Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Summary: Kammie Summers, new to her Texas middle school, is trying to get in with the cool girls. As part of her initiation, they tell her to stand on top of an old well and sing a song. Before she can finish, the rotten wood breaks and she falls into the well, where she is trapped, arms pinned to her sides. After a few half-hearted rescue attempts, the three girls disappear, and Kammie is left alone, unsure if they will ever come back. As the hours pass, she thinks about her past life, especially the recent arrest of her father for embezzlement, and his imprisonment that led to their move to Texas and descent into poverty. A rescue party eventually arrives, but by then the oxygen in the well has dipped to dangerous levels and Kammie is drifting in and out of consciousness. It’s a race against time, as the National Guard is called in and an attempt is made to dig her out of her prison. 224 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: An engrossing premise allows readers to gradually get to know Kammie and her family as her thoughts travel back and forth in time. The pages will turn quickly for readers anxious to learn the fate of the girl in the well.
Cons: Anyone even slightly claustrophobic may want to steer clear of this one.