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Wintergirls
by Laurie Halse Anderson


Overview - "'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.  Read more...


 
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More About Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
 
 
 
Overview
"'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 Liaas descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780670011100
  • ISBN-10: 067001110X
  • Publisher: Viking Books
  • Publish Date: March 2009
  • Page Count: 278
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-UP


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Depression & Mental Illness
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Emotions & Feelings

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 120.
  • Review Date: 2009-01-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

Acute anorexia, self-mutilation, dysfunctional families and the death of a childhood friend—returning to psychological minefields akin to those explored in Speak, Anderson delivers a harrowing story overlaid with a trace of mysticism. The book begins as Lia learns that her estranged best friend, Cassie, has been found dead in a motel room; Lia tells no one that, after six months of silence, Cassie called her 33 times just two days earlier, and that Lia didn’t pick up even once. With Lia as narrator, Anderson shows readers how anorexia comes to dominate the lives of those who suffer from it (here, both Lia and Cassie), even to the point of fueling intense competition between sufferers. The author sets up Lia’s history convincingly and with enviable economy—her driven mother is “Mom Dr. Marrigan,” while her stepmother’s values are summed up with a précis of her stepsister’s agenda: “Third grade is not too young for enrichment, you know.” This sturdy foundation supports riskier elements: subtle references to the myth of Persephone and a crucial plot line involving Cassie’s ghost and its appearances to Lia. As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is more difficult to put down. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Dying to be thin

It's been 10 years since Laurie Halse Anderson burst onto the literary scene with her powerful debut novel, Speak. Now Anderson is back with her fifth novel, one whose raw emotion, troubling subject matter and indelible images will further cement her reputation as one of the best young adult authors writing today.

Although Anderson's theme is eating disorders, Wintergirls is a far cry from the kind of popular "problem novels" about anorexia and bulimia that seem to flood bookstore shelves. Instead, Anderson simultaneously explores both the brutally isolating self-loathing experienced by those suffering from these diseases and the twisted "support" that girls with eating disorders offer each other, encouragement that often spirals into mutual self-destruction.

At the center of Wintergirls is Lia, a high school senior who has already been hospitalized twice for anorexia. Now living with her father, stepmother and stepsister to avoid conflict with her overbearing mother, Lia has managed to keep her whole family in a state of denial.

Inside, though, Lia is in crisis. Her longtime best friend, Cassie, died the night she called Lia 33 times, each voice mail more desperate than the last. Lia ignored every one and is now wracked with guilt. The two girls had a difficult relationship, both of them locked in a dangerous pact to be the skinniest girl in school.

Tear-jerker novels and books of pop psychology might lead many to believe that there are simple, straightforward reasons why girls develop eating disorders. In her typically thoughtful style, Laurie Halse Anderson reveals that, in many cases, the motivations are far more complex, nuanced and dangerous. With naked emotion, brutal honesty and a narrative that's simultaneously captivating and claustrophobic, Wintergirls gives readers a haunting window into the disordered thinking behind eating disorders.

 
BAM Customer Reviews