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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

The Girl in the Well Is Me

by (author) Karen Rivers

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
May 2016
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Emotions & Feelings, Girls & Women, Bullying
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 13
  • Grade: 5 to 8


Newcomer Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into a club whose members have no intention of letting her join. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, growing increasingly claustrophobic, and waiting to be rescued — or possibly not. As hours pass, the reality of Kammie’s predicament mixes with her memories of the highlights and lowlights of her life so far, including the reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to run out of oxygen, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.


Author Karen Rivers has created a unique narrator with an authentic, sympathetic, sharp, funny voice who tells a story perfect for fans of Flora and Ulysses, Reign Rein, and Counting by 7s. The Girl in the Well is Me will have readers laughing and crying and laugh-crying over the course of its physically and emotionally suspenseful, utterly believable events.

About the author

Karen Rivers is the author of numerous novels, mostly for young adults. Her books have been nominated for a number of awards, including the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize and the Silver Birch Award. Karen has a BA in International Relations, which makes her an asset on any trivia team that emphasizes global politics in the late 1980s or early 1990s. As a lifelong hypochondriac, she once thought she'd be a doctor but realizes now that writing is a much more sensible career choice as it allows enough time to research symptoms on Google without having to actually go to medical school. Karen lives, reads and writes in a yellow house near the beach in Victoria, British Columbia, and can almost always be found online at

Karen Rivers' profile page


  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Commended, <i>Best Books for Kids and Teens</i>

Editorial Reviews

“What Rivers has done, seemingly impossible, is to take an existential, almost tortuous internal dialogue, of the type of some of the world’s best literature (think: Sartre) and make it entirely relevant, even accessible, to young readers … utterly brilliant.” ****/4

CM Magazine

“Rivers has woven an incredibly heartbreaking tale of a tragic, unforgettable event in a young girl’s life, told in a powerfully moving way … [she] is an extraordinary writer, with a rare and beautiful way of using her prose to both evoke deep emotion, and paint an extremely realistic picture. This is the type of novel that will stay with readers long after they close the book.” E for Excellent

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“Funny, surreal, occasionally heartbreaking … a compulsively readable story.”

School Library Journal

“Rivers has a way of hijacking a reader’s brain, making them feel as if they are experiencing the same things Kammie is.”

National Reading Campaign

“A brilliantly revealed, sometimes even funny, exploration of courage, the will to live, and the importance of being true to oneself. The catastrophe draws readers in, and the universality of spunky Kammie’s life-affirming journey will engage a wide audience. Moving, suspenseful, and impossible to put down.” Starred review

Kirkus Reviews

“I dare you to pick up this riveting novel without reading straight through to its heart-stopping conclusion.”

Katherine Applegate, Newberry Medal-winning author of <i>The One and Only Ivan</i>

“A gripping story that doesn’t shy away from the dark places but explores them with heart, humor, and light.”

Kate Messner, author of <i>All the Answers</i>

Other titles by Karen Rivers