Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson 


by Laurie Halse Anderson
Pages: 384
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory, and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her.
In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all—hope.
This is a Young Adult novel, but it deals with teenage issues in a very grown-up way. Lia is an 18 year old girl that struggles with anorexia. She’s already been institutionalized twice and is headed back down a bad road. Every Tuesday morning, she is weighed to make sure that no more weight has been lost, and the results are phoned in to her doctor.
The book begins with the death of Lia’s friend, Cassie, who also suffered from an eating disorder. We go through Lia’s pain and suffering as well as her hallucinations of Cassie’s. Lia is a truly haunted young woman dealing with very real issues.
This was a quick read for me. I surfed through the 300+ pages in one evening. Just because it was quick, doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable, though. Anderson created a world of characters that were very true to life. I didn’t feel like any of the situations were contrived. Rather, I felt like I could be reading a real-life account of an anorexic teen. As someone who struggled with body issues throughout her teenage years, this really hit home for me. I felt like Anderson really tackled the problems in a realistic way, without glamorizing eating disorders.
I don’t know that this would be great for a teen to read, but at the same time, I love how she handles the deep issues of depression, self-mutilation, and body image. I’ve previously read Anderson’s book Speak, but I definitely enjoyed this one more. I have a feeling it is one I’ll be thinking about for quite some time. Check it out!