Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls is not an easy read, but it's one that I think every girl, teacher, and parent SHOULD read. The book is emotionally difficult because it gives the reader a rare look into the mind of an anorexic girl, Lia. The story begins as Lia finds out that Cassie, her former best friend was found dead inside a motel room. Cassie had been bulimic for many years, and Lia herself has been hospitalized for her own eating disorder twice. Lia seems to be sort of doing okay, but the news of Cassie's death and the fact that Cassie called Lia 33 times on the night of her death sends Lia on a downward spiral.

Lia uses every trick in the book to make her parents believe she is eating and maintaining her weight, but it's not until it's almost too late that her relapse is discovered.

The book is haunting because it doesn't matter how skinny she gets, she always wants to lose more weight. There were times when I wanted to jump into the book and shake some sense into her and her father who seems to deal with conflict by ignoring what's going on. Even her own mother who is a cardiologist cannot seem to help her daughter recover.

Laurie Halse Anderson's writing is intense, beautiful, and chilling all at the same time. It's evident that she thoroughly researched the subject matter and has successfully channeled the mind of a teen suffering from anorexia. I also think it's the type of book that could potentially save lives. I'm sure individuals with eating disorders will be able to relate to Lia's thoughts and feelings, and it may encourage them to seek help. Parents, teachers, and others who read the book may be able to spot the warning signs that someone they know is in danger.

The book will be available on March 19th.

What Other Bloggers Are Saying:

Jen Robinson's Book Page: "Wintergirls doesn't give any easy answers for what families can do to help girls caught in the net of anorexia, but it does expose the true depth of the problem." (read more...)

In Bed With Books: "Anderson's work is somewhat hit-and-miss with me, but WINTERGIRLS is definitely a hit. The prose and characterization are on. You get the impact of anorexia but don't finish the book feeling completely bummed out." (read more...)

Presenting Lenore: "Celebrated Author Laurie Halse Anderson (whose breakthrough novel Speak came out 10 years ago) excels at exploring and deconstructing the minds and motivations of troubled teens and gives the narrative an undeniable immediacy and urgency." (read more...)

More info:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (March 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067001110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670011100
  • Source: Advance Reader Copy from publisher


  1. This was a really intense book, and I found it very hard to sympathize with the narrator sometimes. But the author always wows me with her ability to enter the minds of some very different characters.

    And, as you said, I think this is a very *important* book.

  2. I think this book could save lives, too, Jill. I'm glad that you wrote about it, too.

  3. This sounds absolutely fantastic. Disturbing, yes - but so important! I am looking forward to reading it, I will be posting a link to your review on my blog, and I will recommend it to a therapist I know who is working with young women with eating disorders... maybe she can pass it along as well.

  4. Great review! This book wouldn't be half as good if Anderson didn't get so completely into the head of her character.

  5. This one has really stuck with me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jill.

  6. it looks like a hard subject but still a good book...

  7. Speak was so awesome, I really want to read this one as soon as I can.

  8. I look forward to reading this book, as a sufferer of anorexia and bulimia (currently recovering, but it's a hard path) and as a fan of Speak. I am glad that you found the book riveting!