Living Dead Girl

( 444 )

Overview

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.

Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and...

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Overview

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.

Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
KLIATT - Ashleigh Larsen
Five years ago, Alice was abducted by Ray on a school field trip. Now, at the age of 15, she is still the victim of endless mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Her every move is controlled and watched by Ray, and even her food is rationed so her weight won't exceed 100 pounds. Her body is merely an empty shell, and her deepest desire is that death will claim her soon. Instead, Ray asks her to find him a new girl that both of them can train to love him and satisfy his cravings. Alice can't help but think that having a new love for Ray might provide solace and rest for her body, but would it be eternal? In searching for a young girl, Alice meets a boy who makes her think, for the first time ever, about escaping. Knowing that harm will come to her family if she were to try anything makes her hesitant. But when the opportunity arises, will she be able to break Ray's hold on her life in order to find freedom? The violence in this novel is graphic at times, but Scott's portrayal of an abducted child's experience and mindset is shockingly authentic. It will comfort YAs who have ever felt abandoned, alone, or trapped in any situation, while giving them hope for freedom that might seem impossible. Reviewer: Ashleigh Larsen
VOYA - Vikki Terrile
Alice has not always been Alice. Five years ago, Ray abducted her during an aquarium visit and everything changed. Now she is too old, and Ray is looking for a little girl - a new Alice - to take her place. Alice has found the perfect girl, but it may not mean the freedom for which Alice has been longing. Scott creates a heartbreaking and shattering novel that goes deep into a terrifying world without ever being lurid or gruesome. The horror of Alice's tale is in its matter-of-fact presentation. Ray's behaviors - as vile and deviant as there are - come with an eerily rational explanation. Even more disturbing is how little anyone around Alice and Ray sees, how willing they are to accept Ray's story that he is Alice's father and that she is homeschooled because of special needs. There are no happy endings here; readers learn the horrors Ray himself faced that shaped him into the monster he is, and they see in Alice how easily transformation can happen. Scott does a tremendous job of showing the pervasive sexual and physical abuse Alice suffers without being graphic. If anything the subtly of the descriptions is even more haunting than a detailed description would have been. This book is one of those rare novels that is difficult to read but impossible to put down and should not be missed. Reviewer: Vikki Terrile
Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
Childhood is a time of innocence, a time of imagination, and a time of bliss. School should be a place of discovery filled with opportunities to explore the world through textbooks, playing, and fieldtrips. A fieldtrip shouldn't be the beginning of a five-year nightmare. But for Alice, it was that and much, much more. Ray, an older guy, abducts her from an aquarium where her classmates have abandoned her over a silly argument. The author's short chapters and vivid imagery paint a portrait of a young girl who is subjected to the cycle of abuse. When Alice's body matures, Ray demands that she find a replacement, or he will murder her family. Will Alice assist Ray with the creation of another living dead girl? Due to the mature content of this young adult novel, teachers are advised to use it with 9th—12th graders or mature 8th graders. Reviewer: Anjeanette C. Alexander-Smith
Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
Alice, whose real name and childhood have been stolen by her kidnapper, lives a bleak life of abuse and despair. Taken by Ray at the age of ten, she has endured five years of vicious beatings and equally vicious sexual invasions interspersed with his assurances of how much he loves her. Alice tells us her story in a voice that discloses her acceptance that there is no way out for her but the death she both longs for and fears. Ray thwarted her early escape efforts by warning her that if she runs away he will go to her home and kill her parents. He also lets her know that he killed the "Alice" before her when she grew too tall and womanly to appeal to him. To keep Alice a child as long as he can, he keeps her on a starvation diet, regularly sends her to have her pubic hair waxed, and gives her pills to prevent menstruation. But Alice is growing in spite of all his efforts and now Ray orders her to find him a replacement, though he says he will keep her alive so she can help him subdue the new girl. At first, Alice goes about her task—to find a suitable young girl in a local park—with the hope that his attentions to the new child will stop his abuse of her. But when the time comes to divert Lucy's older brother Jake so that Ray can take the child, she cannot follow through. She yells at Lucy to run. Ray grabs the girl and Jake comes out of the bushes with a gun. In the ensuing struggle, Jake fires the gun twice, killing Ray but accidentally hitting Alice as well. The new child is saved and Alice is finally released by death. The book is powerful and well written, but emotionally disturbing. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Elizabeth Scott's gripping story (Simon Pulse, 2008), one of the most talked about books of 2008, is even more intense and chilling in audiobook format. "Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared. Once upon a time, my name was not Alice. Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was." These sentences offer only a glimpse of the horrific nightmare she has been living since being abducted during a school field trip when she was ten years old and forced to be Ray's sex toy and stay child-like. In short and punctuating chapters, Alice, now 15, speaks about the suffocating and paralyzing fear that keeps her with her captor, who has threatened to kill her entire family if she attempts to escape. It is only when Ray tells Alice that she must find a new little girl for him that she has the any hope that she will eventually be free of his grasp, even if that freedom means her own death. Narrator Kate Reinders becomes Alice, with her voice poignantly moving through the horror, desperation, anger, resignation, and pain that Alice feels. The story and the breathtaking ending are so vividly brought to life that it is at times difficult to listen.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Scott, best known for such chick-lit pleasers as Bloom (2008), breaks the mold with this harrowing tale of abuse leavened only by lyric writing a la Adam Rapp (33 Snowfish, 2003, etc.). When Alice was ten, Ray kidnapped her; five years later, Alice wishes only to escape by dying, as the last Alice did. But her freedom comes at a price-a new girl for Ray. Bit by bit, Alice reveals the depths of psychological and physical terror that hold her captive. Her voice is convincingly naive yet prematurely aged; vivid but never graphic, details of the sexual abuse perfectly capture the way in which she has normalized her situation while still recognizing the truth. Ray is a complex abuser, perhaps a bit too psychotic but terrifying nevertheless; he himself was abused, and the logic of how his own past has shaped his present and his treatment of Alice never falters. Choosing Ray's next victim does not provide a re-entry into empathy, a bold but believable choice. Scott provides neither easy answers nor a happy resolution, although the ending provides a grim sense of release. (Fiction. 16 & up)
From the Publisher
"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 of Crank

