From Living Dead Girl:
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 ten years old, she was abducted during a field trip to the aquarium. For five years, she has lived with constant psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. For almost five years, she has known that her only way out is death.
Now, her abductor, Ray, has decided that it's time for a new girl. And he wants Alice to find her.
Okay, honestly? Even writing a brief synopsis is making me feel ill. I reacted very strongly to this book, physically and emotionally. The copy on the back cover (of the ARC, at any rate) calls Living Dead Girl "a deeply disturbing and ultimately unforgettable novel that recalls The Lovely Bones". Deeply Disturbing? Check. Unforgettable? So far*, check. Recalls The Lovely Bones? Kind of, I guess, but not so much. See, in TLB, the violence is over pretty quickly. By the time you hit page fifteen, Susie Salmon has already been raped and murdered. In Living Dead Girl, it goes on. And on. And on.
And then on some more.
Elizabeth Scott doesn't get graphic about what happens to Alice, but she tells you enough to let your mind fill in the blanks. Which, I think, made it even more disturbing than if she'd given a detailed description of the abuse. The most disturbing thing about the book, for me, was that it made me feel like a huge voyeur. Sometimes a vivid imagination is not a good thing.
Ugh. Now I never want to let my future children go on field trips. Or, you know, outside**.
If fans of Bloom, Perfect You, etc., pick this one up without reading the back cover, they're going to be in for a huge surprise. And not even a remotely pleasant one. It's a powerful read, and a gripping one, but I can't say that it's anywhere near enjoyable***. I'd maybe recommend it to older teens who aren't prone to nightmares. Because this book is way more scary than any horror novel I've ever read.
*I finally sat down and read it last Thursday. And I've put off writing about it until now in the hopes of distancing myself from the story enough to look at the cover without shuddering. It hasn't happened yet. I just glanced over at the book to test myself and, yep, it still gives me the bejeebers.
**Not really, obviously. Well, mostly not really.
***Which isn't a bad thing. It's just the way it is. My major complaint about the book, actually, is that I didn't find the resolution satisfying. It wasn't so much what happened, it was just that everything wrapped up so quickly and so suddenly that it felt very jarring. I actually flipped back and forth a bunch of times because I thought I'd accidentally skipped some pages.