Saturday, September 20, 2008

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

I just got this in the mail and didn't even read the summary - I focused on the reviews by authors such as Ellen Hopkins and Chris Crutcher. And they're comments were right on....far beyond...oh man....

Alice was ten years old when she was abducted by a man who wanted to teach her how he loves and cares for little girls. What started out as a field trip to see her favorite animal at the aquarium turns into a nightmare immediately and stays that way for the next five years.

Now at fifteen, Alice is deprived of food in order to stay under 100 pounds. She keeps her head down and herself unnoticed and people who live around her and Ray thinks he is doing a fine job raising his "daughter." But they have no idea of the horrors that go on behind a closed door with three locks.

Alice feels dead in her skin, and nothing can make her feel any different. Not the princess sheets she lays on, or the yogurt she's fed....and especially not the twisted and demented love Ray shows her on a daily basis. But she's about to find her escape. Alice knows that she's nearly outgrown her attraction as a child for Ray, and begins to find his new Alice - someone who can take her place where Ray can teach the new Alice how he can care and love for a little girl - and Alice can be free...

Chapter 12 - Never grow up....Try saying it while a hot heavy hand pinches, testing to make sure you're still child enough. Try saying it when you can't grow, when you're forever trapped where someone else wants you to be.

This has got to be the most intense YA book I have ever in my life read. The horrors of what a man like Ray can do to someone like Alice is beyond my safe comfortable scope of perspective. Teens will shudder at what happens and cry for Alice, hoping that maybe what she ultimately wants is the best answer to her impossible dilemma. It's one of those books that cannot be put down until the final denouement at the end. Rage, anger, horror...hope, compassion, protection...those are the range of emotions readers will have when finished with this book. Along the lines of "When Jeff Comes Home by Catherine Atkins, this one is more raw, more in-depth and one where the reader will live through everything Alice does; the only difference is that we can close the book - she can't.

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