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416960607
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 62,520
  • Age range: 16 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn't even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She's sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn't want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.

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Read an Excerpt

1

This is how things look:

Shady Pines Apartments, four shabby buildings tucked off the road near the highway. Across from a strip mall with nail places and a cash-loan store that advertises on TV all the time. There's also a drugstore and tiny restaurants, every one opening and closing within months.

Shady Pines is nice enough, if it's all you can afford. The stairs are chipped but solid, the washing machines always work, and management picks up the trash once a week.

A few mothers sit outside their buildings, resting in fraying lawn chairs and talking over each other while their children run around, playing. One dog lies sleeping in the sun, twitching its tail when a child comes over and pats the top of its head before running away, giggling.

That man in the far building, the car guy, is outside, a pile of parts scattered on the black ooze of the parking lot around him. Car guy has been here since you moved in, but you never see him except for sunny weekends, when he works on his car.

Not that he ever drives it.

He's a strange one, that's for sure, living alone, always with that car, not really ever talking to anyone, but every place has one weirdo, and at least car guy cleans up after himself. He's almost obsessive about it.

Still, see how he sighs when that man, the one whose daughter is quiet and, sadly, a little slow, pulls into the space next to his? See how he watches the girl get out of the car? She's a skinny little thing, always hunching over a bit, like she's taller than she thinks she is. Homeschooled, of course, because of how she is, or so someone once told you when you were getting the mail, and there are no secrets around here, not with everyone living so close together.

