18 October 2010

Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Alice lives with Ray. She wasn't always called Alice; there was an Alice before her and there will be an Alice after her. She knows there is no way out except to die, and she's sure she has figured out how that will happen.

Elizabeth Scott's short novel Living Dead Girl is a difficult book to read, but you won't want to stop reading. You'll likely finish it in one sitting, perhaps because Alice has no one and it seems somehow wrong to abandon her.

What kind of child gets abducted? Why doesn't that child try to escape? Scott's novel addresses these questions and more. Alice herself has few explanations for how the stupid girl she used to be ended up with Ray, but she knows exactly what keeps her living in hell, despite being aware that her days are numbered. She barely eats, but she can't stop growing.

The older she gets, the less appealing she becomes to Ray. The less appealing she becomes, the more she thinks about the other Alices--past and future. She wonders if her parents remember her and if they would still love her after everything Ray has made her do.

You may not agree with Alice's choices, but you will absolutely be affected by her story. Scott takes you into Alice's life, and Alice will remain in your head and heart for a long time. You'll want to talk about her.

The recommended target audience for Scott's novel is age 16 and up. I believe in letting children read what they want, and Living Dead Girl is no exception. This is an important and powerful novel. Simon Pulse has put together a reading guide geared to teachers, but parents and book clubs should also look at the questions and activities.

This is the first Scott book I've read, and I am not surprised by the number of awards and nominations Living Dead Girl has earned. The Simon Pulse website includes several videos of Scott talking about the novel. This one contains no spoilers but will give you a bit of the history behind the book.


I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Brilliance Audio) read by Kate Reinders, who did an amazing job portraying the teenage Alice. The emotional intensity of the novel was enhanced by Reinders's performance.

I am currently exploring the rest of Scott's novels. For more on Elizabeth Scott, visit her website and blog.

Living Dead Girl at an Indie
Living Dead Girl at Powell's
Living Dead Girl at Book Depository
For the audiobook, see the far right sidebar.
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2008
ISBN-13: 9781416960591
YTD: 91
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

24 comments:

Emm 10/18/10, 6:21 AM  

Gosh, this sounds really excellent. I am adding it ot my wishlist straight away. At first, I thought it sounded like a supernatural novel but now I get what it's about and it sounds intriguing.

Melody 10/18/10, 6:51 AM  

This is the first book I read by Elizabeth Scott, and definitely not my last. This is a powerful novel that linger in my mind long after I read it.

Vivienne 10/18/10, 7:00 AM  

I wonder if this one might just be too upsetting for me to read. I don't handle this type of storyline well. I am glad you enjoyed it though.

Kate 10/18/10, 8:00 AM  

When I go to book stores I tend to pull a pile of books off the shelves and sit down and read a chapter from each, to see if that particular book will be coming home with me. Living Dead Girl was one of those books, only I sat in Barnes and Noble and finished it right then and there. It is a hard subject matter to read about, but a powerful story all the same.

book caterpillar 10/18/10, 8:09 AM  

Wow, this novel sounds incredible, and its a great review too. I'm definitely going to read this now.
I've got a blog about books too, its http://thebook-caterpillar.blogspot.com

Jenn's Bookshelves 10/18/10, 9:16 AM  

I know it's hard to say we love a book with a dark storyline, but I loved this book. Scott's writing is so vivid you can't help but be drawn in to the story. This was the first book I read by this author and I became an instant fan. A must read by all, but by parents especially.

Alice Teh 10/18/10, 10:19 AM  

Great review! Even your review is making me think as I read along. This book has been on my Amazon wish list for so long, I have almost forgotten about it. You have just reminded me about it again.

Sandy Nawrot 10/18/10, 12:31 PM  

I just finished Room, so I've got the whole kidnapped thing still swirling around in my head. I am going to see if my library has this on audio, but I'm still not sure if it appropriate for my kids who are mature but not yet "teen". We'll see...

Julie P. 10/18/10, 12:55 PM  

I've been drawn to this book for quite awhile now. I think the cover grabs me too!

bermudaonion 10/18/10, 1:37 PM  

The cover of this book kind of horrifies me, but I'd still like to read it - it sounds so well written.

Romance Movies 10/18/10, 1:49 PM  

This sounds like a very hard book to read, but at the same time the description of the story that you gave was really intriguing. The cover art really catches your eye. Thanks for the great review!

Dorte H 10/18/10, 4:23 PM  

This one sounds absolutely appaling - but also appealing.

Amber 10/18/10, 5:41 PM  

This does sound like one of those books that is a real paradox but you cannot help but be glued to it.

Michelle 10/18/10, 7:31 PM  

I don't know why but I just can't bring myself to read this one. I always hear such fabulous things about it but that it's so disturbing. I don't know that I can bear it.

I'm glad you appreciated it!

Pam 10/18/10, 7:37 PM  

I really need to pick this one up.

Nise' 10/18/10, 8:50 PM  

I read this one last year and agree it was a powerful read. Now knowing that Kate narrates it, I will have to listen. (Kate went to my kids high school). I listened to her read Robin Wasserman's series and really enjoyed them.

Amused 10/18/10, 11:38 PM  

Wow this book sounds really unusual! I am very intrigued.

Beth Kephart 10/19/10, 8:13 AM  

Since I am now finishing my own story about an abduction (though a very different sort), I cannot read this until I am done. But eager to!

Beth Hoffman 10/19/10, 9:27 AM  

I can't bring myself to read books with this subject matter but I thoroughly enjoyed your review and watching the video.

Tribute Books Mama 10/19/10, 11:37 AM  

Might add this one to my pile, thanks!

Kris 10/19/10, 4:36 PM  

Glad to see you liked this one! I have a copy at home and hope to get to it sometime before the end of the year.

S. Krishna 10/20/10, 4:06 PM  

I really liked this one as well. Well, I think "like" is the wrong word, considering the subject matter. But you know what I mean!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 10/20/10, 8:37 PM  

Wow, this sounds really well written, and a nicely crafted story. But ... I don't know if I could handle it, I'd be thinking of my daughter and her cohort.

Andi 10/23/10, 9:51 PM  

I had a completely opposite reaction when I read this book several years ago. But for that very reason, I was excited to see the video of Scott talking about this one. I really enjoyed hearing some of her thoughts and how the book was born. I don't argue that it's perfectly fine for teens, I just wasn't a fan of the execution of the novel.

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