A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A grim message that a person can endure nearly anything to survive.
Positive Role Models
Constant psychological abuse by Ray. Alice watches talk shows and wonders why people blame victims rather the abusers. Alice goes to a park to scout out girls for Ray and steals a little girl's notebook. Alice pinches younger children in her building so they will bring her cookies. No one helps Alice, despite her captor's odd behavior. Alice is willing to trade another girl's freedom for her own.
Violence & Scariness
Constant abuse of a girl, Alice, by her adult male captor, Ray: numerous descriptive scenes of rape with bruises, bleeding, shoving; once Ray pushes his fingers into Alice's shoulder stab wound while raping her. On several occasions, Ray chokes Alice, beats her, holds a knife against her throat, stabs her in shoulder with knife. Numerous threats, including death to her and her family. Mentions of murders of previous captor, captor's parents, and Ray's mother (who was an abuser). Alice wishes for death. Ray tries to keep Alice looking like a little girl through starvation, forced birth control pills to delay menstrual cycle, shaving of pubic hair, etc. A character shoots another with a gun. Graphic passages show reader how Alice experiences the sexual violence: "Bitter taste in my mouth, like Ray's skin shoving into me -- take it, Alice, take it, open wide, that's my girl ... " Another passage reads: He "pressed my face down into his lap again, then changed his mind and moved me around, folding me into what he wanted, my head pushing into the door as he pushes into me, grunt (him) thunk (me)."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Alice performs oral sex on two boys she just met, after they give her a little attention. She later has sex with one of the boys in his car.
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Plenty of swearing, language including "f--k," "bitch," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen boy takes pills and offers them to Alice.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Living Dead Girl, an extremely violent novel about a sexual predator and his young girl captive, is a radical departure from Elizabeth Scott's previous books. It features sadistic sexual, physical, and emotional torture of a child on nearly every page. Kidnaped at age 10, Alice is now 15. While Scott may not spell out every detail of the sexual violence, it's clear what's going on (over and over again). There's lots of swearing, including "f--k," "bitch," and "s--t." A boy teen takes pills and gives them to Alice. Alice performs oral sex on two teen boys and then has intercourse in a car with one of them. There's lots of swearing, including "f--k," "bitch," and "s--t." It's all very intense, mature material with scenes of sexual violence, overriding psychological torture, and constant terrifying menace.
Is It Any Good?
This relentlessly violent novel about a sexual predator and murderer and his teen captive is a tough book to read. It explores the mind of a sadistic child abuser and shows what it's like to be an abducted victim of sexual violence. Living Dead Girl may accurately capture the psychological hell a girl goes through when she's savagely abused day in and day out. And Alice is a compelling, memorable character, who shows resilience in the face of extraordinary brutality and terror. It's best for mature readers who can bear an intense, horrifying story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.