She walks slowly across the lot, trailing behind her father, who waits patiently for her to get to the building door, holding it open even though he's carrying all the bags. She doesn't even say thank you, but what can you expect? Kids never know how good they have it.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth Spencer

2

This is how things are:

Cold, from the grocery store, from the dairy aisle you walked down to pick up the yogurt, from the frozen-food aisle, its cases filled deep with frozen pizzas and ice cream in large round containers.

Cold, getting out of the truck, foot clinking over something metallic, piece of a car lying on the ground.

Don't stop to look.

Walk up the stairs, Ray's footsteps behind you. Listen to him pause, smiling at the one open apartment door, the Indian family on the second floor, always children running in and out, sometimes their TV turned up so loud at night Ray has to go down there and knock on the door, say please turn it down? Thank you so much.

"Was that guy in the parking lot looking at you?" Ray says when you walk into the apartment, as soon as the door thunks closed and he's turned the locks, one, two, three. Better safe than sorry, he always says.

Shake your head no, no. Even if he did look, it would never be at you.

No one ever really looks at you.

Ray puts the groceries away, yogurt in the fridge, his oatmeal in its individual packets in the cabinet above the sink. Five apples, one for each day when he comes home from work. Five TV dinners you'll heat up at night for him to eat unless he brings something home.

He comes over to the sofa. Holds out a glass of water so cold the sides are frosty, ice cubes clinking inside. You've pulled your skirt up to your waist, arms resting by your sides, palms up and open. Waiting.

"Good," he says, and lies on top of you. Heavy and pushing, always pushing. "Good girl, Alice."

Afterward, he will give you the water and a container of yogurt. He will sit with one hand curled around your knee. You will watch TV together. He will tell you how lucky you are.

"Yes," you will say. "I know I am."

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth Spencer

3

Once upon a time, I did not live in Shady Pines.

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.

Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.

Copyright © 2008 by Elizabeth Spencer

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Introduction

Prereading Activity

Ask students to write down the definition of oxymoron. Then have them discuss possible meanings for the phrase "living dead." What inferences can they make from the title? What predictions can they make about the story? What kinds of experiences would make them — or anyone — feel "living dead"?

Discussion Questions

In the first three chapters, Alice's story moves from third-person point of view, to second, then to first. While most of the story is told from first-person point of view, what effect does the shift have on your responses to the story? Through which viewpoint do you feel most connected with the character? Why? What do you think Scott hoped to achieve in shifting the point of view? In what way does the shift contribute to the mood of the story?

Scott uses a literary technique known as "stream of consciousness." Alice's thoughts and memories are presented as they flow through her mind with no regard for logical order or sentence structure. Her thoughts are sometimes fragmented; they shift over time and space, and can be difficult to follow. Find passages in the text in which Alice's thoughts leap across time and space. Discuss what these scenes tell us about Alice. What effect does the stream of consciousness technique have on the reader? How does the use of stream of consciousness contribute to the overall story?

How would you describe Ray? What events in his life have made him who he is? Find passages that support your thoughts. What character(s) does he resemble from other literary works or films. What actors can you envision playing his role in a movie? Why?

Ray doesn't want Alice to grow up. He starvesher to keep her small and makes her wear little girls' clothing that is too small for a young adolescent girl. In what ways do you see Alice behaving childlike? In what ways is she mature? Would you call Alice naive? Why or why not?

How does Alice feel about herself? What does the phrase "living dead girl" mean to her? Who does she hold responsible for the life she lives and the person she has become?

How would you describe the relationship between Alice and Ray? Does he love her? Does she care for him? Find passages to support your thoughts.

Ray plans to abduct another child and sends Alice to the playground in search of a young girl. Alice finds "Annabel" and tells Ray about her. What does she think about Annabel and how does she feel about Ray kidnapping another child?

When Alice first meets Jake and accompanies him to his car, he recognizes Alice's detachment and is horrified. What does her lack of emotion suggest about who she has become? Why is she void of emotion? In what ways has she become like Ray?

