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This Well Doesn’t End Well

If you like nationally ranked swimmers who constantly remind you that they’re nationally ranked swimmers and who fall in love with complete strangers for no apparent reason, then you might enjoy Seth Fishman’s The Well’s End. Mandy C. did not.

This Well Doesn’t End Well

BOOK REPORT for The Well’s End by Seth Fishman

Cover Story: Anyone Got Duct Tape?
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Flat as a Pancake
Anti-Bonus Factors: Instalove, Brand-Name Dropping, Random Plot Switch
Relationship Status: Call Me, Never

Cover Story: Anyone Got Duct Tape?

The individual behind this hazmat suit might have an issue if that crack goes all the way through. Those suits are meant to keep things out, and a crack most certainly will let things in.

The Deal:

Although Mia Kish is a nationally ranked swimmer, she’s known in her small town of Fenton, Colorado, for the time she fell down a well when she was four and was stuck for a few days. She’s spent the last 12 years trying to escape the notoriety, but classmates at her prestigious boarding school still insist on calling her “Baby Mia.”

When yet another reporter comes around, looking for an interview, Mia is prepared to give her well-rehearsed answers. The reporter, however, has ulterior motives: He knows Mia’s father, who’s the head of a secretive local company called Fenton Electronics, headquartered deep in a mountain and nicknamed “The Cave.” The “reporter” wants desperately to get into The Cave, and he’ll go to great (and ruthless) lengths to get in.

BFF Charm: Nay

Mia is a nationally ranked swimmer. If you didn’t remember that from the multiple times she mentions it at the start of the book, then you’re bound to remember it from the times it’s mentioned in the middle and then again at the end. OK, I get it, she’s proud of accomplishments, but there’s a limit to the times someone can mention something without it coming off as just plain bragging. Mia also waffles from self-pity to being proactive with the turn of a page, which is jarring, and makes her an even more “meh” character.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Mia has a love interest in the book, one whom she meets for the first time at the start of the novel. Even though there’s a lot of talk about him being brooding and his touch making her skin tingle, there’s nothing under the surface. His biggest move is shoving her against the wall of a hallway and kissing her “passionately” and then cupping her boob. (I’m not even joking.) Her guy swings back and forth from interested to shady almost as much as Mia shifts from pitiful to attempted badass. Actually, in that light, maybe they make the perfect couple ...

Talky Talk: Flat As A Pancake

The Well’s End is Seth Fishman’s first novel and, well, I’m not surprised. It reads like an idea that could have been great, but never quite gets there. There’s an overload of description that doesn’t do much in the way of adding to the plot, and an overuse of wooden dialogue and plot “twists” that don’t push the plot forward as much as they confuse it.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Instalove

Mia goes from not knowing her love interest to not being able to stop thinking of the feel of his “chapped lips” on hers as fast as a Ferrari goes from zero to 60.* I totally get a fast-paced crush, but the lack of emotion in this relationship made it wholly unbelievable, and a little confusing. I kept thinking I’d missed the part of the book in which they actually spent time together so that their super intense feelings would have time to develop.

*I may or may not have been watching Top Gear in the background while writing this review.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Brand-Name Dropping

The Well’s End opens at a richie-rich boarding school attended by richie-rich kids. They have all the best things, and Fishman tells you about pretty much all of them. Mia swims in a Lycra Aquablade suit. Her friend Rob drinks Absolut Citron, wears Warby Parker glasses and an AllSaints jacket. The students go to their families’ vacation homes in Aspen and Vail on the weekends. By the time I got through six chapters, I was like, I GET IT. THESE KIDS ARE RICH.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Random Plot Switch

This book gets really weird in the last third. I spent the majority of The Well’s End thinking I was on the same page as Fishman and where the plot was going, but then all of a sudden it switched gears on me, and in a really weird way. (And I’m typically so on board with weird!) I’m unsure if there’s going to be a sequel, but when I finished, I was kind of like, “wait, what?” And not in a good way.

Casting Call:

Kristen Stewart as Mia

Have you seen the Twilight movies? Did you see Kristen’s range of emotion in the movies? Yeah ...

Relationship Status: Call Me, Never

To be quite honest, Book, you were a struggle to get through. I got bored, and then really confused. I have no idea where you’re going, but at the moment it seems like it’s off the deep end. Or, more appropriately, into a deep well.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I received neither combination fried rice nor money for this review. The Well’s End is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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