her name is Okiku. She is 300 years old. Okiku is supposed to haunt people. She is supposed to be a ghostly version of Dexter, wreaking vengeance upon wrongdoers. She does that roughly twice in the entire fucking book.
You know what she does most in this book? She watches.

- The dead children watch me as I watch him drive away.

- I watch him.

- I watch as the bully pushes him against a bathroom door.

- Some days I watch Callie. I follow her as she attends lectures, plays, tours.

- I watch the miko. There is great strength in her.

She follows.

- I follow them into the car, where there is very little conversation.

- I follow him as he wanders the busy streets, leafing through magazines in quiet cafés, peering into store windows.

There is a damaged, tattooed young man named Tark who is damaged. Have I mentioned that he is damaged? He is damaged. He is hurt. Deeply wounded inside, of course.


And then there's his lovely 18-year old cousin, Callie. The most ponderous, caring, nondescript side character in the entire world. She shows that she's motherly. She is caring. She is gentle. Did I mention that she's caring? She cares a lot, maaaaaan. It's because her poor little cousin Tark is so damaged.

For some inexplicable fucking reason, Okiku chooses to (very benevolently haunt Tark and Callie. Did I say haunt? I mean observe. And watch. And smile. Cause Okiku doesn't do much more than that.

They go to Japan. They do Japanese things like eat ramen and visit Shinto shrines and learn about local ghost stories! They get scared. I fell asleep. The end.

This book didn't do a damn thing for me. Here is why.

1. The prose and the switching of narrative POVs. First person switch to 3rd person omniscient in one paragraph?! Without warning? Sure, why not. Why the fuck not. This book is supposed to scare me. I don't want none of your attempts of poetic prose and experimental writing.

There is a time and a place for strange, experimental stream-of-consciousness prose, more specifically, in the 7th level of hell and in Tahereh Mafi's novels. I don't fucking want it in my horror novel. I want to be scared. I don't fucking want your e.e. cummings shit when you're trying to fucking frighten me.


Some examples. Direct screenshots, because you can't get the full terrible effects unless you see it for yourself.

And in homage of the writing, here's my little ode to it.

Please. Please godpleaseplease please.


It stop.

Why won't you make it stopstopstopstopstopSTOPSTOP.


And as for the switching of POVs, my god. We alternately read things narrated by the main character as "I." I this. I that.
And then for no fucking warning, it switches to omniscient. "The girl." "The woman." "The boy."

Pick one POV. Stick to it, for fuck's sakes.

2. The main character is about as frightening as my bunny statue. And she is roughly just as active. I'm seriously. The fucking scary LADY IN WHITE WITH HAIR ALL OVER HER FACE does nothing more than observe.
And point.

And smile.

And be shy.

Fuck me.

She's supposed to be a cross "between Dexter and The Ring. No. She is not Sadako. Not even close. The book could have been narrated from one omniscient point of view, because the main character in this book is that useless. She is a narrator, not a ghost.

She does nothing.

Her narration is part internal monologue, part impartial observation, and completely annoying because this batshit girl has a tendency to obsess with numbers. She counts everything.

(Four girls, five, six.)
They are blondes and redheads and brunettes. They are blue-eyed and dark-eyed and brown-eyed and green-eyed. They are pale and freckled, and dark and brown. They are six years old and eight years old and twelve years old and fifteen years old.
(Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.)
I'm sure that's meant to portray her insanity. It doesn't work. It feels forced. It gives off a sense of pretension. It annoys more than it is effective.

Again, an homage to the style of the book.

Ten. Seventy one. Ninety four. FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE.


Hundred instances.


3. The boy.
“I’m from Texas,” the boy lies. “Home to beloved exports like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, mad cow disease, and bullets. I collect mannequin legs and spider bites. A race of super-ferrets live inside my hair. They hate water so I shower with an umbrella. I eat bugs because I’m allergic to fruit. I wash my hands in the toilet because sinks are too mainstream. Anything else you want to know about me?”
Tarquin, "Tark." I'm supposed to like this pretentious little piece of shit?

He's 15. He's annnnnnnnnnngsty. He is so different, wah wah wah. He makes damned sure that everyone knows it too. Sure, I'm supposed to feel sorry for him. After all, his mom tried to kill him. But you know what, the fact is that he's so fucking annoying that I want to kill him myself. So there goes the whole sympathy bit. Nope. Do not want.

4. The characters

Sure, Okiku has an excuse for being fucking dull, she's dead. But what about the rest of the living? They're cardboard. A mannequin has more personality than Carly and Tark. They do things. That's it. They never grow. They get frightened, but not too much. They suffer sometimes, but one feels nothing for them. They go through a ghost story, without ever feeling like they are any more alive than the ghost which they see.

Dull. Dry. The humans in this book have as much personality as a desiccated corpse, and that corpse is probably more interesting to observe as it rots.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,802 followers
November 18, 2022
When the lovely hosts of the Dragons & Tea Book Club announced that The Girl From the Well was going to be our October 2019 group pick, I was genuinely excited.

A YA horror novel that I had never heard of? I was intrigued.

Then I discovered people comparing its vibe to one of my favorite Horror movies of the early 2000s, The Grudge, and I was beyond sold!

I am so happy to report that I did truly enjoy this. I could not put it down once I started.

I love this type of Horror. It's smart, visceral, with great characters and atmosphere.

One of the biggest surprises of this book was the perspective from which it is told; a 300-year old vengeful spirit is our narrator.

She becomes tied to our protagonist, a troubled boy named Tark, and we follow along with them as she tries to protect him.