Jake tries to help Alice in the end. Why do you think he did so? Why did he take a gun to the park instead of reporting his suspicions to the police?

A number of key phrases reoccur throughout the story. For example, the narrator frequently repeats the phrase, "Once upon a time." Find passages containing this phrase. Why does the author repeat the phrase? How does it influence your thoughts about Alice? What additional phrases are repeated? What effect do they have?

At one point when Ray is abusing Alice she thinks, "...the thing about hearts is that they always want to keep beating." What does this passage say about her resiliency and the way in which the story plays out in the end? Point to evidence that supports your thinking.

Many children today are abducted, abused, and held in captivity — many are held for years like Alice, and when given opportunities to escape, they don't. Alice stays home alone and watches the soaps while Ray works; she goes out occasionally — sometimes with Ray knowing; other times not. Why does she not leave? How does Ray hold her emotionally captive? Find passages that support your ideas.

Alice is disturbed that no one notices that something is terribly wrong with her life. How does the outside world play a part in Alice's plight? In your opinion, could society have helped save Alice? How?

Activities

Have students read a classical poem or short story that uses stream of consciousness and compare and contrast style and the overall effect and mood of the two pieces. Authors to consider include Katherine Anne Porter, Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and William Faulkner. After comparing and contrasting the two pieces, have students write a poem or short story using stream of consciousness.

Have students develop character maps of Alice and/or Ray and discuss them. Then have them create a character of their own by brainstorming character traits with a character map. Once they have developed their character, have them write a scene about that character from three perspectives: first-, second-, and third-person point of view. They may write the same scene from three different perspectives or write three separate scenes.

Invite a professional to your school who has experience in the area of child protection to speak to the class. You might invite a doctor, a social worker, a police officer, an attorney, or a child therapist. Have students prepare for the visit by developing a list of questions they would like to ask.

For five years, Kyla (a.k.a. Alice) lived a life of fear. From the age of ten until fifteen she missed many childhood experiences. Imagine you could give back some of the childhood experiences she missed. Collect symbols for five experiences and present those to the class. Write a brief narrative about one and why it is an important experience for a young girl. (Examples to consider are friendships, a father/daughter relationship, music, movies, girly things like clothes and cell phones.) This activity can also be presented via a PowerPoint presentation or iMovie.

Working in groups, have students research child protection laws in their community and tips for keeping children safe, and present a PowerPoint presentation to the class. Students may also share their presentations with after-school organizations such as the PTSA and academic and athletic booster clubs. Based on their research and presentations, students may develop pamphlets and brochures with tips for keeping children safe and helpful resources for dealing with a crisis. Students may seek funding to print the pamphlets and brochures from school clubs, community leaders and businesses, and religious organizations.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.

Elizabeth Scott is the author of Bloom, Perfect You, and Stealing Heaven. Visit her website: www.elizabethwrites.com.

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Reading Group Guide

Prereading Activity

Ask students to write down the definition of oxymoron. Then have them discuss possible meanings for the phrase "living dead." What inferences can they make from the title? What predictions can they make about the story? What kinds of experiences would make them — or anyone — feel "living dead"?

Discussion Questions

In the first three chapters, Alice's story moves from third-person point of view, to second, then to first. While most of the story is told from first-person point of view, what effect does the shift have on your responses to the story? Through which viewpoint do you feel most connected with the character? Why? What do you think Scott hoped to achieve in shifting the point of view? In what way does the shift contribute to the mood of the story?

Scott uses a literary technique known as "stream of consciousness." Alice's thoughts and memories are presented as they flow through her mind with no regard for logical order or sentence structure. Her thoughts are sometimes fragmented; they shift over time and space, and can be difficult to follow. Find passages in the text in which Alice's thoughts leap across time and space. Discuss what these scenes tell us about Alice. What effect does the stream of consciousness technique have on the reader? How does the use of stream of consciousness contribute to the overall story?

