{Tour Stop} The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood Review + Guest Post

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood
The Disappearing Girl
by Heather Topham Wood
Genre: New Adult realistic fiction
Publisher: Heather Topham Wood
Published: May 7th 2013
Source: review copy for tour
Author's website | 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.
The Disappearing Girl was a quick read, but it sure wasn't an easy one. The Disappearing Girl chronicled Kayla's descent into bulimia, anorexia, and depression- and it didn't sugarcoat any part of it.  The book was told in Kayla's point of view and that made it even more painful, but in a good way.

When Kayla lost her dad, her mother began to target Kayla and her sister, constantly criticizing their weight and decisions in life. Kayla used to ignore all of it but then she binges- and then regrets everything. Her solution? To puke it all out. Kayla promised herself that it wouldn't happen again, that it would just be a one-time thing, but she does it again, and again, and again.

Her mom starts to acknowledge her weight loss and her gorgeous best friend complimented her on the change, and then suddenly that number on the weighing scale becomes the only thing that matters. She starts to neglect her studies and decline nights out with her best friends in order to fit into a size 0. The best thing is that no one knows that she's starving herself, because Kayla makes the best excuses. Kayla was an anti-heroine at first and some of her comments on the people who tried to help her made me want to hit her. Her stubbornness annoyed me to the core, but Kayla was also endearing because she was real. Heather Topham Wood created a realistic anti-heroine that people could relate to, and eventually admire.

Cameron is gorgeous, charming, and he knows how to make Kayla happy. I loved him so much not just because of his charm and wit, but because he wasn't quick to judge Kayla and he understood where her problems originated from and helped her find the strength to overcome them. Cameron wasn't the only light in Kayla's life though; she had the most amazing support system. Her younger sister and her best friends were there for her every step of the way.

I loved The Disappearing Girl so much because even if the summary hinted that the book would revolve around Kayla and Cameron's relationship, it did not. There were incredibly sweet moments and I loved the banter between the two, but Cameron was only a part of the reason behind Kayla's resolution. Kayla didn't fight her eating disorder in order to be better for Cameron and for everyone else, she did it for herself- and that, I think, takes a lot of strength and courage.

Reading The Disappearing Girl was like reading Kayla's diary, and it gave me the kind of experience I had while reading Go Ask Alice, another book that deals with a tough subject. Since it was told in Kayla's point of view, it was like having a first hand experience of what anorexics and bulimics go through. It was scary because I saw my old self in Kayla- I remember going through some of the things she went through, and I am so glad that I didn't bury myself deeper. It's difficult to write a book that deals with heavy subjects because it's so hard to understand them and the character, but Heather Topham Wood succeeded in bringing Kayla's story to life.

THE NUB AND GIST: 4 STARS

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 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.



A Day in My Writing Life

Would you like to be privy to the glamour of my writing life? Here is an average day in the life of Heather Topham Wood:

My boys wake me up around seven in the morning. My husband has already been gone for an hour and my three-year-old has probably snuck into our bed at some point during the night. After throwing on the first thing I find in my closet, I get the boys ready for school and we eat breakfast together.

After the bus picks up my kindergartener, I drive my youngest son to preschool. Preschool only goes to 11:30, so I make a mad dash back home to try and fit in as much writing as possible.

I open up my latest work in progress in Word, but then decide to check my email/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Amazon/Blogger accounts first. I look at the clock and realize an hour has gone by and I haven’t written a single word. I mentally berate myself and settle into writing.

I’m right in the middle of writing a steamy love scene when I realize that I have to leave that second if I don’t want to be late to pick up my preschooler. I was a minute late once and the scene he caused was not pretty. I’m well aware of who wears the pants in our relationship.

I pick up my little guy and we go out to lunch. If I’m lucky, I can get him all amped up at the park and he’ll be tired enough to take an after nap and let me sneak in some more writing until my older son’s bus drops him off. On a good day, I can finish at least a chapter. On a bad day, I write a few pages of crap that I’ll most likely delete during the editing process.

Most nights, I try to avoid work to spend time with the family, but sometimes it’s unavoidable and I’ll stay up until the wee hours to finish while my husband puts the boys to bed. I usually collapse into bed, but I often try to read a little off of my Kindle before I pass out.

So, there’s my usual day. With the summer coming, it will of course change with the boys home all day, but my husband and I usually work out a schedule so I have plenty of time to write.
The Selkie Reads Stories

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7 comments

  1. Seems like an emotional read to me. I bet it would be an eye-opening reading experience to read about Kayla. I wonder how Cameron was able to help her.

    The author seems to have a hectic life! But it's great that she's able to squeeze in some time to write and to spend quality time with her family. Thumbs up for the author!

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  2. This sounds like a really great book! I cannot wait to read this! Thank you for the amazing review.

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  3. This book tackles about serious issues that I'm not used to reading. And I'm not even sure I will like it. But I'll give it a try someday :)

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  4. What a cool cover! I don't think I've read any book that deals with anorexia (I've only ever read books that deal with overweight MCs and how they cope with bullying), and I love how it focused more on the tough issue, rather than the romance. Kayla certainly sounds like a strong heroine. Great review, Ellie!

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  5. This book sounds like one of these tough reads. It deals with such hard topics and I for sure would like it. I somehow love it when someone who has a tough life gets its HEA..if that's possible of course. Not forced ones. Great review :)

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  6. This sounds like a very moving and emotional read. I hope the mother recognized the error of her ways! What a thing to do to your daughter. Lovely review. :)

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  7. This does sound like such a super tough read Ellie, but I'm so glad that you were able to connect with a lot of it and find a great read. Lovely review! :)

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