Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Living Dead Girl

Rate this book
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.

170 pages, Hardcover

First published September 2, 2008

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Elizabeth Scott

107 books3,459 followers
Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I live just outside Washington DC with my husband and dog, and am unable to pass a bookstore without stopping and going inside.

All right, and I can't leave without buying at least one book.

Usually two. (Or more!)

My website and blog are at elizabethwrites.com, and I'm also on twitter, tumblr, and facebook

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
9,512 (30%)
4 stars
10,495 (33%)
3 stars
7,796 (24%)
2 stars
2,546 (8%)
1 star
1,102 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,556 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 5, 2018
I probably would have liked this book more if i were a teenager or a pedophile. I mostly just read this for science. it came up in my collection development class when we were talking about challenged books (that doesn't mean that they are handicapped, but that they have been rarrred at by angry parents and other scared concerned types), but when i heard what it was about - i pretty much had to read it to see how an author handled this situation, because it seemed rough stuff for teen fiction. the basic premise - although i hate doing plot summaries - is that "alice" (the first-person narrator)is kidnapped when she is ten and physically and sexually abused for 5 years, but when she starts to develop physically beyond her captor's personal preference, he enlists her help in selecting her own replacement. so -ew. and i don't know anything about psychology, child or otherwise, so i don't know the terminology, but she just completely shuts down, emotionally, into a not-quite-stockholm syndrome - she doesn't align herself with him for anything but self-preservation, but she has just given up fighting and does what he wants, because he has made threats about hurting her family etc. so - she has all this freedom to leave the house and go to the park to find this new-child for him, but she can't do anything to save herself, which is very frustrating for the reader.The author gets 5 stars for balls - for tackling the subject matter to begin with and for the ending which i'm sure had some people up in startled emotional flight mode.and as a cautionary tale, it should also get 5 stars, although a teen audience is a little old for the caution, and any younger readers would be traumatized beyond therapy. do not give this book to your 8-year-old. just tell them to stay away from unmarked vans. i just personally didn't connect to it. the subject matter is horrifying, but in the abstract, and this character's shutdown response didn't make me want to save her so much as walk in, splash some water on her and say "snap out of it". when i was little, these were my literary kidnapping equivalents:

and they were way more gentle in terms of what the girls went through, wayyyy fewer forced blowjobs, but it gave me a total sense of confidence - if i got my ass kidnapped, i could get out of it with my cleverness. i used to dream about being kidnapped, and the ways i would elude my tormentors. it's probably a really good thing i was never actually kidnapped, because this here book is probably closer to the reality - feisty kids don't always win, but this might have made me a little more of a shut-in, and may have ruined my devil-may-care years, so i would have lost some good adventure-stories. i didn't personally love this book, but there's no reason it shouldn't be in a library. libraries are full of books. you don't like this one, don't write an angry letter, just go read another one. hell, i'm about to.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
May 17, 2015

Well, the book leaves scars I can definitely tell you that much. I didn't know quite what to expect from this book, all I'd heard about it previously was that it's a story about abuse and a very short read (170 pages, large writing in my edition). I'd heard reviewers describe it as 'disturbing', but I didn't dwell on that too much, I assumed that when you've read a couple of Stephen King's books (namely It, Misery, etc.) you'd pretty much got your heard around 'disturbing'.

I was wrong. The author draws you in with her unique and just plain strange writing style, despite being weird it's also very effective. It takes us deep inside the mind of a person who has not only suffered extreme physical and sexual abuse (though there's been plenty of that) but has also been so psychologically damaged that her hope is only for death to come swiftly, she is so desperate that she is even willing to sacrifice a young girl to make her suffering end. And, awful as that is, I couldn't hate her for it.

I've read a number of books where the first person narrative is by someone mentally damaged; some work (e.g. The Bell Jar), most do not. Scott's not only worked, but affected me deeply. I could also see how Ray's past experiences of abuse and a loveless childhood had made him the monster he was, he was never meant to be redeemed, but perhaps understood to some extent. The entire story was very fast, very horrifying and completely unforgettable. My first thoughts when I put it down were "I have to get someone else to read this now", despite it not being something I'd normally go about recommending to friends with a casual "enjoy!" thrown in.

It's labelled a young adult novel, god knows why but it is. This book would have given me nightmares a few years ago - and it may well give me nightmares tonight. I don't think for one second that this is particularly a children/teenage story, in fact it's debatable as to whether or not it's actually suitable for them at all. The writing itself is neither simplistic or teen/child-oriented, but deep and complex.

I certainly won't forget this book, whether or not that's a good thing though, remains undecided.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,633 reviews34k followers
June 23, 2011
Is it possible to write a story about a child being imprisoned and make it gut-wrenching and relevant? After the disappointment of various different books I've read recently involving kidnapping and child endangerment, I wasn't sure, particularly when it comes to the YA genre. But after reading Living Dead Girl, I have my answer: it's yes. Resoundingly, unequivocally, yes.

15-year-old "Alice" has lived with Ray since she was 10. Kidnapped from a school field trip and taken to Shady Pines Apartments, she lives among ordinary people who don't really see her or don't really want to. Every day Ray cuddles her on his lap and forces her to submit to him, punishing her with his fists and his words if she does anything to displease him. Her attempts to defy him--including one botched escape--are met with out-of-control violence until her resistance is completely beaten down.

