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Release Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Author gifted Kindle ebook
Rating: 4/5 stars
Get it: Amazon / B&N
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.
Going into The Disappearing Girl, I already had an inkling of what I was going to expect out of the story. However, I didn’t expect how much it would affect me. I didn’t expect how realistic the story would be and how words and grief could distort someone’s image and confidence.
The Disappearing Girl really brought out the horrific downward spiral of a person suffering from an eating disorder. It was shocking and cringe-worthy, but also heart-wrenching. This book really showed how destructive an eating disorder could have not only the person who has it, but along with everyone associated with that person. The Disappearing Girl showed how the disorder can hurt and unravel one person. More importantly, this book deals with real issues, such as depression, anorexia, and bulimia. It showed how the desire to be thin has made girls self-destruct and allowed them to poison their own image of themselves.
Kayla was a character that started off weak, but became a better version of herself by the end of novel. Her transformation, both the bad and the good was very hard to read. Kayla was a girl who suffered from grief from her father’s death along with her mother’s severe criticisms. Kayla lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. She was someone who had so much self-loathing because of her mother’s constant belittlement. It was really tough to read Kayla breaking down and giving in to her mother’s whims. In The Disappearing Girl, Kayla goes through a very rough patch, her body and food become at war with each other. What Kayla went through had me reeling with disgust, but she also left me inspired and proud.
What I really enjoyed about this novel was while the main focus was Kayla and her issues with her eating disorder, there was also romance that helped give Kayla a support system along with her family and friends. Cameron was the shining star in the book because though he had his own issues, he was nearly the perfect boyfriend for Kayla. He loved her despite what her disorder was doing to their relationship. He stayed by her, encouraged her, and didn’t just stand by and watch her destroy herself. He knew how beautiful Kayla was inside and out, no matter how much she weighed. I couldn’t find one bad quality about him.
I loved what Heather Topham Wood did with The Disappearing Girl. She gave Kayla an authentic voice and really brought out the issues she was going through to the forefront. What I really enjoyed about this book was how it made me angry, sad, bothered, and hopeful while reading. It was a book that invoked all sorts of emotions. I was really invested into the story and what Kayla was going through. Best of all, the pacing was set in a way that really made the whole story hit you right where it needed to. It does the job of opening your eyes to the real issues girls face no matter what age. I really liked that Wood wasn’t afraid to hold back and truly showed the gruesome effects extreme measures of dieting can do. She really showed that we are in control of our bodies and with the right help, we can prevail and we can overcome.
Overall, The Disappearing Girl was a striking novel that was powerful and uplifting and one book every girl must read.
About the Author
Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.
Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows
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