Elizabeth Scott is the author of Bloom, Perfect You, Living Dead Girl, Something Maybe, The Unwritten Rule, Between Here and Forever, and Miracle, among others. She lives just outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and firmly believes you can never own too many books. Visit her online at ElizabethWrites.com.
Gr 9 Up-The numb voice of a teen who has been devastated by five years of captivity and compliance, a girl who has been named "Alice" by her abductor, relates her grim story. At 15, she still believes the threat by which Ray controlled her when she was almost 10 and he walked her away from a school field trip: he's made it clear that if she bolts he will kill her family. The trauma of multiple rapes on a child is portrayed, as is Ray's ongoing need to control her and his daily, multiple demands for sexual submission. Now that she's a teen, Alice is being starved; his disordered logic tells him that this will keep her a little girl. His control over her is so absolute that, although she can leave his apartment during the day and goes on her own to have a wax job, her only rebellion is to steal small amounts of food. When Ray decides it is time for a new little girl, Alice complies by locating a likely next victim. In the process she meets a needy teen boy and a police officer, both of whom suspect she is in trouble and want to help her, but all does not end happily. This story lacks the vivid characters and psychological insights of Norma Fox Mazer's chilling The Missing Girl (HarperCollins, 2008). For an ultimately hopeful, but still realistic portrayal of a damaged survivor of abduction and sexual imprisonment, see Catherine Atkins's When Jeff Comes Home (Putnam, 1999)-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Fans of Scott's YA romances Perfect You or Bloom may be unprepared for the unrelieved terror within this chilling novel, about a 15-year-old girl who has spent the last five years being abused by a kidnapper named Ray and is kept powerless by Ray's promise to harm her family if she makes one false move. The narrator knows she is the second of the girls Ray has abducted and renamed Alice; Ray killed the first when she outgrew her childlike body at 15, and now Alice half-hopes her own demise is approaching ("I think of the knife in the kitchen, of the bridges I've seen from the bus... but the thing about hearts is that they always want to keep beating"). Ray, however, has an even more sinister plan: he orders Alice to find a new girl, then train her to Ray's tastes. Scott's prose is spare and damning, relying on suggestive details and their impact on Alice to convey the unimaginable violence she repeatedly experiences. Disturbing but fascinating, the book exerts an inescapable grip on readers--like Alice, they have virtually no choice but to continue until the conclusion sets them free. Ages 16-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"Some books are read and put away. Others demand to be talked
about. Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl will be talked
about." -- Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author
"I was knocked over by Living Dead Girl. Most authors want to hear 'I couldn't put it down' from their fans. Living Dead Girl is a book you have to put down; then you have to pick it right back up. The beauty of this story is that, though none of its readers will have had this experience, all will feel connected to it. It is told in the rarest of air, yet speaks horrifically to all our imaginations." -- Chris Crutcher, author of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes and Deadline
"A haunting story of an abducted girl you'll be desperate and helpless to save; her captor so disturbing, so menacing, you'll want to claw the pages from this book and shred them. Brava to Elizabeth Scott for creating such an intense, real, and perfectly painful story of terror, not without hope. Living Dead Girl is impossible to ignore." -- Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of Wake