Lessons from a Dead Girl

Title: Lessons from a Dead Girl
Author: Jo knowles
Pub Date: 2007
Pages: 215
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

"I wonder if what she really means is See what it's like to be me? And all I can think is, Yes. This is pretty great. And you're great for sharing it with me. Today I'm really happy that Leah Greene is my friend." (27)

Y0wzers! This is a disTURBing book. Seriously. There aren't that many books where I get the heebie jeebies while reading it because they show a side of human nature that makes me shiver.

To say that LfaDG is about bullying and sexual abuse is putting it mildly. Laine is an insecure, shy, fairly invisible girl until the day that Leah friends her. Leah is everything that all of the little girls in elementary school want to be, and since they can't, being her friend is the next best thing. Laine doesn't know why Leah chose her to be her bestie, but she's thrilled to pieces.

And then, a couple of years later, Leah invents this game. Laine has a hidden closet-like structure in her room where she used to play with her dolls. Leah finds it and convinces Laine that they should go in there and practice things that they will eventually need to do with boys.

At first i just read this is harmless experimentation. But then, Leah uses these occurrences to manipulate Laine. Laine feels dirty and confused. She's overwhelmed because part of her wants it to stop and another part of her kinda likes it. And then, Leah holds these "practices" over Laine's head, telling others, and just bottom line being awful.

It's a difficult relationship to watch. Laine does her best to get away from Leah, but she continues to hurt her over and over again.

This book was brilliant and an honest portrayal of bullying and abuse. Knowles is a very daring author to not hold back. I commend her for that.


  1. I tried to read this but couldn't. I guess it was too disturbing to me, having a friend who was manipulated like this by a family member as she was growing up. :(

  2. it sounds intense! I'd have to see if this is too disturbing for me (so far, I'd only read one book that I felt repulsed after reading so I guess I have a pretty high tolerance...?)


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