This is not an easy book to read. While it is not explicit, the terrible things that Alice is subjected to are not glossed over. I've seen some criticisms that the book goes overboard in describing what she is forced to do, but I disagree. The reality is that there are children out there who have been and no doubt currently are subjected to this kind of torture, and the description and repetition of these acts helps us to understand in some small way what victims have to go through. I never thought the descriptions crossed the line in terms of tastelessness or exploitation.

The author does an incredible job of describing Alice's terror and confusion, as well as her eventual numbness. There are many details worked into the story that have a ring of truth, including the dull repetition of her days watching tv, the anxiety when Ray comes home, the punishments meted out for small infractions, the attempts to keep her small and childlike, Alice's lank appearance and poor circulation from lack of nutrition, etc. Most importantly, the author touches on the way abuse tends to perpetrate more abuse and the awful resignation that Alice begins to feel to her plight.

I don't understand why my shell keeps living. Breathing. Why won't it listen to me, to the little part I have that isn't Ray, to that tiny once upon a time girl who just wants to close her eyes and never wake up again?

There were so many details that made me hurt with empathy for Alice, not only in relation to her sexual abuse, but also in relation to the way Ray starves her as a means to control her and to keep her from growing up. The descriptions of her sharp hunger after days of eating practically nothing were heart-wrenching. Alice describes tasting a sandwich with "not one, but two slices of...salty cheese and slippery ham and cottony bread, so light in my mouth. I could eat these forever, until the world ended and beyond."

I have a great deal of admiration for the author for writing about this subject with such restraint and sympathy. This isn't a perfect book--I thought the "once upon a time" device was repetitious and not entirely successful--but it is a searingly memorable one that handles a difficult subject with great skill. I don't feel that "serious" books that are primarily about kidnapping and imprisonment are enjoyable for the sake of pure entertainment, and that's the primary objection I have to the fictional books I've previously read that deal with this subject. I go into this more in my review of the disappointing and much-lauded Room, but suffice to say that what I hope to gain from reading about such unhappy subjects are some degree of insight (into both the victim's suffering and the perpetrator's motivation) as well as a great deal of empathy. I got both in spades with Living Dead Girl.

Recommended for adults or mature teens only.

Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
634 reviews571 followers
December 13, 2019
Edit: the pedophile I'm talking about in my review died this year (2019).

I came across this book one day watching some BookTube video named "All Time Favorites". It's blurb got me interested so I bought it but haven't picked it up for a couple of months.

Yesterday, I didn't feel like reading any book I already started but didn't want to commit myself to another one, so this book seemed like an obvious choice because it's pretty short.

I finished this book in a day but it's story will stuck with me for a long, long time. I hope it will stuck forever.

Unfortunately, I can't say it was an eye opener. Since I was a not so little but still little girl I knew this world is populated with pedophiles. I spend days and days with my little girlfriends playing in the yard of one. Petting his dogs and eating candies he would give to us.
I had an older sister to figure out his intentions. I had Sister in my church to tell me that we children have to tell someone how he is acting when we are with him when grown ups weren't around.
Still, somehow, we thought telling it would be wrong. somehow, we were scared of what would it happen' if we tell someone.

I had "luck" and he didn't do any physical abuse to me, but not all my friends had the same "luck" (although I still remember all those pictures and posters full with naked ladies he showed to us once).
Two of my friends he forced to french kiss him when he got them alone. Other two, sisters, he not only forced them into kissing, he touched them.
Not one of them told their parents, and nobody ever sued him.

Today, he is still a free man, thank God too sick to go out of his house, but still, he got away with everything.
We were not the first generation he "played" with. Later, we found out what he did to us, he already did to one of my girlfriend's mom.
Still, she had let her daughter to go in his yard. She thought her daughter is safe as long as she is not all alone with him.
And everyone kept quiet about our neighbor pedophile.
Nobody was brave enough to accuse him because he didn't actually rape anyone.
I wonder if that is even true.

I feel like me and my sister are the only ones who are calling him how he deserves to be called: a pedophile. Because he is one, no matter if he didn't actually rape anyone. At least not that we know of.

Still, as we do that, we are the ones others are looking at like we do something wrong. Not him.
He got away.
Because of everyone who knew and did nothing. Including myself and my sister. Because we didn't do any legal accusation after we became adults, and now the statute of limitations is in power.
We missed our chance.

What this book did to me, it reminded me how people are turning their heads off when someone needs them to look, to see.
I really, really hope everyone will read this or similar book at some point of their lives and they will open their eyes and look. And if they see, they will tell out loud in the world that monster is among them.
I hope people will realize that by protecting the monster, we become one as well.

This is the work of fiction, but trust me, the world is full of Alices and Rays. They are real. Now. In this moment. In this world.
Don't look away.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,192 reviews2,901 followers
February 25, 2009
Elizabeth Scott is a genius. A literary genius. I’ve read some of Elizabeth’s other titles, and I find myself wondering, how can these be written by the same person. And I don’t mean that in a Stephenie Meyer/Breaking Dawn way. To have that kind of diverse talent, it is simply effing amazing.

