cover image The Girl from the Well

The Girl from the Well

Rin Chupeco. Sourcebooks Fire, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9218-7

Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story, drawing from the same ancient Japanese legend that inspired The Ring and other horror pieces. Okiku is a vengeful spirit who wanders the world, tracking down those who abuse and murder children, killing them to free their victims’ souls. When Okiku encounters 15-year-old Tark Halloway, she discovers that he’s haunted by a terrifying spirit who is capable of great violence. Okiku has dispassionately existed only to take vengeance, and the unexpected fondness she develops for Tark and his cousin Callie eventually takes them to Japan, where Okiku confronts her own tragic origin and sees a chance to rid Tark of his demon. Told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend. The tropes Chupeco invokes will be familiar to any fan of J-horror, but the execution is spine-tingling, relying more on cinematic cuts than outright gore. Ages 14–up. Agent: Nicole LaBombard and Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary Agency. (Aug.)