How would you describe Ray? What events in his life have made him who he is? Find passages that support your thoughts. What character(s) does he resemble from other literary works or films. What actors can you envision playing his role in a movie? Why?

Ray doesn't want Alice to grow up. He starves her to keep her small and makes her wear little girls' clothing that is too small for a young adolescent girl. In what ways do you see Alice behaving childlike? In what ways is she mature? Would you call Alice naive? Why or why not?

How does Alice feel about herself? What does the phrase "living dead girl" mean to her? Who does she hold responsible for the life she lives and the person she has become?

How would you describe the relationship between Alice and Ray? Does he love her? Does she care for him? Find passages to support your thoughts.

Ray plans to abduct another child and sends Alice to the playground in search of a young girl. Alice finds "Annabel" and tells Ray about her. What does she think about Annabel and how does she feel about Ray kidnapping another child?

When Alice first meets Jake and accompanies him to his car, he recognizes Alice's detachment and is horrified. What does her lack of emotion suggest about who she has become? Why is she void of emotion? In what ways has she become like Ray?

Jake tries to help Alice in the end. Why do you think he did so? Why did he take a gun to the park instead of reporting his suspicions to the police?

A number of key phrases reoccur throughout the story. For example, the narrator frequently repeats the phrase, "Once upon a time." Find passages containing this phrase. Why does the author repeat the phrase? How does it influence your thoughts about Alice? What additional phrases are repeated? What effect do they have?

At one point when Ray is abusing Alice she thinks, "...the thing about hearts is that they always want to keep beating." What does this passage say about her resiliency and the way in which the story plays out in the end? Point to evidence that supports your thinking.

Many children today are abducted, abused, and held in captivity — many are held for years like Alice, and when given opportunities to escape, they don't. Alice stays home alone and watches the soaps while Ray works; she goes out occasionally — sometimes with Ray knowing; other times not. Why does she not leave? How does Ray hold her emotionally captive? Find passages that support your ideas.

Alice is disturbed that no one notices that something is terribly wrong with her life. How does the outside world play a part in Alice's plight? In your opinion, could society have helped save Alice? How?

Activities

Have students read a classical poem or short story that uses stream of consciousness and compare and contrast style and the overall effect and mood of the two pieces. Authors to consider include Katherine Anne Porter, Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and William Faulkner. After comparing and contrasting the two pieces, have students write a poem or short story using stream of consciousness.

Have students develop character maps of Alice and/or Ray and discuss them. Then have them create a character of their own by brainstorming character traits with a character map. Once they have developed their character, have them write a scene about that character from three perspectives: first-, second-, and third-person point of view. They may write the same scene from three different perspectives or write three separate scenes.

Invite a professional to your school who has experience in the area of child protection to speak to the class. You might invite a doctor, a social worker, a police officer, an attorney, or a child therapist. Have students prepare for the visit by developing a list of questions they would like to ask.

For five years, Kyla (a.k.a. Alice) lived a life of fear. From the age of ten until fifteen she missed many childhood experiences. Imagine you could give back some of the childhood experiences she missed. Collect symbols for five experiences and present those to the class. Write a brief narrative about one and why it is an important experience for a young girl. (Examples to consider are friendships, a father/daughter relationship, music, movies, girly things like clothes and cell phones.) This activity can also be presented via a PowerPoint presentation or iMovie.

Working in groups, have students research child protection laws in their community and tips for keeping children safe, and present a PowerPoint presentation to the class. Students may also share their presentations with after-school organizations such as the PTSA and academic and athletic booster clubs. Based on their research and presentations, students may develop pamphlets and brochures with tips for keeping children safe and helpful resources for dealing with a crisis. Students may seek funding to print the pamphlets and brochures from school clubs, community leaders and businesses, and religious organizations.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 444 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 445 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2008

    A breathtaking and chilling read.

