cover image The Well’s End

The Well’s End

Seth Fishman. Putnam, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-15990-9

A mysterious sickness sweeps through Westbrook Academy in literary agent Fishman’s debut novel, and 17-year-old Mia Kish might be the cause of it. After all, why else would her father tell her to flee to his secret lab mere moments before military forces locks down the school and her classmates start dying of apparent accelerated old age? Mia and five friends sneak away to demand answers, and it becomes increasingly clear that those answers lie with Mia’s father. Unlike some pandemic stories, Fishman’s novel focuses not on the inherent horror of disease but on the drama of the escape itself, forcing Mia to face the fear of water and darkness that she’s had since falling down a well as a child. The supernatural origin of the disease is revealed, a bit unceremoniously, in a two-chapter infodump toward the end, but Fishman keeps tension high and sets the stage for a dramatic finish. The tension doesn’t let up when the book ends, either—Fishman opts to end on a cliffhanger, paving the way for a presumed sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor. (Feb.)