The Well's End

Overview

"A smart and wonderfully throwback adventure. Philip Pullman fans take notice. Don't miss."
—Matthew Quick, New York Times Bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
 
Nowhere to escape but below.
 
Panic grips sixteen-year-old Mia Kish’s boarding school, Westbrook ...

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The Well's End

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Overview

"A smart and wonderfully throwback adventure. Philip Pullman fans take notice. Don't miss."
—Matthew Quick, New York Times Bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
 
Nowhere to escape but below.
 
Panic grips sixteen-year-old Mia Kish’s boarding school, Westbrook Academy, when a mysterious quarantine is suddenly enforced by a small army of soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later. The quarantine makes no sense—but then students and faculty inexplicably begin to break down. Their illness is an aggressive virus that ages its victims years in only a matter of hours. The end result? Death.

No one can explain what’s going or has any idea what to do. Except Mia.

Because she knows something that no one else does. And she knows the only place to escape to get answers...But what she finds may be even more horrific than anything that came before.
 
* “The contemporary implications of the story ring unnervingly true. A fast-paced, thrilling adventure story that begs for a sequel.”—Booklist, starred review

"Seth Fishman kills it in every possible way."
—Margaret Stohl, New York Times Bestselling co-author of 
Beautiful Creatures and Icons.

"A crackling thriller that keeps you turning the pages until the very end."
—Jennifer Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
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.)
Starred Booklist
"The possibilities of bio-warfare with a new twist on the life-healing properties of water make the contemporary implications of the story ring unnervingly true. A fast-paced, thrilling adventure story that begs for a sequel."—Booklist, starred review
PW
"Fishman keeps the tension high and sets the stage for a dramatic finish."—PW
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Karen Sykeny
In this modern-day-setting science fiction novel, Mia Kish gets a mysterious phone call from her father to get away from school and make her way to his “Cave.” Her father works underground in a mysterious facility, conducting unknown research. Soon after the call, the school is surrounded by what appear to be military men in hazmat suits, and students and teachers start getting sick and aging very quickly. Mia decides she must get out and reach her father. She makes her way to the “Cave” and the story unfolds for an obvious sequel. The premise of this series opener has some promise but the novel lags in pace; a clearer plot and better developed characters need to emerge. The protagonist, Mia, is not fleshed out enough in this first book to make the reader really engage with the apparent danger and horror that is happening to her and her friends. True fans of science fiction will likely invest the time to give this series a chance, but casual science fiction readers may give up before reaching the end, where there are important reveals which prepare for the next novel. Purchase this title where science fiction is popular, but this is not mandatory for other collections. Reviewer: Karen Sykeny; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Baby Mia fell down the well, and for better or worse, that experience still defines her. Now almost 17 and a student at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, she finds that things haven't changed all that much-she is still alone and in the dark, but she remains a survivor. After a devastating virus attacks her school, rapidly ageing both young and old, she worries for her safety and that of her small group of friends. When soldiers in hazmat uniforms quarantine the school and for some strange reason single her out, she knows she must escape to the only place that is safe: the Cave, also known as Fenton Electronics, where her father is the director. Mia suspects that the Cave and her father may hold the cure for the terrible virus. What she discovers is something she never could have imagined. Fishman creates gripping suspense and characters that feel authentic. There are a couple of places where the story drags slightly, and Fishman has a tendency to overuse phrases. Still, this is a solid debut; it sets the tone for the series and leaves plenty of threads dangling for the books to come, which readers will eagerly anticipate.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-13
This debut science-fiction series opener relies on the standard mad-scientist scenario, which provides plenty of action. Mia, who's about to turn 17, feels isolated from her fellow students at the superelite Westbrook Academy, a boarding school for the uber-wealthy. She mostly stays with her fellow townies. Brayden, a new student, has just entered on the scene when a strange virus invades the school that appears to make people die of old age within hours. Also invading the school is Blake, first posing as a journalist but returning with a private army that forcibly quarantines the school. Mia and her pals manage to escape in a lengthy and nicely suspenseful sequence, the best in the book. At last, they arrive at the enormous cave where Mia's father does secret work. There, they learn the truth behind the virus and Blake. All the while, of course, a romance between Mia and the mysterious Brayden hangs fire. Just who is Brayden, and what is he doing there? Fishman concocts a marvelous enigma to underlie Mia's father's work, tying in an incident in Mia's childhood that gives rise to the title. While the posh school and the mad-scientist plots don't plow any new ground, the story will keep readers flipping pages. Good entertainment. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147514363
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/8/2015
  • Pages: 368
  • Age range: 12 years

Meet the Author

Seth Fishman is a literary agent at the Gernert Company. He is the author of The Well's End and its sequel The Dark Water. He lives in Jersey City, NJ.

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