    On an elementary school field trip to the aquarium, a ten-year-old girl gets abducted. She gets named ¿Alice,¿ by her kidnapper Ray, and leaves behind the sweet innocent girl from 623 Daisy Lane, becoming a shell of a girl who has been both mentally and physically abused to no end, essentially making her a living dead girl.<BR/><BR/>All Alice wants is to escape from the pain she faces everyday and the only possible way she thinks she can escape is through death. Then an even more horrible thing happens ¿ Ray asks her to find a replacement for her. Now it¿s her task to find another innocent girl for Ray to prey on. Could this be her release, or will Ray dispose of her just like the last Alice?<BR/><BR/>While this book is completely different then anything else Elizabeth Scott has written, it is just as remarkable. The book leaves a lasting impression on your mind as you read. Trying to imagine everything that Alice has to go through in the book is mind-boggling and it truly makes you realize how horrible people can be and how grateful people should be that they don¿t have to endure the same evils as Alice did. Scott¿s brilliant writing style shone through this dark novel, making it come alive in the reader¿s mind. The emotion that seeps through these pages is absolutely incredible. You¿ll want to scream out loud at the horrors that you encounter and cry out in frustration at the events that unfold. This is truly a haunting and unforgettable novel that everyone needs to read. It gives a one of a kind view into a world not much is known of, and one in which we all hope never to visit.

    39 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    I received my copy of LIVING DEAD GIRL right before it came out in September. I read it the same day, and promptly hid it in a huge stack of other books, hoping to forget about it. I didn't. I came across it last week, and sat down and read it again. This time, I knew that, just like before, I'd never forget it, but I finally decided I was ready to write a review on the story. <BR/><BR/>Alice has lived with Ray since she was ten. Now that she's fifteen, she knows her time with him is about to come to an end. The only question will be how it will happen - whether Ray will kill her, or whether she'll kill herself. <BR/><BR/>You see, Alice wasn't always Alice. She was once a girl with a mom and dad who loved her, until the day Ray abducted her during a school field trip. Although they don't live far from her childhood home, Alice has only once made an attempt to escape, and that was right after she was abducted. Ever since then, she's become the emotional/physical/sexual slave that Ray has turned her into, and she does what she's told, when she's told. <BR/><BR/>When Ray sets his sights on Lucy, a replacement girl, Alice couldn't be more thrilled. Her time with Ray is finally, finally coming to an end, and all she can do is experience immense relief. She may have a moment's doubt about setting up a small, young girl to go through the same torture and torment she has endured, but basically, that overwhelming sense of relief is all she can bring herself to feel. <BR/><BR/>Events unfold quickly, and the ending of the story is not a resolution so much as a beginning to an entire new set of complications. <BR/><BR/>I hated LIVING DEAD GIRL, in a way that made me love it. With a storyline that could have been ripped from today's newspapers, the feelings and emotions that it will invoke within you are myriad - horror, sympathy, outrage, disbelief. When I heard a similar story in the news about a year ago, my first thought was how a child who had been abducted could so willingly stay with their captor. What I learned through the pages of this book is that fear - the kind of fear many of us have never known, and will hopefully never have to know - is a huge motivator. <BR/><BR/>Alice lives by fear. Fear of eating something she's been told not to eat. Fear of talking to someone she's been told not to talk to. Fear of bathing when she's not been told to bathe. Fear of saying something, anything, in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or with the wrong tone of voice. Fear, plain and simple, can cause people to do all sorts of things. <BR/><BR/>Elizabeth Scott is to be thanked for writing a story that brings the issue of child abduction to light. As Alice says, there are three life lessons: No one will see you. No one will say anything. No one will save you. Unfortunately, she's all too often right. I hope that after reading LIVING DEAD GIRL everyone will see, everyone will speak, everyone will be compelled to save. <BR/><BR/>Hope for Alice may be gone, but there are many Alice's out in the world, and thanks to this story, they don't always have to live in fear that no one will save them.

