Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

Published December 23, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

What did I think?:

I first came across the author Laurie Halse Anderson through my sister and fellow blogger ChrissiReads who recommended it highly. On finishing it, I completely agree with her! The novel is aimed at young adults and tells the story of two girls called Lia and Cassie who compete against each other to lose weight. However, the game becomes dangerous when Cassie is found dead in a motel room yet prior to her death she had attempted to call Lia 33 times without success. The rest of the novel continues in the voice of Lia who continues to lose weight, although now the target seems to have shifted – she has to be as skinny as possible. Haunted by Cassie’s spirit and trying to deal with the difficult relationships she has with her parents lead Lia down a treacherous path where there may be no return.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as this was my first encounter with the author (although her novel Speak is all lined up ready to go now!) and I was surprised by the emotion and sheer darkness of the writing. The author does not shy away from the incredibly difficult issue of eating disorders and manages to pull off a heart-breaking, authentic account that captures the reader, drawing them in until the end. This powerful read made me experience all the emotions that our main character Lia goes through, from guilt for not picking up the phone, to confusion, doubt and determination when her eating disorder takes over the rational part of her mind. I also liked that the author touched on the issue of broken families and explored Lia’s struggles in dealing with a father that is rarely around, and a mother who put her career over everything else, including her child. I think that this would be a great book to discuss in schools, as nothing is sugar-coated and the full horror and emotional turmoil of anorexia nervosa sufferers is put out there in the open. If it helps someone who has warped views about their body image, so much the better!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


3 comments on “Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

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