I read this book in one setting. It is truly powerful. The emotion– sadness, despair it’s so apparent it’s freaky. How can I say that I loved a book about abduction, sexual abuse, and suffering? Why do you look out your car window when you drive by the scene of an accident, do you want to see a dead, possibly mutilated body? But I did, I loved it. It was a masterpiece. And not because of what it was about, but because of how it made me feel.

It’s gripping, enthralling and completely horrifying. The most disturbing parts aren’t even written, but left to the reader to fill in the sickening details. I’ve read suggestions that this book shouldn’t be targeted to a teen audience. Why? Because ignorance is bliss? Because we don’t need to add to the things that teenagers are desensitized from? Don’t worry if you ignore the situation it will go away. That’s how our society deals with those things, right? Just sweep it under the rug. No one will have to know that the world is a dirty place. Do you ever have one of those moments where you want to let out a good frustrated scream... yeah, this is one of those times....

Elizabeth Scott you’re my hero.

Profile Image for Emily.
454 reviews40 followers
February 7, 2011
UGH. I never had any intention of reading this book until Bitch Magazine posted a list of Feminist YA books on their website this weekend and, much to my surprise, this was on it. I questioned its place on the list, a staffer said they'd look into it, and I second guessed myself. Turns out I was right the first time: this isn't feminist at all. What's more, I'd say that this is the literary equivalent of torture porn, except worse than anything you'll actually ever see on the big screen; this book has no redeeming social value whatsoever.

(Edited a week later to add some thoughts I've better developed since discussing with librarian buddies who both love and hate this book.)

I can't deny that this book will appeal to horror-hungry teens, and as a librarian I have to give it credit for that. But frankly, it is ONLY as a genre horror novel that I can give it credit. Same way I don't want to watch Hostel, I don't want to read books like this. Clearly some people do, so however much I personally might have hated the experience of reading it, I can accept that this is a different strokes kind of thing. But I have a real problem with this book being marketed as anything other than horror. It SHOCKS me that anyone could call this a feminist work.

Does it make sense to say that the bleakness of this book makes it pointless? I just wonder, what does a teen reader, or any reader, have to hold onto at the end? Kyla is already apparently damaged beyond repair when the book begins, completely broken and tragic, but well on her way to monstrous, too: using her own sexuality to control others who she perceives as being weak; viciously mean when she has the opportunity to be; positively gleeful over the thought of freeing herself at the cost of another girl's freedom. It seems to me that with the ending she gives us, Scott lazily skirts around the possibility of recovery, of any possible empowerment or justice. And I'm not someone who thinks every book should have a happy (or even optimistic) ending, I just think that THIS book becomes pointless without one. There's no story here -- this is a completely bleak and voyeuristic snapshot of horrific abuse and NOTHING ELSE, merely something you tell little girls to scare them into submission. I think, in the end, a reader has nothing to gain from this book except for a good scare (which it certainly delivers), and I think that does discredit it, pretty much entirely, as a piece of serious literary fiction.

I will say that I thought Scott's writing was much, much better here than in the very boring and awkward Perfect You (except for the dialog, which this author cannot write at all).

But all in all I was happier person before I read this, and the world was probably a better place before it was written. Yuck. A million yucks. I want a shower.

For a better, smarter captor/captive book, try Room. For a better, smarter abuse book, try Push.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
July 23, 2010
Well, people who have told me that "Living Dead Girl" was a horrifying book were absolutely correct. This is definitely one of the most depressing and scary stories I have ever read. Basically every sentence of this novel is a painful assault on your psyche. The descriptions of daily physical, psychological and sexual abuse are almost impossible to bear.

I have to give Elizabeth Scott kudos for creating a very realistic in its atrociousness story that won't leave anyone untouched. The despicable routine of Alice's existence is mortifying; her complete defeat and her willingness to put another child in her own place just to get some peace (even if that peace equals death) are awfully terrifying and yet strangely understandable; the portrayal of Alice's abuser with his broken childhood and his twisted view of love rings true as well. It is obvious Scott has done her research and got a great grasp of psyches of both the abuser and the abused.

However if I were ever to talk to the writer of "Living Dead Girl," I would tell her that if you create a disturbing story like this, if you take your readers on such an emotional roller-coaster, you'd better come up with a better ending than the one we were offered. If there is no hope or inspiration, such a tale becomes simply a horror story with nothing to learn, an exercise at psychological manipulation if you will.

But my major problem with this book is that it is written for young adults. I don't quite understand the purpose of subjecting kids to this kind of story. It is definitely not a cautionary tale (as it might be for adults) as they would be too old for that and it sure doesn't teach them any lessons. The only thing this book will achieve is to scare them out of their sleep due to endless depictions of various assaults which in spite of their vagueness are quite graphic.

Overall, "Living Dead Girl" is a memorable albeit painful read. Not the book I would widely recommend and certainly not the one for younger readers.
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,529 followers
February 9, 2017

“I look wrong.
I look dead.
I'm not, though. I'm only partway there, a living dead girl.
I have been for five years.”

