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Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham

Stalker Girl

by Rosemary Graham

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444399,089 (3.56)None
During a difficult time in her life, when her mother and stepfather have broken up and her father cancels a trip she has been anticipating, Carly becomes obsessed with her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend.



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I almost passed on Rosemary Graham’s STALKER GIRL. I couldn’t help but think it might be just a bit too creepy.. a bit too weird... for my tastes. When I browse contemporary YA titles, I generally look for topics and characters I can identify with, and, when I think of words to describe myself, stalker typically doesn’t come to mind. Then I stumbled upon the book trailer and it somehow lodged itself in my mind; I decided to give STALKER GIRL a try. It took only a handful of pages to completely draw me in and I was shocked at what I found.

It turned out that I identified with Carly more than I ever could have imagined. In an interview with the author, I read that STALKER GIRL was originally titled SHE WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS. While I love the straightforward final title and its ability to lure potential readers into browsing the description, I prefer this first incarnation. Like STALKER GIRL, it draws me in, but it also transforms Carly into a more relatable character right from the start. Yes, the main character is a stalker, but she wasn’t always like this. Of course, the reader discovers this as the novel progresses, but, at least in my case, I think I would have been more apt to pick it up right from the start with this title… I would have wanted to know why she had changed.

Understandably, there’s a stigma surrounding the word “stalker.” For me, stalkers just are. There is no before or reason to their creepy, unacceptable behavior. In some cases, like Carly’s, there is a before. And it’s a before that I feel many can relate to. It begins as innocent curiosity. Your serious relationship has ended, perhaps abruptly, and that person you’ve shared so much with has moved on. What does she have that’s so appealing? Why her and not you? Maybe you’ll just look at her Facebook page and glance through her pictures… it’s harmless. Right? But you can’t stop thinking about him. About her. Maybe if you just saw her, you’d understand. So you snoop a bit more and find out that she’s made plans to be here at this time. You’re just going to go for a glimpse… But you still can’t stop.

Of course, most of us wouldn’t take it this far. We’d have friends who would tell us he’s not worth it, that she isn’t even very cute, and that there are plenty of fish in the sea. But if you’re alone, if those thoughts keep bouncing around in your head… multiplying… intensifying - would you be able to hold yourself back? Or would you find that things have twisted in your mind and you now somehow think it might be alright to watch just a little more…?

If Graham had only shown Carly after the breakup, I might not have identified so strongly with this story. But Graham handled this intense material with skill. The novel is divided into three sections: after the breakup, leading up to and during the relationship, and the consequences of Carly's obsession. It was the middle section, which comprises the bulk of the volume, that made Carly three-dimensional and a character with traits I could identify with. I drew parallels between Carly’s personality and mine, but was cognizant of our differences as well. I appeared to share a number of personality traits with Carly: jealousy, a tendency towards almost obsessive attention to certain subjects or objects (like books). I found myself analyzing why I’d never wound up in Carly’s position… After all, she’s not crazy, at least, not in the traditional sense. She’s been through a lot, her mind is completely overwhelmed, and things just … start to go a bit haywire.

What I mean to say, is that I understand Carly. I found myself wanting to reach out and help her, guide her, let her know she wasn’t alone. I thought I’d feel protective of the new girlfriend, the stalked, but, in the end, I didn’t. Yes, I understood her feelings as well, but it was still Carly that I felt the connection to. Perhaps it was simply Graham’s phenomenal writing that cast a spell and pulled me into Carly madness… or perhaps it was the fact that we all have that small, dark part of ourselves that threatens this crazed behavior... and Carly’s fate. ( )
  thehidingspot | Mar 31, 2012 |
Carly's life is getting pretty craptastic. Her dad's second wife is pregnant, which means that their big summer trip to an archaeological dig in Turkey is off. Her mom is splitting with her longtime boyfriend, which means that (a) they have to move and (b) Carly's getting to spend a lot of time helping to take care of her younger sister, Jess. At first things look better when she and Jess head off to camp (Jess as camper and Carly as cooking assistant) when Carly meets a guy, Brian.

She falls for Brian pretty quickly and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Except when they head back to the city, it's hard. He lives in Brooklyn and Carly now lives on the extreme limits of the Upper West Side, so they're at least 45 minutes away. And his band starts to get more attention and Carly...well, she gets jealous.

That's all backstory. The REAL story is that after she and Brian break up and he starts to see someone else, she goes off the rails. Really, really far off the rails: she stalks his new girlfriend. It's not so much to scare her or hurt her--she just can't help herself.

I enjoyed this book. I feel like with the internet and especially Facebook, it's really easy to start stalking someone. Seriously--who hasn't looked up an ex through Google or Facebook or something?

At first, I totally got the compulsion to see what the new girl looked like, how she acted, what she did. But then Carly got insanely creepy in one night of the worst possible choices ever.

Still, Carly was a very likable, relatable girl. It's probably hard to do in a story like this, because how do you have someone do insanely creepy things without being Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?

Recommended. ( )
1 vote khager | Aug 6, 2010 |
My opinion is firmly on the fence when it comes to Stalker Girl. The emotion in the book was so spot on. The pain, loss, fear and denial experienced during a romantic break-up felt throughout the novel was breathtakingly expressed. I can't deny that Carly's feelings became my feelings. Unfortunately, the escalation of her stalking her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend crossed into the ludicrous.

In the beginning, Carly's need to know about Brian's new girlfriend seemed normal. We saw the entire relationship between Carly and Brian and knew the loss she was feeling. Wanting to know who she lost him to is understandable. But then she crossed a line into sheer craziness. Perhaps if she had been stalking Brian the lengths she went to would have been a little bit more realistic. Her focus on the girlfriend took the book somewhere reasonably sane females just don't go, making it very hard to relate to Carly and ultimately alienated me completely.

Stalker Girl is a fun, honest and well written book, but it lost me towards the end. Even someone spiraling out of control has limits, which was forgotten somewhere in this book. ( )
  TequilaReader | May 2, 2010 |
The book was written in three parts. Carly stalking her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend named Taylor. Part two was the time Carly met her ex-boyfriend Brian and the third part is where the consequences of her deranged fixation on Taylor happens.

I was expecting a girl stalking her ex-boyfriend not a girl stalking her ex-boyfriend's new girl friend. it was completely freaky and absolutely deranged. But I guess it made sense. I think I kind of understand how Carly mind works. The insecurity and uncertainty of how she was when she was with Brian was questioned when he broke up with her, i think all of us went through that from sometime. I remembered comparing myself to a new girlfriend my ex-boyfriend had at one time and finding myself questioning, what she got that I don't have, I obsess about it for days but that's the farthest that I went. And I felt extremely pathetic, so imagine how Carly feels? And the sad part was she knows that it is wrong, it is sad and it is pathetic, yet she couldn't stop. I would really love a psychological explanation. This is my first time reading something abut stalking and it was interesting, creepy and full of emotions. ( )
  peaceloveandpat | Apr 7, 2010 |
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To my daughter, Graham Griffin
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She was even prettier in person.
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