Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: LIVING DEAD GIRL by Elizabeth Scott

If you see this book on the shelf, pick it up, but don't let the pretty ribbon on this paperback fool you. LIVING DEAD GIRL is not frilly. It is not nice. And it is not connected to the Rob Zombie song.

LIVING DEAD GIRL is the scariest book I have ever read.

I should start by explaining how this book came to land in my hands.

Recently, I joined the Ithaca College debate team, and I decided to partake in one individual event. I chose "Rhetorical Analysis." And I decided to take the "Literary Critique" angle. But since Young Adult is my genre, I knew I wanted to approach this event differently. My coach told me to find something controversial and new. So what did I do? I emailed the person I knew would have suggestions (because apparently she's read EVERYTHING), my agent, Joanna. Within like five minutes she'd responded, instructing me to go buy LIVING DEAD GIRL. She said it would be the perfect controversial, new book for my speech.

So I bought it. I bought it Saturday. I started reading it at 8:00 PM with the intention of readinga few chapters....and I finished the book at 1:00 AM. I could not stop. I was so absorbed.

So here is where my review begins.

LIVING DEAD GIRL is the story of Alice--or, at least, that is what she is called now. Five years ago, she had another name. Another life. But then Ray took her away from that life. And Alice was born.

Ray is violent, twisted, and desperately lonely. He wants Alice to stay young. He wants her to love him. But Alice is sure that he will kill her once she is fifteen, and she is desperate for that day to come...only, he doesn't want to kill her. He wants hr help. He wants to find another girl to add to their family.

Living in Alice's head was one of the scariest, most unnerving experiences of my life. Being so connected to her makes you think things you don't want to think. You want her to escape--to find her "home" again--no matter who it might hurt. That frightened me. Alice has some less-than-saintly thoughts. She doesn't care if someone else--another girl--has to suffer the way she did as long as she can be free. If her freedom is death...well, she's fine with that.

And you're on this ride completely with Alice. You don't care who gets hurt. You don't care if her freedom is death. You just wanted her away from least, I did.

Ray is one of the most terrifying characters I've ever read. Maybe that is because, in a sick way, you can sympathize with him. The reader is given glimpses of Ray's past, and let me tell you, he has reason to be screwed up. You can see how lonely he is. How desperate he is. And that is scary because, as I reader, you kind of want all the villains to just be, well, evil. Evil for no reason. You don't want to see the causes of their madness. The turmoil they experience. You just want them to be mean and bad and villain-y. But that is not what we get with Ray. We see all of his twists and turns, and that makes him all the more terrifying.

I don't want to say more about the book because, with it being so short, there is a lot I could spoil. But I will tell you that it isn't for the weak. It isn't for the soft. This book is raw, heart-wrenching, and unnerving.

Joanna told me it would haunt me for weeks.

I know she is right.

Seriously, the last lines of the book had me in tears. My roommate had to look at me and ask, "Kody? Kody, sweetie, are you okay?"

I still don't know if I am or not.

Part of me can't wait to write my speech for the Debate Team....but part of me is scared. Scared I won't be able to talk about it. Scared I'll start crying in the middle of my speech. Scared I won't do it justice.

Long story short, you should read LIVING DEAD GIRL. You should read it and think about what you have in life. Think about that quiet girl you pass on the street. Think about the people you say "Hello" to everyday, but whose story you never stop to ask.



ZoeAlea said...

Kody. That was an amazing review. I felt the exact same way about Living Dead Girl. I was also in tears when I read it. It is a beautiful book and you wrote a beautiful review.

Kody Mekell Keplinger said...

Thanks, Zoe! That means a lot coming from you!

Chanelley said...

Wow this book sounds equally amazing and horrifying. I'm definitely adding this to my 'to buy' list.

characterize said...

Great review! That book sounds amazing.

*adds to reading list*

Raven said...

Wow, this was really good review! I'm sold. I'm adding it to my list of books 'to read'.

Kaitlin Ward said...

I thought about writing a review of this after I finished, but couldn't find the words. Your review was perfect. When I finished reading the book (which was only a week ago, so it's still very very fresh) I just sort of sat there for a few minutes, because I didn't really know what to do with myself. It definitely made me think and wonder about my neighbors, and about how horrifying it would be to have my child abducted. Every day since, something has triggered me to think about the book (it doesn't help that there's a weatherman on one of the news channels named Ray, who I've taken an irrational disliking to).

Becca Cooper said...

It's official. My first paycheck is going to be spent all on books.

Lunar Amyscope said...

I ... must... READ THIS NOWWWW! Tomorrow I'm going to Barnes and Noble. I just hope they have it.

TereLiz said...

Been wanting to read this for a really long time but I've been busy moving and have a huge TBR pile building up.

Thanks for reminding me.

Hope college is treating you well, and I'm sure your debate speech will be fantastic!

Kristin said...

Definitely, DEFINITELY an important book. It needed to be written. I can't say I loved it, because it terrified me - but I'm glad I read it.

Helina said...

i completely agree this book is amazing it is by far the best book i have ever read. if you like this book i recommend 13 reasons why also. it illustrates a teens suicide and brings her to life even though she is really dead

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