‘Alice’ is a 15 years old girl who was kidnapped when she was 10 and taken to Shady Pines Apartments. She lives with her captor, Ray, who pretends they are father and daughter. But Ray doesn’t treat ‘Alice’ like a daughter. He abuses her in every way possible, calling her ‘his little girl’, demanding to be a good girl for her daddy. Alice learnt the hard way that she’s alone in all this. Her neighbors choose not to notice there’s something strange is going on in their home or that Ray is a sick psycho. No one sees her. Alice ‘accepts’ all this because she wants to protect her parents. She wants them to stay alive, to have a life. However, she tried to escape once, but her situation got worse, Ray becoming more abusive.

This was a dark, gritty, disturbing read and I definitely not enjoyed it. It felt more real than other reads since we all know things like this happens all the time. My heart broke for Alice. She’s so psychologically damaged, so afraid and so confused at times. She’s only 15 years old, but at times she felt more mature than that. Well, I guess all the abuse she suffered over the years changed her. She wants to be ‘free’ so badly that she agrees at some point to help Ray to kidnap a little girl. She wants to survive and she’s ready to do anything to stop her suffering. The internal conflict is done well and despite everything I really understand ‘Alice’. She only wants to survive.

The writing style was unique, the story fast paced and gripping, yet gut-wrenching and haunting.

Overall, a great read!

“I thought living dead girls couldn't feel pain, thought I was emptied out but I'm not, I'm not.”
Profile Image for Julie.
3,000 reviews47 followers
September 2, 2008
This book is amazing. I picked it up on a whim, one of the few YA books we had enough copies of at work for me to borrow. Living Dead Girl tells a chilling story from the perspective of "Alice," a 15-year-old who was abducted at age 10 by a man named Ray, who proceeds to spend 5 years molding her into the perfect object of his desire, both physically and mentally.

The book is incredibly disturbing - as it should be. I wanted the entire time to just run to where she was, break the door down and get her out of there. I think what makes it so intense is watching "Alice" go from complete despair to find a thin, tiny thread of hope... and what results.

It is chilling to watch her helping to plot the abduction of another girl - even younger this time - she is SO willing to help commit another terrible act just to get her abductor's attention away from her.

The end is scary, dramatic, disturbing, triumphant - all rightfully so, and brought a jarring close to the story of "Alice." And yet, I'm happy for her...

It's hard to say who I'd recommend this book to, exactly. It's definitely very difficult, disturbing subject matter. I would mostly say adults should read it rather than teenagers. I think it is a cry for help for ALL children trapped in this kind of situation. It's a cry for everyone to pay attention to what is going on around them, ask questions, don't just shrug off your suspicions. People in these situations often cannot fend for themselves, or make the move to free themselves, so others need to be more proactive in watching for the signs.

All in all, this book greatly affected me, and I'd definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,455 followers
April 19, 2009
I struggled with how to rate this book -- from 1 star, to 5 stars, to no stars. There is a part of me that regrets ever having picked up this book, and definitely a part of me that (for better or worse) will never forget reading it. My first visceral reaction to it was that Scott had penned an outrageously exploitative, gratuitous book, one so gruesome in parts, and so fully realized, that I felt like an accomplice, aiding and abetting "Alice's" abductor. The book left me reeling from shock and revulsion. Yes, it's that graphic.

I will say what I said after reading Jerzy Kosiński's The Painted Bird: "Can people really be that cruel and savage towards one another? Of course they can, I just don't like to be reminded of it especially by a writer with such obvious talents." And Elizabeth Scott is a very talented writer, and in her hands, this story will not just haunt you, but hurt you.

Having said that, this is an important book, one that throws a spotlight on a taboo subject we all wish didn't exist. But it does exist, for countless abducted children, and for countless children victimized by family or friends. I had a friend explain to me why she thought this book is so important, and I had to agree with her: this book doesn't make us an accomplice, but rather a witness -- in the reading we are bearing witness to such awful, indescribable crimes, much as we would when reading a book about the Holocaust. You bear witness so that you won't ever forget all those nameless, faceless victims. We bear witness so that maybe next time, we will recognize when something's "not right", we will identify the child in distress who cannot ask for help.

I did not enjoy this book; it ranks as one of the most difficult and assaulting reads of my life. But Scott has told an amazing story, giving voice to a voiceless victim, restoring humanity to a young girl who thought she had every bit of hers ripped away.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,481 reviews7,777 followers
November 30, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“I decide everything. Remember that.” God and monster all in one, and mine to worship.

First of all . . . .

Well, minus the crying. This was rough, but it takes more than a brutal storyline to get me to squirt some tears (more specifically, my period). Living Dead Girl is about – here I’ll just let the book tell you . . . .

“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.”

When Alice was 10 years old, her class took a field trip to the local aquarium. Alice got separated from everyone after being disappointed in the lack of dolphins and opting to go see the penguins on her own. It was there that she met a gentlemen who informed her that her class was now watching a movie and he would show her to the theater. Five years have passed since that day. Five years since Alice has seen her mother and father. Five years since she last saw her house at 623 Daisy Lane. Five years of living with Ray . . . .

“You can get used to anything. You think you can’t, you want to die, but you don’t. You won’t. You just are.”