    27 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2009

    Buyer Be Aware

    I read this book in hopes of putting into my classroom library. It is not a book I feel comfortable passing onto my 9th grade students. The topic is not for kids. The book, while well written, stripped away some of my innocence. I read it a year ago and it is still with me. I am not sure what to do with the copy I have. Read it only if you have a strong stomach for this very difficult and graphic topic. Elizabeth Scott is an excellent writer and I would love to read something else written by her.

    21 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    Real life- Face it.

    Many people give this book bad reviews,
    I believe those are the people who don't face the facts of life.
    The person who wrote about this is a realist, and this happens in our society. It might be sick and twisted, but it's real. If you like books about life, you'll love this book. People need to understand we don't live in a fairy tale world as many of them wish.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Very realistic, and an eye opener

    First of all, i just want to sy that i'm 14. I don't see why people are angry at the contents of this book, because it tells of real things that happen every day? This book was an amazing story! I even told my mom about it, and she said that you have to be mature to understand and not call the book disgusting. Although it's graphic, its REAL. Im very happy with it because it opened my eyes as to how evil some people can truly be.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Read With Caution.

    I've seen and heard nothing but bad about this book. From how disgusting, unfit, and disturbing it was for readers. I had to see for myself. Like Ray (The God-Like Monster) the cover lured me towards something... there are no words. Horrific? Yes. Disturbing? Yes. Unimaginable? Yes. Unrealistic? Unfortunately, no. The things that happen to this young girl are all-too real things that many people have endured with similar or (tragic enough) worst results. After reading this book, I felt every kick, punch in the face, tug of the hair...every sense of pain 'Alice' has. The wrath of a disturbed man with a disturbed past. Please do not get mad at the book that wishes nothing more than to inform you of something we all should be aware of despite how much we don't want to be. Do not get mad at details that most likely match up to a 'T', the life of a young 'Alice' who's 'Ray' is no different from the one you will encounter in this read. This is not an easy read and has at some point, robbed me of an innocence but with good intention. Be careful.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A review from a teenage girl

    I've read some of these reviews after reading and the book, and I'm disappointed in how people give it such a low rating just because of the fact it isn't for children, or even teens for that matter. Elizabeth Scott is not a good writer. She is unbelievable. There's something and unforgettable and absolutely impressive about how she can convey so much emotion into just a few words. Admittedly, it can be disturbing at some times, but there's also something very amazing in just how Elizabeth Scott can make you feel like that with simple words and a few line.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Disturbing

    This book is not for children. It tells the tale of a young girl kidnapped by a pedophile when she was 10. It's now 5 years later and written in her voice of despair. Sad and horrifying that people can do such awful things to others. Poor Alice.......

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    Unforgettable

    i read this book within a few hours. I've read books with this subject matter before and i thought i would be able to handle this but it was too much. very emotional and heart wrenching. this girl goes through a lot of hell...and i won't spoil much. but it is an amazing book. i love it but the events in the story are...upsetting.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    Unforgettable