The plot was very engaging with a lot of influences from Japanese culture, which I found so interesting.

The cultural perspectives in regards to spirits, the afterlife and all things related to those topics, were really well done. I seriously would consider reading this again because I am sure I missed a ton of the finer details.

During the course of the story our characters travel from suburban-America to Japan. It is there that the creepiness kicks up a notch.

We have ancient temples, local folklore and legends, crazy ass doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms.

This story is very graphic and definitely doesn't shy away from violence on page. Some of the scenes were hard to read.

The narrators detachment in the midst of violence, pain and suffering was truly unsettling. Well done on Chupeco's part. That has to be hard to write consistently from that perspective.

I was really impressed with this overall. It wasn't perfect. There were some points in the narrative that were a tad confusing, or even repetitive, but overall, a very solid horror story.

I definitely plan to pick up more books from this author in the future!
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews332 followers
May 7, 2022
Well, this book was almost like The Ring. Just as creepy and terrifying. My tour of demons keeps on keeping for some reason. However, this book wanted to throw in dolls as well, which is my 2nd fear, right up there with clowns. Recommend! Though, you might need to burn some sage while reading this. Maybe an exorcism or two on standby.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
July 4, 2018
The thing that stands out about The Girl From the Well is the omnipotent, out-of-the-story narrator. Well, to be quite fair, Okiku isn't totally out of the story - she's actually a ghost who murders child rapists and abusers. And she is fucking awesome. Not only is she the morally grey girl villain we all needed, but she's also vividly developed and has a brilliant character arc.

This book is not outright terrifying, it's more just... unsettling. It's really creepy and atmospheric, with some good suspense. The first chapter pulls you in. Some readers might not like the book just because it's not very fast-paced, especially for a thriller. But I think the slow-burn story is exactly what works about this book. The terror just builds and builds and builds until you cannot stand the wait - it's so deeply tense.

My main complaint would be about the other two main characters. To be quite honest, I found Tark and Callie flat compared to Okiku. Tark is built up to be some kind of angsty teenage boy, but man, he just comes off sort of pathetic? It just all felt somewhat forced, rather than having the emotional realness of book one.

VERDICT: A creative, atmospheric story with a fantastically developed murderous ghost as the protagonist? If that sounds great to you, it is definitely worth the read.
Profile Image for Isa Lavinia.
600 reviews300 followers
January 1, 2015

ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley

TW: murder, mentions of rape

I don't own a TV.
Yeah, I know you're expecting me to go down the usual pretentious, "I don't own a TV, because books are the superior form of blah blah blah" but the truth is I don't own one because I am so crazy that after I watched The Ring I had to get rid of my TV.
There will be NO creepy kids climbing out of a well and into my house!

So when I got approved for this ARC I went, "Oh no, Isa. What have you done?"

I decided to be a big girl and just read it. Here's how The Girl From the Well starts:
"I am where dead children go."

above: an accurate representation of my reaction

I bravely read on and it gets worse. And by worse, I mean better, creepier, scarier, and I couldn't phone my mum because it was past 1 a.m., even though after every paragraph I was whispering, "I want my mother."

But onto the plot!

This is a book inspired by the Japanese ghost story Banchō Sarayashiki.
Okiku, in her own words, "an unavenged spirit, a nothing-more", hunts down murderers of children.

The story starts with one such "man" (if we can even call him that), living unconcerned by the weight of the dead he carries. Literally. The girl he murdered, bloated and decaying, has her "thin bony arms clasped about his neck, (...) her legs balanced against the small of his back."

He cannot see the girl he murdered, nor can he see the dead girl who has come for him that night. But both girls can see each other and, in silent understanding, they both know that the man will soon see no one ever again.

Okiku exists in a dreamless, wandering state, she observes life, she counts things. Just as she has for hundreds of years...
Until a tattooed boy crosses her path. A boy with something "strange and malevolent hiding inside him".

Though Okiku is mostly a non-entity, it was very easy to sympathise with her.
Tarquin/Tark (what an unfortunate name, hopefully there is no Lucretia around) was a bit slower to become likable but, once everything he went through is known, you can't help but feel for him.
Tark's cousin, Callie, was the one looking for all the answers to the mystery that haunts her family, she was very easy to like.
My favourite character, however, has to be Sandra, the little girl who could see the spirits, and was probably creepier than all of them put together...

There is an abundance of creepy children in this book, both dead and living - personally that's the horror element that gets to me the most. Followed by creepy dolls - which also make an appearance - and unrestful spirits trailing the living.
There are many common horror elements in this book: evil spirits, insane asylums, creepy dolls, murderers, creepy children - but the writing is so skilful none of these read as clichés.

The writing is beautiful. Descriptive in a poetic way, which just makes everything even creepier. It achieves the perfect balance of saying just enough by meandering through a series of highly sensorial observations, and then leaving terrible things implied and unsaid, which is extremely unsettling and the best approach when it comes to this genre.

I think this is Rin Chupeco's first book? If so... I don't even know how to properly praise her, but she has to be one of the most talented writers to be published recently, and I wish her all the success in the world.

Seriously, anyone who follows my reviews knows I'm tremendously difficult to please, but Chupeco's writing - be it characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot - is amazing.
May this book be the first of many more!

I'd also like to personally blame Rin Chupeco for making sure I'll never set foot in my attic again.
Profile Image for Bharath.
594 reviews448 followers
February 5, 2023
This book is a genre deviation for me and it is a welcome break. This book has a decent story told with the background of a Japanese legend.

