Thursday, October 16, 2008


You may have heard a lot of buzz about a book called Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott that just came out in September. It's the story of a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped by a pedophile when she was 10, and has been trapped with him ever since. Only he's tired of her (he killed his last girl when she turned 15) and wants her to help him find a new little girl to replace her. She knows he will kill her when she finds the new girl.

Does anyone find this shocking? I did when I heard about it. Could such a book really be intended for teen readers? I checked out my local Barnes and Noble and my favorite indie and neither of them were carrying it. The salesperson at the indie said she'd read the reviews (all of which say it's an amazing and powerful book, which it is) and decided not to stock it.

I finally ordered it on Amazon (extremely high sales ranking) and read it today. Yes, I read the entire book today, even while taking care of my 11-week-old. The book is mesmerizing. Beautifully written. A horrific story that makes me never want to open my front door and go outside again. There are too many sickos out there. And it terrifies me even more now that I have my own daughter.

If I, a grown woman, feel this way about the book, how would a teen reader, one the same age as the protagonist, feel? That's what I've been wondering all day. The book says it's for "16 and up" but it's generating so much buzz it will finds its way into the hands of younger teens. And it's not that the book is graphic -- it manages to have violent sexual scenes without being hideously detailed -- but it's disturbing. I can't stop thinking about it. What must it have been like to be the author who worked on this book for months and possibly years? Such an evil to write about every day. I would think it would have been miserable for her.

I'm against book censorship in all forms. But I do think some books are too frightening for kids to read. And I simply couldn't recommend this to a teenage girl.

*caroline hickey