Reviews for Living Dead Girl
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Kidnapped and raped when she was ten years old, Alice, now fifteen and still held captive, is forced to lure a child to be her successor. Alice's flat, curt voice reflects her emptiness and despair. Lurid details of abuse are suggested obliquely in a horrifyingly matter-of-fact style. Scott's novel is repellent in exact proportion to the brilliance of its execution. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #6
This horror story goes far beyond the familiar YA subgenre of the sexual abuse novel. Alice used to have a real name -- Kyla -- and she used to live in a real home with loving parents. But when she was ten, a man named Ray offered her a ride home and took her instead to the forest, where he raped and beat her and subjugated her body and mind. She doesn't dare leave or ask for help, because Ray has told her that he will kill her parents if she does; and indeed, that is what appears to have happened to the parents of Ray's previous victim after she grew past Ray's desire and was found dead in the river. Now Alice is fifteen -- and Ray likes little girls. Like the pretty child Alice has chosen, at his bidding, to be her successor. Alice tells her story in a flat, curt voice that reflects her emptiness and despair, and the lurid details of Ray's sexual and physical abuse are suggested obliquely in a matter-of-fact style that is more horrifying than actual graphic description ("'You'll hold her,' he says, and everything I own is easily pushed down, away, clothes falling off me like water. 'You'll hold her and I'll love her.'"). A thoroughly unpleasant but magnetic read, Scott's novel is repellent in exact proportion to the brilliance of its execution. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 August #2
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 à 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 naïve 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) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 September #2
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.) [Page 52]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 October
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 [Page 159]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 February
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 longingScott 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.--Vikki Terrile 5Q 4P J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.