Okiku was brutally murdered over 300 years ago and dumped in a well in Japan. I learnt that there are some variants of the legend, and Banchō Sarayashiki (The Dish Mansion at Banchō) is a well known ghost story. It was interesting to read about the legend. The book also does a decent job of adequately abstracting the legend, a little before halfway in the book. In this story, Okiku (also the narrator) hunts down killers of children, thereby freeing the childrens’ souls who otherwise would be in a state of torment. The vengeful actions happen now in the US. In town is an unusual teenager Tark, who can sense and see Okiku, and is unsure initially on what to make of it. Tark has a set of unusual tattoos over his body, and his mother had got this done. His mother has been declared insane and is in a sanatorium. At times it has appeared that she wishes her own son harm. There is also Tark’s cousin Callie who supports him, and is the only one who understands what Tark sees. The action past halfway shifts to Japan with Tark, his dad and Callie heading there, and many secrets are uncovered.

This book has its share of graphic descriptions, as expected. Nevertheless, I did not find it scary and it did not feel too unlike reading crime - with some paranormal thrown in. I liked the characters of Okiku, Tark and Callie – all with their own distinct personalities. The legend was woven into the story pretty well. The way this book ended, I am not surprised that there is a sequel - ‘The Suffering’.

My rating: 3.75 / 5.

The Audible narration by Andi Arndt was very good.
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,115 followers
August 18, 2014
Warning: Scary GIFS galore!

I posted some Asian Film Recommendations as an extra to posting this review on my blog. Check it out here and go marathon some scary movies!

Since I was young, I've always loved Asian horror films. I'm a fan of horror in general (who agrees with me that getting goosebumps is AWESOME?! No? No...? Okay...), but there's a certain quality in the Asian counterparts that I don't really see in Western works. For one, they incorporate their mythology in their films and literature, and these are deep, complex, and old folklore that are very ancient to the point that they sound fucking creepy and mysterious. Second, they usually concern the supernatural, so combine a violent death and an urban legend with some mythology to the mix and you pretty much have something that will set your fears to the edge. Result? Something that's bloody scary and psychologically thrilling.

That was why I wanted to read this so much - for my love of Asian horror, and the fact that it highlights a bit of Japanese folklore and ancient traditions. It's not something that you encounter every day in the Young Adult market, and I was interested in seeing how it would turn out. And besides, a Japanese ghost as a narrator? Who wouldn't want to read something like that? Turn the lights off, give me my blankets, let the winds howl in the dead of the night - I'm reading that shit.

First of all, Okiku. She rocks my socks. I love her and her narration so much. Is it weird that I totally want to be friends with this ghost, despite her dark and bloody history and killing streak? Her narration was really excellent - she talks in a formal way, doesn't shortcut words (It's -> it is; you're -> you are; I'm -> I am), and uses deep words you don't really see much in a conversation. It made a lot of sense because one, she is a ghost; and two, she is three centuries old (if she used "swag" or "yolo" in there, I would have thrown the book to a wall. Haha!). It was insane how her formal way of talking added to the gritty and edgy atmosphere, making me feel like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book.
And all around me the air



And as surprising as this may sound, her perspective gave this book a lot of philosophical value. As Okiku sees more things unfold, she gets her own realizations along the way, too - about life, and death, and everything in between. To explore these concepts using the ghost's mind and with her preconceived notions brought about by her own experiences when she was still alive made it all the more thought-provoking. Despite being of the supernatural, you can't help but like her all the same as she is not completely a bad ghost. She has a mission, something she decided to pursue due to her violent past.Plus, she gurgles. And moans. And can stand on ceilings. And bloats her victims. Among other things. Are you scared yet?

I can definitely say that there are a lot of creepy scenes here that would surely satisfy any horror fan. When shit hits the fan and the ghosts strike, it will make you want to shield and turn your eyes away. I mean, come on! Hands hugging you from behind, hands that slither from a dark closet?! Decapitated birds crashing into windows?! Darkness and then a disfigured body under the bed?! What the bloody fuck?! BUT GIVE ME MORE PLZ!

The secondary characters, mainly Tarquin and Cassie, were pretty good as well! I like them a lot despite an underwhelming amount of backstory, and I looked forward to their scenes and their eventual roles as catalysts to Okiku's character evolution. Aside from Okiku, Tark was probably my favorite. He had a curse put upon him, but he's not the self-pity type who whines about it everywhere he goes. He even has a fair amount of defeatedness surrounding him to the point he doesn't want to bother people about his condition so he keeps to himself. I guess that's one of the reasons why he attracted Okiku's ghost.

And did I mention he can be funny? This is what he says to Callie in a letter when he mentions seeing a Japanese vending machine selling used panties (the fuck?! I googled this... and it actually exists!):

So I almost tried this underwear machine out - just to, you know, see if it actually works - but my acute sense of shame finally won out. There are so many other fun ways to dishonor the family name that buying girls' underwear shouldn't be one of them.

Or this...

Just the other day, I found a salon that specializes in giving girls crooked teeth. And this is considered adorable, if, uh, Japanese girls who look like vampires needing braces are supposed to turn men on. Also, there's a holistic care spa specializing in dogs. I think in my next life I'd like to come back as some rich Japanese lady's labradoodle and enjoy all these spoils. Kinda ironic that most hot spring resorts allow for dogs, but not for people with tattoos. So I guess in this current Japanese social hierarchy, we've got Japanese > pets > me.

Or this?

"Remember Kagura mentioning you would make a fine onmyouji if you'd lived in ancient Japan?"