    When Alice was ten years old, she was kidnapped by a stranger, a man named Ray. Of course then, her name wasn¿t Alice. She was a little girl with friends, family, and a life, but now she has lost it all in exchange for Ray. For five years, Alice has endured physical, mental, and sexual abuse, but there¿s nothing she can do about it. She has no way of escape from this life, not even death, or else the family from her old life, her life before Ray, will be killed. Alice is stuck in the empty life Ray has created for her, forced to be a little girl even as she grows up physically. But when it becomes apparent that Alice¿s body is no longer that of the little girl Ray wants, Ray surprisingly doesn¿t kill Alice. Instead, he orders Alice to find him a new little girl for him to love. Can Alice follow through with this horrible command, and does she think this will finally free her from this forsaken life? And if she does find a new girl to replace herself, will she be able to live with it? Living Dead Girl is a truly haunting and unforgettable story. It¿s about a girl who¿s trapped both in a cruel physical environment and a mental cage. Alice¿s story is such a sad one because of how she changed due to the abuse she was subjected to. Alice¿s feelings and emotions, though limited due to the damage caused to her by Ray, are so vivid and make the reader want to save or help her in any way possible because of her vulnerability. This story confronts an issue not addressed in any other book I have read, the very real threat of kidnap, rape, abuse, and murder. It is so unique that this story has been written from the perspective of the victim, yet so incredibly sad at the same time. It really makes you hate the sociopaths in the world such as Ray that are able to commit such atrocities such as these. Living Dead Girl is emotionally raw, shockingly good, and a book that can only be experienced through reading the story for yourself. While it¿s not right to like a story such as this, I think Living Dead Girl should be read by everyone, if not for enjoyment then to inform readers. It is a short but fast read, beautifully written and impossible to ever forget.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

    Very Concerned Parent

    My daughter picked this book out in the B&N store. Nothing on the cover of the book alerted me to the contents. After the first few pages she brought the book to me crying. I begin to read the book and was so shocked! This book is not appropriate for Teens (the category in which is resides). After reading the reviews online I am very concerned that so many people found this book worthy of 5 stars. Reading a book detailing sexual assault, oral sex, and kidnapping is not what I consider excellent reading.
    Parents beware, this book is explicit, dark, and more than disturbing to any child, teen and adults.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2010

    Not appropriate for young teens

    I am a mother and I would not want my child to read this on her own. This book should be read aloud with ample discussion with a parent or in a classroom. The book was clearly written for young adults but the type of violence depicted as well as the complicated emotions of the main characters may be hard for a lot of teens to understand. A lot of other reviewers say that this happens in real life and we need to educate our children, etc. but this is not the most common type of sexual violence that our children would most likely encounter. I don't think we should shelter our kids but I believe this book is not the way to educate. Also, I don't think that there was any kind of warning or message that could help prevent an abduction or teach, it is a gritty realistic depiction of a child who was stripped of all of her will to survive as well as her empathy for others. Not all stories need a happy ending but there should at least be an opportunity to learn.

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    No way!!

    I read a the first few chapters of this book. It was too disturbing to read the rest. This book is definitly not for teens. I would have to say 18 and up. I can't believe that this book is put in the teen section.It's incredibly graphic and heart wrenching. I don't reccommend it.

    3 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Short and haunting

    No uplifting story or happiness in this one. You can expect this story to haunt you. Also, short book at just 130 pages.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Not good

    The writing was okay but the book is horribly depressing and i hate the ending

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Beautiful

    I was shocked when I read this. The details are horrifying, and most of the topics gruesome, but hauntingly brilliant. Once you start, you can't stop, and every page reminds you of the terror this girl is living with up until the very last page. Twisted, but amazing and strange, this book captivates you and won't let go until 'Alice' is free.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    Amazing.

    This is a book that will stick with me for my entire life. A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Breathtakingly Real and Enchantingly Horrifying

    This book was amazing. I read it in a few short hours, and was absolutley taken by it. The way the author writes, and has you picture Alice is so disturbing yet enticing. This is a real in depth look in to the mind of an abused girl, who was taken from her simple and nice life.

    Alice teaches you to never take anything for granted, never to trust blindly, and to fend for yourself.

    Don't be naive and listen to the bad reviews. This is a disturbingly beautiful read, but I do not reccommend it for 15 or under. :)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Anonymous

    I didnt enjoy this book i guess i didnt have the stomach for it it really hurt my heart.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    Absolutely terrifying.

    I will never see things the same again. After watching a lot of Law and Order: SVU, I thought I'd be prepared for this book. Wrong. This book made me want to cry. Be warned, and enjoy!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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