Sunday, 5 May 2013

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: review

Book: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Release Date: March 19, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 278
Source: Library
Links: Goodreads
Stars: 4/5

"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls. "Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another. I am that girl. I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through. I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. 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. 


I loved Anderson's Speak and Chains (although the second book in that series was a bitter disappointment, but that's a whole other rant), so I was interested to see what she would do with the concept of anorexia in Wintergirls. Well, let's just say that Anderson is a pro when handling the tough subjects, and she portrays them in a such a way that it makes it not uncomfortable to read, but interesting.

Lia is 18 years old and been struggling with anorexia for years. At the beginning of the book, she is 99 pounds and 5'5" tall. As her weight slowly lowers to practically less than 90, the reader gets to see her desperation to become as skinny and weightless as she can possibly be. Her best friend, Cassie, was bulimic, and recently died from it. Lia is haunted by this every day, especially since the day Cassie died, she called Lia and Lia didn't pick up.

 As a character, Lia gave a desperate, confused, and lonely vibe. At the end of the book, she really shined and left her past to be her past. The chacacter development was stunning and really luminous.

I have a friend who had problems with anorexia, so I knew a little bit about it, but not enough that I knew absolutely everything. This book helped me gain knowledge on the subject. At school, it's considered cool to pretend you have an eating disorder just so that people will give you compliments, which I really think is disgusting. Eating disorders are horrible, awful things that shouldn't be joked around about. Lia came close to death.

This book not only dealt with anorexia but it also dealt with bulimia. The idea that someone would make herself vomit just to get rid of the food inside her body was terrible and foreign to me. However, it helped me learn more about it and some of the struggles people go through when dealing with bulimia. Although Cassie had a tragic ending, Lia did not and ended the book as a full flower in bloom.

Anderson's writing is poetic and lovely. The sentences flowed together and her style is all-around artistic and unique. The writing was one of my favorite parts, because through the writing, she showed Lia's emotions. The writing was repetitive and choppy when Lia was feeling desperate, hungry, or sick, and beautiful and flowing when she was feeling happy. I loved that about the book.

The one problem I did have with this book was the fact that the middle of it seemed cluttered and the ending seemed rushed. The beginning and ending were good, but the middle seemed to drag a little, and the story didn't really go anywhere for 50 or 60 pages, but that's only a minor complaint.

Wintergirls is definitely not a book for the faint of heart, but I really enjoyed it, and I think I'll read more of Anderson's works since she is a truly talented writer.


  1. Wonderful review Annie! I've never read this book, but you seemed to portray really well! I've read Speak by L.H. Anderson, and I really enjoyed it, so I'll be putting Wntergirls on my to-read list!

    Looking forward to your next review, Annie!

    -Grace :)

  2. I agree with you on EVERYTHING in this review! Ms Anderson does portray anorexia in a honest way. She shows how terrible, tragic and life-eating it is.

    Great review, Annie!
    Gah, this makes me want to reread my copy T_T

    And OMG! Your blog design changed again! This is the best one so far :) Love, love, love the colors!

  3. Thank you Grace and Lottie for the sweet comments :)


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