"I looked that up. I'm not so sure I'd do well with the calendar-making and the astrology part of the job, though. Can you imagine me coming up with horoscopes for the emperor? 'Today shall be your lucky day, so long as you don't behead your favorite onmyouji for no reason. Girls might like you better if you had a different face, but remember that patience is a heavenly virtue. Also, don't forget about the non-beheading thing.'"

Oh, Tark. You're adorable.

You know what's even more amazing? The fact that this is a supernatural, psychological, horror read, and yet it ends in such a beautiful, albeit bittersweet, note. The ending was really, really beautiful and enlightening that it made me teary-eyed. It subtly tackled the concept of sacrificing yourself and your "peace" just so you could continue protecting someone who made you a better individual. Bravo, Ms Chupeco! Bravo!


This was a really good read for me. It had its creepy moments, it had its enlightening moments, and its fair share of funny quotes and scenes that ultimately let to a well-balanced read. So, can we get a horror read with Filipino mythology next? Please, please, please with cherries on top and with chocolate all around it?
Profile Image for ☠Kayla☠.
219 reviews78 followers
January 22, 2020
I don't even know where to start with this one. I guess first I'll say that I really love how the copy of this book that I have gave a very very vague synopsis so going into it I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was the story was about a ghost by the name or Okiku who died 300 year ago who wanders the world seeking out vengeance of those who take lives of children, shes has no remorse for the wicked until she meets Tark. That was all I knew.
This book was TERRIFYING, I wasn't expecting it at all and I loved every minute of it. It is definitely not for the faint of heart as it has a lot of really horrific scenes and some disturbing and graphic content. But if you are a thrill seeker and lover of all things horror this book is definitely for you. I absolutely love how Rin Chupeco incorporates Japanese culture in the story and makes the actual Japanese legend of the ghost, Okiku, as accurate as possible.
Fun fact: the character of Samara from The Ring movies is actually based off the legend of Okiku.
Profile Image for Chantal.
468 reviews230 followers
July 3, 2022
Re-publication: 05 July 2022

Not sure why I waited so long to read this. It was really good and brings loads of creepy factors. I kept looking at the ceiling to see if something was watching me! I really liked the change in POV's as it gave a good look from all sides. Really liked this one and I cant wait to read the second book.

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire Publications for the opportunity to read this ARC.
500 reviews2,413 followers
August 17, 2014

3.5 stars

Let's get one fact straight: I am a huge wuss. I hide behind pillows during horror movies and force people to come with me when I walk into dark rooms. I am freaking scared of dolls. Those Barbies I collected as a kid? I want to throw them all out the window. But after reading my first horror book, Anna Dressed in Blood, I thought I wasn't going to be as scared. Well, ha ha to myself.

That was my reaction throughout the book. I was happily enticed by all the mythology and Japanese history, and then... BAM! Something creepy comes along and just makes me have a mini heart attack.

So non-horror peeps, step aside. This book might make you pee in your pants.

The first thing I need to warn you about, horror aside, is that Chupeco's writing isn't average. It isn't the "lyrical" or "poetic" writing that some authors go for. This one is... edgier. It would definitely depend on the reader's preferences, but personally, I thought Chupeco's writing added to the overall creep-factor of the book. And it's both in third and first person, if I remember correctly.

“Even then I found the word fitting, soothing.
Fire flies.
Fire, fly.”

Creepy, no? That snippet gives me the chills. Am I the only one picturing a Japanese ghost saying that with a wicked smile?

I didn't know a lot about Japanese horror stories going into this book, and I absolutely loved learning about them and possibly scarring myself for life. The Girl from the Well is the story of a ghost and a boy. Thinking of a love story? Well then you're absolutely wrong. There is nothing lovely and endearing about this story. It's all blood, gore and shocking revelations.

All of the scenes were so bloody and graphic. Horrific. I mean, apparently murder victims are tied to their murderers until Okiku (our ghost) sets them free through a very traumatizing process. This ghost hangs on the ceiling making gurgling sounds, for crying out loud. Okiku is such a strong and vengeful girl, but she does have good intentions most of the time.

Tark is our boy. I'll admit, most of the time he came off as immature to me (nothing he did was immature, per se, but his voice was just a bit off). I found it hard to like him at first, but I guess I loosened up by the end and was completely okay with him. He's definitely in a rough situation, and it was nice to see how he tried to stay strong through it.

I do have the tiniest complaint about the plot, though. It seemed like the whole thing with Tark was just too extravagant. I did like the creepy doll ceremonies (well, I didn't like them, but they creeped me out, so that's good) and all the rituals they performed, but the actual problem was really weird for me.

*minor spoiler*

Scared of possible favorite characters getting killed off? Well, Chupeco does this in a way that's like ripping a band aid off quickly and with force. One minute they're helping out, and in the next... bye bye.

*end minor spoiler*

Anyway, if you're feeling brave and would like to try out a very well-written and well-crafted horror story, be sure to give this one a shot. And leave the lights on.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
October 1, 2020

We are the fates that people fear to become. We are what happens to good persons and to bad persons and to everyone in between. Murdered deads live in storms without season, in time without flux. We do not go because people do not let us go.

I frankly haven’t heard of this book before, or I genuinely just don’t remember it, until, I read an article about it the other month. Read it here.

I usually shy away from anything horror related, mainly because I’m a complete wuss. Even though, I’ve seen handful of popular Japanese and Filipino thriller films before. Rest assured, I watched them through my fingers or with a pillow barricading half my face. You don’t make a girl with a wild imagination watch gory movies. You just don’t. It usually do not end well for the spirits and I.

