The Disappearing Girl by Heather Wood
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: May 7, 2013
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.
The images on the TV passed before my eyes in a blur. Beautiful faces all staring back at me, secret smiles playing on their lips, bliss shining through their eyes. I envied everything about them—their effortless beauty, their thin and toned bodies. But most of all, I coveted their happiness.
I was sprawled across Cameron’s couch. Minutes earlier, he had come up next to me and tried to coax me to dinner. I waved him off, but he was persistent. He had spent the past hour cooking spaghetti and meatballs while I was a motionless blob on his couch. The least I could do was eat, but at that second I’d rather have traveled to the depths of Hell than put food in my body.
My funk had worsened since Lila left to return home the previous weekend. I missed her fiercely. She had left on a sour note, her disapproval over my diet still clear in the tightness of her expression.
“Think about what Dad would say,” she told me. It was a manipulative thing to say and her words haunted me. I didn’t want to think about my father. He was dead; thinking about him only reminded me of the years that stretched ahead of me, where I’d have to endure without him.
I tuned back into Cameron’s words. “Kayla, I’ve been looking forward to having a romantic dinner with you all week. Can you try a little?”
My body felt heavy as I got up from the sofa. If everyone claimed I was so thin, why did I feel so weighted down? I shuffled along behind him as he led me to the table.
It was beautifully set. He had lit a single white candle and positioned it between our place settings. A filled wine glass sat beside a plate covered with steaming hot pasta smothered in marinara sauce with meatballs. Any girl would be thrilled to find her boyfriend had gone to the trouble to be romantic—but I was far from any girl.
I felt myself growing irate as I collapsed into the chair. I wasn’t sure why he couldn’t understand I was trying to avoid fatty foods. Instead of supporting my efforts, my friends and family seemed to be determined to undermine everything I’d done to better myself.
Cameron ate silently for several minutes. My dinner lay untouched, and I felt time slow down as I waited for him to finish. I wasn’t going to be bullied into eating when food was the last thing I wanted in my body.
His eyes turned cold as he stared at me. “What are you doing? Why haven’t you started eating?”
I was a petulant child, refusing to eat, despite the promises the food in front of me would make me healthy again. I pressed my lips together in a tighter line and crossed my arms over my chest.
Cameron’s temper was building. I could feel the tension in the air. He was showing restraint when all he probably wanted to do was to scream at me for my irrational behavior. His voice was strained. “Kayla, you’ve been here all day and you haven’t eaten a thing …”
My expression was deadly as we locked gazes. “When the hell did it become everyone’s business whether or not I eat? Last time I checked, it was my body.”
I could tell what he was thinking by the way his features twisted. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t the quiet and meek girl he’d been dating. This girl was bitter and wanted to unleash her rage on those around her.
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.