I had never even heard of this book until over the weekend and I’ll be damned if I can remember what “if you liked this, you should try THIS” list it popped up on over at the Faceplace, but I am completely blown away I haven’t seen it over and over again on the Banned Books Week suggestions. To whoever decided to market this as a Young Adult selection, I give you mad props because you must have balls the size of watermelons. I can only assume the pitch was something of a “think of this like a modernized after school special.”

Living Dead Girl is definitely a story each parent will have to decide for themselves if they think their child should read (and I encourage parents to read this first before allowing your kid to check it out). While there are not necessarily specific details given regarding the abuse Alice suffers, that does not make the story less graphic and two-and-two is easily put together regarding all of the goings on. As the story progresses there’s a solid chance questions will arise about some of Alice’s behaviors and what she is willing to do in order to no longer be the focus of Ray’s attention. Not to mention that, much like in real life, a tale like this cannot have a happy ending. Assuming my children would actually read on their own voluntarily, I would probably attempt to keep this one off their TBR until high school. Highly recommended to anyone who thinks they can handle it and zero judgment for anyone who knows they can't.
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
February 17, 2012
Here's what I'd like to know: What made Elizabeth Scott go from Sarah Dessen to Ellen Hopkins and back again? Scott's fourth YA offering, Living Dead Girl, is so far removed from her other works that I'm finding it hard to believe they're even written by the same author. Living Dead Girl is raw and repulsive, whereas all of Scott's other stories are sunshine and butterflies swirling over romantic heads.
When an author begins writing, they usually decide what sort of stories they will write most often, what genre they'd like to be best known for. Create a brand for themselves, if you will. I just don't know how Scott could go from this to the fluffy chick-lit stories she writes nowadays.

It is as if Scott just sat down and started typing the most abhorrent story she could think of. Although the discriptions aren't graphic, the reader knows all too well what is happening to Alice, again and again and again .
She is starved in order to be kept small, because when Ray took her she was only ten and is now fifteen. She's allowed to weigh no more than 100 pounds and lives off of mostly yogurt and scraps that he occasionally allows her to have. If it weren't for her sneaking and eating food left by people in their apartment's laundry room and other sorts of hideouts, she'd be dead by now.
She is raped — both vaginally and orally — multiple times each day. She lives to serve Ray, is seldom allowed to speak and her education ended when she fell into Ray's clutches. That is, her normal education. With Ray she has been taught all sorts of nasty things.
As he would have it, they live under the pretense that he is her father, but of course her real parents are long gone. They live at 623 Daisy Lane, and should Alice ever try to escape from her hell on earth, Ray will go to her parents' house and burn it to the ground.
The girl whom Ray had before her, Alice (he names all of his children this; the current Alice's real name isn't revealed until the very end), was killed at fifteen and found floating in the river. The Alice of today figures that he'll surely soon tire of her and pick a new little girl, but every time he threatens her life survival instincts kick in and she begs to be allowed to live. Even though she isn't really living, merely existing.

The fact is, with the blunt news stories and knowledge that most people have, it doesn't take a very active imagination to guess at some of the sick things that happen in this world. Therefore I see no point to this story. And it's supposed to be for a teen audience? I'm sorry but, WTF?
And I understand that bittersweet absolution is the only form of a happy ending that could work here , but if there could be something to learn, to take, from this story — other than that paranoia isn't a bad thing when it comes to your children and that the word overprotective should never be applied to a careful parent — I'd be more inclinded to see the reasoning behind the creation of a story such as this. But as it stands, other than scarring the reader for life, I don't see the relevance of this story.
And I cannot, in good conscience, say that I actually liked this book and its contents. For that reason, I can give it no more than 2.5 stars rounded down to 2.
Profile Image for Susan.
384 reviews
October 10, 2008
It's hard to say that I liked this book. I am still mulling over it and find it remarkably disturbing. A fictional account of a 15 year old girl, "Alice", who was not always Alice. She used to be a sheltered, spoiled girl until days before her 10th birthday when she is abducted by a sexual predator named Ray. And she is not Ray's first victim--she is terrified into staying with him, despite the fact that he leaves her alone every day to go to work, because he threatens to kill her family if she leaves. He killed the last Alice when she turned 15, as a womanly shape is not to his liking. Then he killed Alice's parents, and well before then he killed his own sexually abusive mother.

Now that Alice is 15 she wants nothing more for him to end her life as the living dead girl, the girl who is neither living nor able to die. She is a shell of what she once was. People do not notice her. They have lived in their apartment several years, yet she goes mostly unnoticed. Neighnors even praise Ray's parenting a "different" girl who requires home schooling. However, Ray's plans for her are much more sinister than mere murder. Alice will help him find his next youthful victim, and she will hold her hands while he breaks her in, she will teach the new girl what Ray likes. Initially Alice is more than happy to do this. She is so damaged that rather than being horrifed at this possibily she is anxious to find someone that Ray would rather be with than her, someone to unspoil, show them what the cruel world is like. Alice will steal her food to keep her small - as Alice herself is practically starved to remain a prepubescent 100 pounds who does not menstruate, who does not have hips or breasts.