Inspired by the well-known Japanese ghost story “Bancho Sarayashiki”, The Girl from the Well follows the story of Okiku. A dead girl who died in the well, three hundred years ago. A vengeful ghost who haunts predatory men.

Then she saw the boy with a peculiar tattoos, Tarquin. Okiku could not help but to find herself, unexpectedly drawn to him and his world and to the darkness that follows him around. She formed an attachment and protectiveness to him. Soon after, Tark have to confront the shadow that follows him. They have to go in Japan. There, Okiku would be force to revisit her  own demons.

The Girl from the Well is not what I expected it to be and that is obviously not a bad thing. I was highly anticipating, I will pee my pants, but instead I scored a flowery and lyrical narration. While horror might not be my cup of tea, these things is totally are. It is lovely and delicious. Describing this book as such, totally say so much about my character.

Okiku, the narrator of the book have a penchant for counting things. I am ferociously captivated by that.  I love seeing characters with little quirks and habits seamlessly woven to the plot. Aside from that, she is an engaging story teller.

“Men, right? Bastards, no matter the time or place.”

She is vindictive, have a thirst to make offenders pay for their inhuman transgression.

I release her soul outside the Stained Shirt Man’s apartment. By then she is nothing more than a glowing ball of fire cradled against my withered form. I close my eyes, trying to absorb every bit of warmth I can take from her—to bring out and remember during other colder nights—before lifting my hands to the sky. Unbidden, she rises up, floating briefly above me as if granting benediction, before she continues to soar higher and higher like an autumn balloon, until she becomes another speck of cloud, another trick of the light.


But she also have a heart. She loves freeing all those children, who are bound to their killers so they can move on from their next life.

Meet Tarquin, the half Japanese main character of the story. All his life, he’s been haunted of things, he can’t control, his strange tattoos he always try to cover up. The scandals that surrounded him from his previous schools. The history of her mother, the fact that she attempted to strangled him countless of times. The old lady who follows him around.

I’ve always struggled connecting with male characters. I supposed, most cases it’s the way how they are written. But unlike his YA counterparts, I couldn’t connect with, Tarquin resonates with me. He deals with his problem. He is open-minded, to things that are unknown. He could also be funny and adorable.

Just the other day, I found a salon that specializes in giving girls crooked teeth. And this is considered adorable, if, uh, Japanese girls who look like vampires needing braces are supposed to turn men on. Also, there's a holistic care spa specializing in dogs. I think in my next life I'd like to come back as some rich Japanese lady's labradoodle and enjoy all these spoils. Kinda ironic that most hot spring resorts allow for dogs, but not for people with tattoos. So I guess in this current Japanese social hierarchy, we've got Japanese > pets > me.

Plot wise, its apparent Chupeco did a fine research. The Japanese culture is much embedded to the story. There is explanation, for those who are unfamiliar with certain phrases. It is well written. I love how she writes her words. While I couldn’t vouch for the Japanese representation. I could guarantee, The Girl from the Well is a remarkable debut.

I’m so excited to read more of Rin Chupeco’s books. It’s always nice to see, a fellow Filipino doing an admirable work.

Review also posted at Hollywood News Source.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,466 reviews9,624 followers
May 21, 2015
I would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks for having this book available to read now.

The Grudge meets, The Ring, meets an awesome book! This book is creepy but in a good way. I loved it!

The girl from the well is named Okiku and she was killed years ago. Her ghost stayed around to kill people that murder children. She's really creepy at first, well she's creepy all along, but she's good! She certainly does some creepy things and makes some creepy noises. I would love to see this as a movie!!

She meets a boy named Tark on one of her watches. She is keeping an eye on her next man to take out that has killed many kids. This man is also watching Tark. The murderers she picks kills all different ages of children. Tark is fifteen so he's a little older. Okiku notices something different about Tark, there seems to be a dark entity surrounding him.

So Tark and his dad just moved into the neighborhood. They move around because things seem to happen where ever Tark ends up. Tarks cousin Callie is a teachers aide at the new school he is enrolled in and she's really cool.

There seems to be a lot of children and people in the book that can see ghosts. I just thought I would mention that, some of the people and kids are a little freaky!

Tarks mom is in a mental institution but she's not really crazy. Just that kind of crazy where you can see evil spirits and every one else thinks your a nut ball!

Anyway, all kinds of bad things go down and Tark, his dad and Callie have to travel to Japan to take care of some business. I'm not giving away any spoilers. I so wish I could :)

All I know is this book is creepy and Okiku, although creepy as all get out, is a really good spirit. I look forward to reading more about her!

Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
509 reviews366 followers
September 25, 2019
“It is not in my nature to be interested in the living.

I read this as one of my books during October because I was reading nothing but spooky stories. I thought this looked pretty cool but it didn't live up to its full potential for me.

The Girl from the Well started off really great. This book has a surprising narrator - a young girl named Okiku, who just happens to be dead. She also happens to be a spirit that gets revenge on child murderers - I can get behind that! The atmosphere around her is quite creepy and you have to figure out what is real and what isn't. Yes folks, we have an unreliable narrator. This will be the point where a bunch of people shake their heads and say, "no way in hell am I reading an unreliable narrator." I actually thought it made the story a little more interesting. I didn't find it confusing but there were certainly lots of questions unanswered.

The protagonist of the book is Tark, he's a 15 year old boy who has some weird shit happening to him and his loyal cousin, Callie is along for the ride. They are pretty good characters and I liked that their was no romance with any of the characters. We don't see that often enough. I also love that the location wasn't just North America - nope! We get to go to Japan. That was a welcome addition.

