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Nightmare Fuel / Living Dead Girl

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Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl is one of those wonderful reminders that YA books can and do play with the big girls.

Plenty of Nightmare Fuel and spoilers ahead.

  • "Alice" has been kidnapped and held for five years by the pedophile Ray. It chillingly depicts not only Ray's systematic and thorough destruction, emotionally and physically, of his victims, but it also quietly reminds the reader of the completely random nature of such a crime: why you over anyone else? Something that can be seen as very disturbing is the lack of information; several times it's implied that Ray is forcing "Alice" to preform sexual favors for him or even rapes her, but it's never actually stated that he is doing those things. This forces your mind to fill in the blanks as to what exactly Ray is doing to Alice and it's not pretty.
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  • Another example is the lengths Ray goes to make sure that "Alice" remains "his little girl." She is 15 and is developing into a young woman, something that Ray is not pleased with, seeing as he's a pedophile. He starves her so she remains under 100 pounds, forces her to take medication that stops her menstruation, and forces her to wear clothes that are made for someone half her age. When he decides that "Alice" is now too old, he does the only rational thing: make plans to abduct another little girl and make her into another one of his "little girls."
  • Something that is brought to light later in the novel is bone chilling: "Alice" is not the first girl Ray has done this to. There was another "Alice" before the current one who was subjected to Ray's treatment. When she turned 15, Ray killed her and her body was found and returned to her parents for burial. But it doesn't stop there. After returning home from their daughter's funeral, the parents were killed by a "burglar," who, oddly enough, did not steal anything. Given the threats Ray makes against the current "Alice's" family if she were to disobey, it's obvious that Ray was the perpetrator and got away with the crime.
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  • The fact that people are actually aware of Alice's existence and do nothing to help her. Of course nobody knows that she's being held against her will, abused, and raped (she and Ray pose as father and daughter), but there's still something very clearly off about their relationship to the outside observer. This should be especially relevant to the neighbors, as Alice is barely ever allowed outside. However, people mind their business and overlook Alice and the myriad of red flags she puts out while Alice herself is far too terrified to ask for help (for reasons stated above). A cop actually does take notice, but that's mostly because Alice was hanging around a playground and acting weird. It really makes you think; if, God forbid, you were in Alice's position, would there be anyone who would even notice?
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  • Why is Alice even willing to entertain the idea of being "mother" to a "new" Alice (or rather, Annabelle), when she knows how evil that is? "At least it wouldn't be me." Yes, she's that broken.

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