So, Alice finds 6 year old Lucy (whom Ray will call Annabelle) at the park. She also meets Barbara, a police woman who has taken notice of her frail appearance. Over several days time, she seduces Lucy's stoner brother Jake as a distraction so that Ray can take her. But the numbness begins to wear off, and Jake notices Ray watching her and she weakly asks for help. In the end, Jake returns with a gun when Ray tries to grab hold of the screaming Annbelle. He shoots him, thinking himself the hero until he realizes that he's also shot Alice in the stomach -- before dying she tells Jake her real name (which the reader finally learns is Kyla) and address and she collapses underneath Ray's weight and is "finally free".

A devastating as it is, there really was no other way for this story to end happily. Alice is damaged beyond repair, I don't see how she could have recovered and lived a normal life after the 5 years of sexual, physical, and mental abuse she was subjected to. I'm just glad that Ray met his end and that ultimately she met her end because of him it wasn't by his hand.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 66 books9,703 followers
February 18, 2010
Terrifying. The ending wasn't what I'd hoped for, but not because it was bad. Because it was real.
Profile Image for Melany.
535 reviews84 followers
March 2, 2022
Wow, such a sad sad book due to what happens to the little girl in it. Heartbreaking. Was hard to get through due to the stuff that happens but such a moving book. I'm out of words... so glad the ending turned out how it did.
Profile Image for Melissa .
643 reviews59 followers
May 16, 2021
I can recognize quality writing when I see it and I have to admit that while I did not like or enjoy (if that is even possible) this book it is well written. This review is not a criticism of the author's writing, she is an excellent writer.

I am usually pretty liberal when it comes to teen books I understand that teen books are often on the cutting edge and pushing the boundaries of comfort for their readers to introduce them to the world we live in.

The reasons for which I gave this book only one star are many. On a personal level this book was very disturbing. I read it because it was recommended to me and people I respect believe that it will be a canidate for the awards. I do believe giving it an award would be a mistake. When we give a book an award it is the same as saying this is a great book and I recommend that you read this book. I am concerned that this book is not appropriate for the intended audience. I can not see recommending this book to any teenager--their parents would have my head if I were to do so. One of the reviews I read for this book described it as "vivid not graphic." I have to differ with this opinion. I found the book to be too graphic.

Cautions to readers: Abuse of several kinds take place in this book, verbal, physical, and sexual. Very graphic and distubing.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
February 10, 2015
Reading this book was a terribly shocking experience! How the author boldly recounts a story of a young girl that is a victim of pedophilia is so vivid and blatant, I was truly horrified. It was horrible to know what Alice (whose real name is Kyla) went through in the hands of the creepy perverted psychopath, Ray (whose actions were also motivated by the same dark past in the hands of a pedophilic mother) and it was painful to see Kyla’s life slip away at 15. The story being short and direct, I think has something to do with its main message which is “what happens to little girls who neglect this very important safety rule- never talk to strangers.”

One good thing in this story is when Kyla finally finds her voice towards the end of the story enabling her to save a little girl, Lucy from the same ill fate in the hands of Ray. The ending, though abrupt and short gives hope to the readers and to Kyla.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
January 5, 2010
This is truly a horrific book; one that I want to forget, but probably never will.

The writing is superb, but the content is beyond my cognitive comprehension…truly disturbing, haunting and poignant that propelled me to a level of angst I wasn't prepared to experience. I was warned to proceed with caution on this book and being the curious person that I am, I didn't listen. BIG.MISTAKE. The story was about a 10 year old girl that was abducted from a school trip by a sexual predator. After five years of being his captive and having been abused in ways I want to forget, Alice is a Living Dead Girl… someone no one sees and more importantly no one saves.

Elizabeth Scott brings to the forefront the truth behind the reason abducted victims don't seek help and accept their broken life… one word… fear. I'll never forget the address 623 Daisy Lane… This is the first time I am giving 5 stars to a book I can say I truly hated, but it does deserve the rating... unchartered territory, brutally honest and disturbingly realistic. Not recommended for the faint at heart or young adults, trust me on this.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
April 12, 2017
Living Dead Girl is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It's memorable in its scariness and in its realness.

The protagonist has been the victim of sexual abuse by a much older man for years. Her only hope is to draw another girl into her fate and await her own murder. The author draws you in with an interesting writing style and suspenseful tone, keeping you hooked to the end. Her usage of a dry narrative style with less punctuation really added emotion here.

But this isn't just a cheap thriller; Alice's character is extremely strong. She's borderline sociopathic, but we can see exactly how she got to that point. It's impossible not to sympathize and want her happy.

Definitely recommended for fans of both suspense and real-issue contemporaries, because this is somehow both.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
October 22, 2008
This is one of the most gripping and brutal novels for teens I have ever read. It is the story of Alice, who was abducted as a 10-year-old by Ray, who has sexually and emotionally abused her for five years. Alice knows that if she tries to escape, her entire family will be killed. Now Ray has started starving her to try to maintain her childlike body, not allowing her to get over 100 pounds. His violence is also increasing as are his death threats. Alice has long wanted to die, but death eludes her time and again though she wishes for it often. Ray now wants a new little girl to join them, so Alice is allowed to head to a park and start scouting for what she can only hope will be her replacement.