Is this book scary? I don't really know how to answer that. I didn't find it scary but it certainly has the potential to freak some people out I'd say. If you aren't used to scary stories or horror films than this might be quite disturbing. For the average horror fan, this book will be tame. The Girl from the Well obviously was very inspired by The Ring and The Grudge This book is practically a love letter to those movies and while I loved the films, the book didn't work that well for me.

I mentioned I liked the characters and I did. I actually LOVED the Okiku's presence and story line. She was by far the most interesting part of it for me. The murdered children were also quite spine -tingling, yes spine-tingling! I don't get to use that phase often! Let me be!! I have zero complaints about Okiku. I don't even have any real complaints about Tark or Callie either. I also liked Tark's weird mother and the stuff surrounding her. The problem is it started really creepy and strong and then dragged all through the middle for me. I had to push like crazy to be kept mildly interesting. It also started turning into an Exorcism basically and that just isn't really my thing when it comes to horror. There wasn't anything in particular that made me lose interest - it just wasn't the right story for me.

I'm still giving this book three stars because it was pretty good writing and the characters were strong. The relationship between Okiku and Tark was also kind of special and one of the things I liked watching evolve a lot. I would still recommend this book at the end of the day and think a lot of people would enjoy it.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
965 reviews741 followers
April 22, 2020
"It is only for few seconds. But when you have resigned yourself to an eternity filled with little else but longing, a few seconds is enough."

This book should be scary, right? But why it doesn't felt like one? If I could rate the scary/creepy level of this book from 1 to 5 (1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest), I will give it a 2.5.

There are few scary scenes that are scary enough but most are just okay. Meh. Compared to Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls, this book fell short in terms of giving me the eerie feeling, the chills. Maybe it was my fault-- my imagination's fault to be specific. Or maybe the story being in the point of view of the ghost didn't help. Or, another maybe, the writing didn't establish an eerie atmosphere around me, to say the least.

Anyway, I still liked The Girl from the Well. It is well-plotted and does make sense. I mean it is not just about telling a ghost story but also sharing disturbing and gruesome scenarios that echoes reality and the cruel world.

I also liked the characters. Even they aren't really fleshed out, they aren't the annoying and dry characters (at least for me). I tend to enjoy their character growth along the way and be wary about their undertakings.

Again, even the writing haven't formed an atmosphere of eerieness, it was good. The narration is smooth and not confusing. Sometimes, the combination of words pulled a wonderment in me as I imagined the scenes (the beautiful ones) being described.

The Japanese culture/legends graced in this book also contributed why I end up liking this book.
Profile Image for Maria.
157 reviews89 followers
August 28, 2022
I liked it.

However it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Also I'm a little over the whole my parents did some magic to protect me but never told me trope and I thought the lack of present adults was weird.
Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,137 reviews1,662 followers
October 26, 2015
The Girl from the Well successfully gave me the chills and scared the hell out of me and I didn't expect it. It was like The Grudge / The Ring (both Japanese version) in book form. I remember that time when my friends and I had The Grudge: Ju On movie marathon and there are lot of jump scares. Especially, Kayako Saeki crawling down the damn stairs and have this eerie voice is etched forever in my mind. After reading this book… YES! I finally found a good Halloween book!

The story is about a vengeful ghost named, Okiku. Years ago, she was murdered by a man and her soul remained unrest. For years, she murders those who abused children. It's a way of giving justice to their victims and free their souls. Rin Chupeco's description of her character is really good. It's detailed and when you imagine Okiku, she definitely reminds me of Kayako or Sadako. She wears a white dress, has a long black hair, and she stands upside down on the ceiling. Imagining her just creeps me out. The way she slayed those abusers, holy guacamole. GORE. The scary scenes are PERFECT.

Aside from her, there are other characters: Tarquin Halloway and his cousin, Callie. Okiku found Tarquin when she sensed a threat towards him and as well as intrigued because there's a dark spirit inside him.
With that, she decided to protect this boy from that dark spirit. As for Callie, she knows there's something wrong with Tark and wants to help him even if ghosts scares her. Such a courageous girl.

I don't really know much about about the Japanese culture and folklore. I think that's when my reading pace starts to get slow and I'm confused on some parts. It's fun getting to know about it. It's just that I struggled on it. (Ichimatsu dolls are pretty but creepy. btw.) Another thing, some scenes are rushed and tends to jump from one scene to another.

I recommend this book if you're looking for a Halloween read. Okiku is an interesting ghost. She's not really that bad even if she tends to appear out of nowhere. :)
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,365 followers
August 19, 2014
Even with the great premise and creepy as heck scenes throughout, I can't say I liked this one much, unfortunately. Though this is all due to the writing, and if you're a fan of it you will have a much better experience with this book than I.

The writing is one that, although may work for some, I could never get used to. The narrative voices (plural because I "think" there were more than 1, but I'm not 100% sure…) are in 3rd person which is always harder for me to connect with regardless, but in this case even more so because of this particular all-knowing perspective the author adopts. Then when you add in the fact that the perspective changes - often abruptly without a chapter change or even a break in-between paragraphs - the result made me feel rather disjointed. I was not a big fan of the "quirks" in the writing, either. The ghost's counting and jumbled thought process was likely meant to give the book some personality and character, but all it amounted to was getting me annoyed. The counting could be especially distracting:

He parks his white car at one corner of the street, and strolls toward where the crowd of people (fifty- seven) have gathered, watching in fascination as medical personnel (four) wheel out a large gurney that carries something (one) large and bulky, hidden from view by a large black blanket.

