Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson (REVIEW)
Feb. 2010. 288p. Speak, paperback, $9.99
(978-0142415573). Young adult
Best friends Lia and Cassie have committed their bodies to a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. A broken friendship and thirty-three attempted phone calls later, Cassie is dead and Lia is haunted.
Wintergirls is a first-person experience that made this reader feel like I was piggy-backing on Lia’s shoulders as she existed in a life completely controlled by her diet. It’s a realistic portrayal of a girl struggling with her desire to be beyond thin.
Maybe even a little too realistic.
I’d be cautious about encouraging teens to read Wintergirls, because it read a bit too much like a how-to manual. We learn how Lia cheats the scales, fools her parents and carves into her body, effectively hiding the evidence. The messed up teen I used to be, would seriously be taking notes …
Lia’s recovery seems almost like an afterthought, shoved into the last pages of the book. Her hallucinogenic bouts of anorexia are exciting, but her recovery is not.
Wintergirls is intense and well written. It absorbs readers and is easy for self-conscious teen girls to relate to. I just wish the author would have spent a little more time on the recovery and a little less time perfecting the techniques of anorexia.