This is a book that makes you want to scream. It's depictions of the horrors of Alice's life are so plainly laid out, unflinchingly documented, and horribly vivid. Scott's writing can be poetic at times, underlining the brutality and desperation of the book. Her pacing is perfection, leaving readers gasping for air as the oppressive nature of the story becomes too much. This is a book that you will set down, only to return to immediately. It is a book that will linger in your mind, enter your dreams, and change the way you see. It is a book that is brutal truth that we often turn away from. It is suffocating, dreadful, horrific and supremely, magically human all at the same time.

Heart-wrenching in its honesty, this book will appeal to many teens. Hand it to the fans of A Child Called It. Appropriate for ages 16-18.
Profile Image for Shayantani.
312 reviews851 followers
January 7, 2012
“no one would listen. I could have screamed a million times in a million voices and no one would have ever heard me. I did,every time I left the apartment, with every step I took out in the world. All those cries, and no one ever heard them” Alice..
Profile Image for Razan.
174 reviews23 followers
April 27, 2017
That was so horrifying and heartbreaking !!!
And it's so sad that these things do happen in real life and some of those criminals getaway with it T^T
Profile Image for Shawnaci Schroeder.
123 reviews520 followers
September 5, 2023
2/5 ⭐️

- This is not an easy book to read. Even though it isn’t extremely explicit, it’s so heartbreaking and sad. The author does a great job of exposing all of the feelings Alice goes through on a daily basis. The writing almost feels poetic at times but in a deeply heart wrenching way.
- I was VERY surprised that this is a YA novel. It truly feels like something that would be really heavy for teens, especially with the ending being the way that it was. I struggle with how to rate this book because the writing was easy to read, but the content was so hard to digest. What was even harder to digest was that no matter the outcome, Alice would still have a tough life because she was completely changed which leaves you with such a deep feeling of hopelessness.
- I didn’t fully grasp the ending and whole purpose of the book. I honestly can’t really imagine myself recommending this either. Now back to my happy fluffy easy romances.
Profile Image for lauren ♡.
545 reviews108 followers
August 18, 2016
Read this review @ my blog Wonderless Reviews

Trigger warning: This book includes graphic violence and rape scenes and deals with pedophilia.

I often start my reviews by saying, “I’m not quite sure how to review this” but when I say this about Living Dead Girl I truly mean it. This is one of the most upsetting and disturbing books I’ve ever read.

I added Living Dead Girl to my TBR on Goodreads years ago so when I found it out a local library sale for 50c I bought and read it right away. I knew nothing about this book other than the vague blurb implied an abduction and that its Goodreads reviews all talked about how creepy it was. I presumed it would follow a similar pattern to most YA books that deal with this subject and having read one of Elizabeth Scott’s other books Bloom (which was quiet terrible) I wasn’t expecting much. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The plot centers around a girl named “Alice” who was abducted by a man called Ray five years ago when she was a child. We see Alice’s day-to-day struggles having to deal with Ray’s physical and emotional abuse. Ray decides Alice is no longer young enough and sets her a task to abduct a new girl and everything spirals from there.

“Three life lessons:
1.No one will see you.
2.No one will say anything.
3.No one will save you.”

You will feel so many emotions reading this book. Even if you’re not an empathetic person it’ll be hard not to – at some stage in this book – empathise with Alice. This book will break your heart.

The thing that hit me the hardest with Living Dead Girl was how utterly realistic it was. I felt like I was reading somebody’s personal memoir. A lot of times these themes can be romanticised or used for shock value, but this book was like someone poured their heart and soul into writing about an experience they actually went through. Elizabeth Scott handled these subjects as brilliantly as someone could when dealing with such sensitive topics. I normally love dark books and it takes a lot to get to me, but boy did this book get to me. It was extremely confronting and brutal. As much as we don’t want to think about it awful things like this happen all the time and we are all blissfully oblivious and unaware. This is highlighted by the opening paragraph were we’re in the point of view of a random inhabitant of the complex where Ray and Alice are who just presumes Ray is Alice’s father and that Alice is his “ungrateful” teenage daughter.

“I don’t understand why my shell keeps living. Breathing. Why won’t it listen to me, to the little part I have that isn’t Ray, to that tiny once upon a time girl who just wants to close her eyes and never wake up again?”

Living Dead Girl is more a character study on victims and their attackers. We really get into the mind of Alice and feel everything she feels. Ray allows Alice to leave their appartment as long as she follows the rules he gives her. He threatens that he’ll kill her parents if she doesn’t listen. As a reader you may be frustrated by the amount of times Alice is able to seemingly rescue herself from the situation she’s in but doesn’t. I actually appreciated this though because I think people underestimate the power of emotional abuse and in Alice’s case it’s been amplified by Stockholm Syndrome and physical/sexual abuse. Ray has told Alice over and over again since she was a child that if she doesn’t obey him her family would die. Her believing him is heartbreakingly accurate.

One of the saddest things, besides having to witness all the trauma Alice goes through, is seeing her will and strength constantly build up and then be broken down. She’ll start feeling determined about escaping, but then of course the years of abuse she’d suffered comes back and she will shrink down and admit defeat. Or, on a more confronting sense of strength she’ll wish for death and want Ray to kill her, but then she’ll give up on that too.