Then there's the Japanese terms throughout that only come with brief explanations that we're expected to remember for future references. Well, I did not, so a lot of the folklore mumbo jumbo went over my head. Also, and this is likely only in the ARC, but the formatting was off at times where sentences would be cut in 2-3 lines (even the print ARC). At least, I'm hoping it was a formating glitch and not intentional.. Obviously, the writing overall did not make a fan out of me.

Likely related as well, but the characters also failed to compel me. I quickly grew bored with almost every character we met to the exception of Tark's mom, who was kind of fascinating, if a bit creepy. Tark himself, though, I had a hard time even grasping his personality. I don't feel I got to know him at all; he was simply a player in this game - a piece of the puzzle - and nothing more. Callie was a bit easier to read, but she still felt underdeveloped. The ghost girl was the most defined. I at least felt sympathy towards her situation and like I understood her, and I was definitely rooting for her when she went all Grudge-like - even if it was terrifying (and awesome!).

The one thing Chupeco did write to my liking were the horror scenes. These were terrifying and so vivid I wanted to sleep with the light on afterwards. It also has its fair share of gore. Not overwhelmingly so, but enough to let you know this was no child's book. Like I mentioned, the premise of this story is excellent for horror fans. It's a mix between The Ring, The Grudge, and Dexter - quite a mash-up but it works. As a purely horror tale this book does a pretty good job of being horrific, leaving us with eerie mental images to disturb our sleep.

If I could have gotten used to the writing style, and If we had flown more smoothly between the perspectives, or even the story lines (we'd go from Tark's story to the ghost's killing spree in a quick jerk), I would have definitely loved this one. But as it lay, I could not, for the life of me, immerse myself fully in this book. I loved the horror scenes, but everything else became a chore to read as I grew more and more bored of these characters. When you don't care who lives or dies, a horror book ends up being quite lifeless. If you want to try it out, you should know by chapter 3 if the writing is for you or not.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,005 followers
May 15, 2015
Hits all the cliche tropes and imagery of Japanese horror films and manga. Drowned girls with long dark hair and dark pits for eyes who hangs upside down from the ceiling or come through the mirror or tv. Light that mysteriously go out and flash on just long enough to see a shocking sight such as a man being dragged under a bed or into a closet. Pooling blood. Claw marks appearing on walls or skin. Creepy dolls (are there any other sort in films?). Because it relies on effects that are primarily visual this isn't actually scary, so if you wanted to see "The Ring" but were too chicken, read this instead.

There are some word usage errors (eg. "putrified" for "broken") and non-standard grammar, but not typos -- more like the author spoke English as a second language. There is also some nonstandard typing setting, like using line breaks for effect, which comes across as very high-schoolish, but after a bit I got used to it and ignored them. More annoying was how the POV wandered as if the author kept confusing the ghost girl observer and the narrator, although maybe the girl was the narrator, but then why are we told what other characters are thinking as if she were psychic or something, oh well, who cares really, this is not a book to care about. It's a very quick, light read, mildly entertaining. Don't bother asking yourself questions like "Do American high school students really think tattoos are that freaky?" or "Do they let 18-year-olds become teaching assistants?" or "Where do these people live that they've never had sushi before visiting Japan?" or "who takes her baby to an exorcism?"

Hmm, starting to feel like that 3 star rating was generous...
Profile Image for nivedha.
138 reviews68 followers
October 27, 2020
i will be reading this sometime next week for spooky month :)
i expected this to be creepy. spooky month kinda creepy. y'know, the hiding-my-face-behind-a-pillow-because-i'm-too-scared-to-watch-it kinda creepy not that i will ever admit to doing that haha you saw nothing.
what did i get instead?
okiku was not scary at all. she was just...there. she didn't even unsettle me, she was just plain old boring. a white outfit and mangled appearance does not make someone scary, smh. what did she even do throughout the book? she literally just stuck around and watched people doing things and was generally disconnected from everything, which made her a very dull narrator.
tarquin had no personality. neither did his cousin! sarcastic broken boy+random caring maternal figure. i wouldn't be able to recognize them if someone described them to me, merely because of how generic they are.
the pov shifts were strange, and the ending felt too positive. i'm not a sadist, but i like my horror movies/books to have twist endings, something that isn't just a neatly wrapped up happily-ever-after.
my general opinion on this book:

that's not how i want to feel about horror T_T
just save yourselves the time and watch a spooky movie, guys.
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews219 followers
April 26, 2014
WARNING - This review WILL include gifs and images that might disturb.

There's an issue with image links on GR right now, only half of them are showing up from time to time. Hopefully this will fix itself soon.

This book has been written up as a cross between The Ring and Dexter, but I actually felt it was equal parts The Ring:

The Grudge:

And a little bit of The Eye:
(This one makes more sense if you’ve seen the movie)

I had two very different reactions to this book.

The first was fear. The creep factor was way up, with the opening scene being full of images of Okiku stalking her prey, The Stained Man.

Watching from mirrors,

stalking The Stained Man,

waiting to drag The Stained Man underwater.

She’s there to avenge and rescue the souls of murdered children.

As the story went on, however, I got to know Okiku, and realise that she only went after those who were guilty. I like to think that this will make me feel safer next time I sit down to watch a creepy Asian horror movie, though I haven’t had a chance to test this theory yet!

All in all, this book was a really good YA horror, not so graphic on the imagery as to make it “unacceptable” for teens(though, this is coming from girl who read Graham Masterton at twelve-years-old), but at the same time had enough descriptors that someone who has seen any Asian horror movies knows all too well what’s going on. Enough to keep you awake in a dark house and possibly give scary dreams, but with something to balance it out, so that the reader doesn’t go completely out of their mind with terror.

