Review “The Disappearing Girl” – Heather Topham Wood

September 20, 2013 Book Review, Initial Reaction 4

Review “The Disappearing Girl” – Heather Topham WoodThe Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood
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Published on: 2013
Published by: Self Published
Pages: 248
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: eARC

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The Story(summary from Goodreads)

Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.


Initial Reaction

Slightly sleepy in this one. This book was so good is caused a late night, followed by a very early morning. Which was then followed by everyone in work asking me if I had been out drinking the night before because I looked kind of awful, to which I responded “It’s a book hangover! Not an actual one.” I don’t think they quite understood, I’m pretty sure someone them now think I attempted to drink a book?!


My Thoughts

This is the kind of book I feel should come with a warning. Something along the lines of:
WARNING: this book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and leave you completely emotionally unstable. Please make sure you have tissues, chocolate and a responsible adult to help you through the hours/days/weeks after you have finish this book, until you feel stable enough to join the real world again

So, why did I love this book?

This book was just, WOW. I never thought that I would enjoy a book abut eating disorders, but I really did. I also felt quite educated about eating disorders from the person with the eating disorders point of view, which Heather Topham Wood got across so well.

“I wish I could give Cameron what he wanted and block every ugly word our of my mom’s mouth. But twenty-one years of being told I was fat and ugly was hard to erase.

I found it both refreshing and sad that it was her mum that was the main reason behind Kayla’s eating disorders, and it made me really mad that her mum didn’t notice what was going on and instead compliments Kayla on her weight loss. I just wanted to slap her and be like HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?! Most people blame eating disorders on the models and magazines, but in this case and a lot of real life cases it isn’t! I thought that it was an important thing to point out, that eating disorders often start because someone (and generally someone close to the person with the ED) is making them feel bad about themselves.

“I was no longer comfortable in my own skin. When I undressed, I would stare at the flab on my body and feel compelled to shut my eyes to block out the source of my revulsion.”

Cameron is PERFECT, which I guess isn’t really much help to a girl with Kayla’s issues. But seriously, if there was a machine/device that could take characters out of books and bring them into the real world, then Cameron would be one of my Top Ten book boyfriends! (I may recommend that to The Broke and the Bookish for a future Top Ten Tuesday!) You feel so bad for him when he realises what is going on with Kayla, because you can tell he loves her so much. There are so really powerful scenes when he is fighting for her to get better and she just can’t cope with it all and he is just helpless.

“My thoughts were irrational. I couldn’t think of anything else except getting the food out of me. The more seconds that passed, the more time the food would have to digest and be stuck inside me forever.”

I felt that Heather really gets across the desperation and helplessness of Kayla’s friends and Cameron when they realise that she has gone too far for them to help her. Seeing their pain and guilt kind of makes you feel guilty too. Not that you could have done anything as a reader (except maybe shout at your book like I did) but still you feel kind of horrible that you have watched this happen and there was nothing you did to stop it.

“One of the things that works is I count to a hundred whenever I want something to eat. By the time I get to a hundred, I’ve had enough time to think of all the reasons I shouldn’t eat. Another think is I’ll pinch each spot on my body where I find any fat, really hard.”

I found at times this book hard to read, not because it was bad, but because Heather has given us full disclosure into Kayla’s mind. To read that someone was thinking so badly of themselves, and seeing how she would starve herself was really quite sad to read. It was an extremely powerful story, and I would definitely recommend it. I would also recommend tissues!

“You know what else helps me when I want to eat? Watch people eat! It’s kind of gross, especially when you see fat people doing it.


Final Thoughts

Re-Readability: Yes

I would recommend this book to fans of: YA contemporary, characters with eating disorders, characters with mental illness

Rating Really Liked.5


Have you read The Disappearing Girl?

What other books have you read that feature characters with eating disorders?


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4 Responses to “Review “The Disappearing Girl” – Heather Topham Wood”

  1. Heather Wood

    Thanks for reviewing! I especially love the video =) I have a review blog too and I always play around with the idea of adding video reviews

    • Broc's Bookcase

      Originally I wasn’t going to post them up, but just use them as a reminder of how I felt after finishing the book. But then one of my friends watched one (in which I was crying!) and found it hilarious and begged me to put it up. Now it’s a permanent feature! 🙂

  2. Sam

    Can’t wait to read this. 🙂 the way you described it to me, I’m ready for it! I’m going to be an emotional wreck! Haha

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