“I am the living dead girl because I am too weak to die.”

It seems wrong to talk about this book in a technical sense, but despite the lack of plot the chapters are all really short and so fast paced that it’s impossible not to read this book in one sitting. The writing is poetic, but done in a way without romanticising the situation. I know some people have a problem with the abuse that Alice suffers being “too” descriptive, but someone who has experienced this thing in real life didn’t have the privilege of having them sugarcoated so why should we? I understand people’s concerns when abuse is used as a plot device and in that sense I agree, but with how realistic this book is it was definitely justified.

My review is shorter than usual because there’s nothing else I can really say without giving away the ending. This book is not an easy read. No review or anything I say will even be enough to prepare you, but if you can deal with these subject matters I can’t recommend it enough. One of the reasons this book affected me so much was because I have young siblings and the thought of this happening to them made me feel sick. Then I remembered that these thing have happened to someone’s sibling or child or friend. Just because these issues are confronting and truly awful doesn’t mean we should forget they exist or not talk about them. I appreciate Elizabeth Scott for talking about this in a way that was respectful and realistic and making 170 pages hit me harder than any other full length novel that I’ve read. There is no way I can give this book any less than 5 stars.
Profile Image for Penny.
215 reviews1,367 followers
February 23, 2012
A difficult book for a mother of three little girls to read. Frightening. Devastating. Heartbreaking. I hate this book because it made me feel so much, too much. Reduced me to genuine sobs, as if I was mourning the passing of a loved one. This story will haunt me forever. I am able appreciate Living Dead Girl for these reasons.

Regardless of the content, the subject matter, Living Dead Girl is well-crafted. Every word has a purpose, every sentence deliberate. The imagery is in-your-face, brazen, yet at the same time it's so subtle. I don't know how Elizabeth Scott managed to do that. How many other authors can do that? Clearly Scott knows what she's doing. She possesses rare gift. Four stars.
June 1, 2015
Some books entertain. Some amaze. Some scare. Some bore. The lines are always clear. We almost always know what kind of books we had in hand. We have many ways to help us define them. Genres.Publisher. Author. Reviews. Star-ratings.
This book,however,transcends lines. It's the kind that tears. The kind that gnaws at your subconscious in the middle of the night. On one hand,the writing is excellent and so very effective. The world built solidly. The characters so real you won't be surprised if they grabbed you by the hand and pull you into the pages. The plot seamless. If we are only to consider Elizabeth Scotts immense talent this book would easily get a 5star rating.
On the other hand,there's the fact that this must be one of the most disturbing book ever written. Yes, the very dark and dangerous materials were handled so well. But. That's. The. Point. Exactly. This brilliant author did such a spectacular job in creating such a horrific and painful atmosphere of being trapped,abused, and hurt that I feel utterly suffocated just by reading all about it. And the violence is too much. Too much. I'm aware those kind of horrible things are possibly happening to some helpless,little girls somewhere but that just made me more sick. The villain of this book is simply beyond description. He's the kind I'd enjoy killing brutally if he were a real person and standing in front of me. (Though God forbid!!!) Yet the evil of this is nothing like fictional evil, no mutated giant rats invading the earth nor zombies looking like Abercrombie slash Fitch tempting teenage girls to join the dark them to the dark side. No,this is the kind of simple,sick everyday evil. The kind that makes you cringe. The kind that makes you want to close your eyes. It's like that with this book,you know that feeling of being fascinated with a video of a carcrash. All the time I'm going nonono can't take this anymore!but keep on turning the pages. Thank God the book is only a few pages. It's over soon. The last chapter left me stunned.
In my mind I'm screaming You Are Free Now! Please! Stop! You're free...
What? What did you say?
I am free.
Just like that,like a final blow in the gut.

So... I'm wondering how could this one possibly be nominated for all those children's and teen's stuff reading selections and such because personally I won't advise anyone below 15 to read this without adult supervision or something. But I still can't find it in my heart to give it lower than 3 stars because Scott is such a talented writer. So three stars. More like 2.5.....Ok,3.
Profile Image for Donna.
549 reviews5 followers
November 20, 2019
I had to update this review after reading comments by other people about the book. I hated, hated, hated the ending of this book. I would have given it 3 stars if the ending didn't make me so angry. I haven't been this pissed off at a book in a long time. I realize that a lot of people disagree, and they're welcome to their own opinions. I just did not like it. Does that mean it's not worth reading? No. I liked it up until the end, and it does provoke interesting discussions, so I'm not going to tell anyone NOT to read it.


Some people think the protagonist is alive at the end, others (like me) think that she dies. I think that the way she dies is really lame, too. Basically, it's like the book is saying, "If you've been kidnapped and abused for five years, then you're better off dead."

What? Really? There's no chance for rehabilitation? No hope of being reunited with your family? Or of having at least a semi-normal life?
Profile Image for Kody Keplinger.
Author 20 books6,771 followers
September 20, 2009
LIVING DEAD GIRL is amazing, heartbreaking, and beautiful. I was terrified and intrigued. I had to carve a dark place in my heart to store this book, and I will be haunted for weeks.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,556 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.