The style was a little detached, cold, but I felt that this really worked for the story. It was told to us BY Okiku, who presented it in both an omnipotent fashion, AND a designated first person point of view. In this way, we were able to know how she saw the scene, and how her victims saw the scene, saw her. If this had been done in any other circumstances, it would have been a mess of point of view characters but, given Okiku's "situation" really just worked.

I really liked the way Okiku had of counting all the things, which tied in with her mythology of hating a specific number, and her nicknames for people; The Stained Man, The Smiling Man, The Tattooed Boy, and so on. Though there was a scene where one of the main characters (female) was having a discussion with a minor character (female), and they were both referred to in turn as “the girl”. This did get confusing. The Main character was later described more clearly, it would have been nice if this had happened earlier.

Throughout the book there were a LOT of errors which came across as a lost in translation issue. Confusions between plural and singular names for things and tense issues were the repeat offenders, and there were very few instances of incorrect words or missing words. It wasn’t enough to detract from the reading of a proof copy, but I really do hope these are corrected in the final copy of the book.

This was the first ebook that I have found myself unable to put down, and I definitely recommend this if you want scary, but not in a hide-under-the-covers-but-not-under-the-covers-because-she-can-get-you-there-too way,
unless you have a history of murdering children.

This was an advance proof provided for free in exchange for a review by Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews360 followers
April 10, 2021
Okiku is a vengeful spirit who, after suffering a violent death herself, seeks out and murders child killers. After one such murder, she is inexplicably drawn to a young boy with strange tattoos covering his body. There seems to be something lurking beneath the surface within Tarquin, and it's searching for a way out.

This is heavily influenced by Japanese horror and folklore and I was thrilled to see so much information and descriptions of Japan within the story. It has a respectful tone, bringing out Japanese culture and legends to bring life to Okiku's story with an obvious passion and sound knowledge of the subject matter. It's a shame the whole story isn't set in Japan, as these were far and away the best parts of the book, with lush descriptions of city life and the juxtaposition of the tranquil shrines. The old and the new.

What I was less enamoured with was the writing style. As it's told from Okiku's point of view the story takes on the approach of an observer recounting everything to the reader. This made the writing style, in particular the syntax, quite odd in places. In additon, sometimes the conversations between the characters also felt clunky and unnatural and again, I think this was due to the narrative style.

I also thought that some of the characters who showed a lot of potential at the start of the novel peter out quite quickly into nothing (is the creepy and malevolent Smiling Man). Our main characters also seem to recover from rather gruesome and gory incidents very quickly. Turk is suppose to be an innocent child (well, teenager) yet some of the sights he sees seem to provoke no kind of reaction from him, which I found odd.

I think this would appeal to anyone who enjoys Japanese horror films reminiscent of The Grudge or has an interest in Japanese folklore. It's a very fast paced and easy read, but it fell a little short for me on execution.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
September 7, 2015
After having read a few milder ghost stories I was in the mood for something darker, scarier, and down right thrilling.

What I wasn't expecting was this horrific, crazy, down right creepy story that would leave me turning the lights on at night and anxiously looking around for the ghosts that might be lurking in said darkness.

This read was fabulous! The perfect creepy blend of Japanese lore with American culture.

Ghosts, demons, doll possession, curses, mysterious tattoos, murderers, legends, and so much more. This read truly kept me on my toes, turning the pages, and horrifically fascinated.

I will definitely be reading book two but maybe this time only during the daylight hours.
Profile Image for TL .
1,823 reviews35 followers
October 16, 2017
2.5 stars
Not bad but underwhelming overall. Just expected.. "more"

*shrugs* Not much else to say really.
Profile Image for Evelyn (devours and digests words).
229 reviews502 followers
October 20, 2015
'I am where dead children go.'

I've never read a Young Adult book with Asian lore sprinkled in. So when I found out that this features a Japanese horror story, I was morbidly excited and curious.

I open The Girl From The Well with one expectation.

It has to be batshit scary.

If anyone is familiar with the horror movies The Grudge or The Ring, then this book will remind you strongly of them. The Girl From The Well features a very restless and violent ghost who goes by the name Okiku. Like every other restless spirits, how she met her death is tragic.

Three centuries ago, a maidservent was tossed headfirst into a well by a lord of the Himeji Castles. Since then, her spirit would crawl out of that dark depth and seek out vengeance (justice) on wrong doers like rapists and child killers. That spirit is Okiku herself.

I am the fate that people fear to become. I am what happens to good persons and bad persons and to everyone in between. I am what I am.

You see, she never hesitates to kill people in the most gruesome ways with her own hands, and I LOVE that. She never tried to redeem her actions and knows justice when she sensed one needs to be given.

The details about her kills are very grim with horrifying, graphic descriptions - it can turn disturbing at some points. So if you want to approach this book... be cautious.

I have to say that Chupeco's writing style is perfectly oh-so-haunting, archaic and it just fits with the theme so well. The atmosphere felt like the calm after a storm and it just works with me.

However, that is where I end my compliments. There are other characters here but I found out that I care much about the dead than the living. Do I bother to even connect to the others in the least? Not at all. My only reason for this is because Okiku outshines them. She intrigues me most and she is the only one I want to read more about.

To wrap it up,The Girl From The Well has truly met my expectations of a YA horror.  Eventhough I feel that it lacked something more, I'd still recommend the book to anyone who wants to feel spooked for an instance.

Sidenote: There are many different versions of the Japanese old legends, Okiku and her Nine Plates, which you can read here.

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