The Well’s End by Seth Fishman (Putnam, Feb. 25th, 2014)-16 year old Mia Kish’s dad is Director of Fenton Electronics, and she goes to Westbrook Acadamy, an exclusive boarding school in Fenton, Colorado. She’s also a very fast swimmer, but the thing she’s most known for is her fall down a well when she was four years old, earning her the nickname Baby Mia. One night, alarms sound in the halls of Westbrook, and Mia and her friends discover they’re on lockdown, but not before she gets a phone call from her dad telling her to get out if she can and come to the Cave, where Fenton Electronics is based. Mia stays, though, and comes to regret it very quickly. Soon, the faculty begins aging rapidly and dying, and whatever is affecting them is starting to affect the students. The terror is only heightened by the men in hazmat suits surrounding the school. Mia knows she must get to the Cave, and she and her friends, including the new kid Hayden, gear up to sneak out.
When they leave Westbrook, they discover the virus has indeed spread, and the horror of it is more than they could have imagined. They follow a trail of death that leads right to the Cave, and her father’s work, and the discovery of what he’s really been working on is a revelation. The Well’s End is told in Mia’s voice and the author does a nice job of juggling normal teen angst with an almost unimaginable scenario without falling prey to typical stereotypes. Mia is a strong girl, but she’s not immune to peer-pressure or insecurity, and she questions herself plenty. That actually changes a bit throughout the story, as events change her and her friends, since they have no choice but to fight to survive. There’s some light romance in the form of the mysterious Brayden, but it’s certainly not the focus of the story, and there are a few clever twists thrown in to keep you on your feet. What I really enjoyed is the genuinely fascinating premise that’s at the core of the book’s secret and if you’re looking for a book for teens that has a few female characters that not only love science, but are certifiable geniuses, this is your book. Fishman’s teens are not cookie cutter, and neither is his story. In fact, Mia is about to turn 17, and it’s turning out to be a heck of a birthday. And the ending? Well, let’s just say that it’s a humdinger, and it will definitely leave you anxious for the next book. The Well’s End is a fun, clever ride, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next!