Living Dead Girl

Living Dead Girl

4.1 447
by Elizabeth Scott

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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.



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.

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.)

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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

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
870L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
16 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


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


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


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

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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Living Dead Girl 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 448 reviews.
AndAnotherBookRead More than 1 year ago
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.

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?

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.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
TheForbiddenFruit521 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
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.......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not good. I'm not saying this because it is "inappropriate" I'm saying this because it was just plain not good. I read it in a couple hours and was not at all impressed. I was very disappointed, actually. It was poorly written, not at all graphic or disturbing. I've read 99 cent books that were 10x better than this one that I wasted $10 on. Don't waste your money. Not a good read at all.
Sandy5 3 months ago
2.5 stars I felt that this novel was okay. After reading the novel’s synopsis, I expected more emotions and more energy to occur within its pages but after reading it, I felt that the novel had more of an even tone and I have mixed feeling about this. I understand how the main character felt after being held all those years being locked in her current condition but things were changing, I thought that would change her too. The novel is told through the eyes of Alice who had been abducted when she was ten. Now five years later, Alice realizes that things are changing. Ray wants something else in his life and he expects Alice to help him achieve it. I felt that Alice was numb as she told her story. She was living with Ray and people in their neighborhood kept to themselves so no one questioned her existence. When Ray tells Alice what he needs, I was shocked and then I wondered how she would respond. As the novel progressed, the lack of energy within it created a hardship for me. I wanted to know the ending but I also wanted to abandon the book. I liked how the novel finished out; I just wished it would have ended with some gusto.
ahimsaluciano More than 1 year ago
10 dollars for a 130 page book with size 40 font is absurd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty terrible. Just a bunch of sexual assault & nothing to make the story worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one will break your heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NinaNicole More than 1 year ago
Gripping. Read in one sitting. Can be disturbing. If reader is a teen, they have to be mature and ready to face the reality of the harshness of life. Not for the weak at heart but a truly unforgettable tale!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this and honestly I loved it. Its chillingly amazing, love the way written as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 words captivating realistic sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, this book is morbid, and yes it doesn't really have a plot. The sad truth is that this actually happens. Kidnap, and rape. In real life there doesn't need to be a plot for things like that to happen. Not meant for teens for sure, but then the book is not really MEANT for anybody. I will say the book was well written though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 13 and it shocked me. Once I continued to read it, I realized how beautiful it was. Although it was graphic, it opened my eyes to what really goes on in the world. The writing is amazing and I find myself rereading it over and over again. I have yet to find another book that amazes me like this one has. I understand that some people may not be able to handle it, but if you can get past the graphics, then I strongly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that will stick with me for my entire life. A must read.