Monday, August 19, 2013

The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood (5 stars)

About The Disappearing Girl
(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.

New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.


I can't tell you how many times chills ran up my spine while reading this book. It touched every raw nerve I have on the subject of eating disorders after having friends and family who suffered with Anorexia and a best friend who died from the disease in high school.

Kayla Marlowe is a young girl devastated by the death of her father and trying to overcome the thoughtless words, especially about her appearance, coming from her broken mother. Finally away at college, Kayla can't shake the damaged self-image begun by her mother's stinging comments.

Desperate to take control, she sets out on a regime of binging and purging or not eating at all. Then she meets Cameron. She can't fathom that he could love the girl she was before losing the weight, even when he showers her with affection. Will she be able to fight her demons? Will Cameron stick around during the process?

As you can imagine with the subject material, this is not a light read. The author does not shy away from the sad and heartbreaking aspects of eating disorders. Kayla even resorts to finding a group online to support her illness--a group of young women who support each other in this march toward death. Sadly, groups like this truly exist.

I commend Heather Topham Wood for writing this book. Mothers should read it, young women (although over 17) should read it, anyone who loves a powerful character-driven story should read it. The writing is so personal, intense, and honest that I felt like I was reading Kayla's diary--not just a work of fiction.

I only hope this review was compelling enough to bring readers to this book.

Rating: 5 stars

About Heather Topham Wood

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,, 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.

Find out more about Heather on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


Heather Topham Wood said...

Thank you so much for this lovely review! Downloaded Chasing Memories last week and I can't wait to read it. New blog follower by the way =)

Tia Bach said...

It meant a lot to me to read this book for reasons I mentioned in the first paragraph. I was afraid it would be eating disorders light, but you did an amazing job being true to the disease. I have three daughters, and I want them all to read it when they are a bit older (my oldest is 13).

Can't wait for you to read Chasing Memories. Would love for you to read my first novel, Depression Cookies (it covers a lot on Anorexia, too). Note: it is 543 pages.

Excellent job. Truly.