Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by: Speak
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Date Read: 06/01/2015
Links: Goodreads | Kobo | Booktopia | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her.
In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all—hope.
I really enjoyed the overall experience of this book, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions but in the end felt so real and raw. Anderson doesn’t sugar coat eating disorders in this story, but instead shows all the highs and lows that Lia goes through.
Other than the intensity of Anderson’s novels, my favourite component of this was definitely the writing. It is so beautiful and lyrical. A lot of her descriptions of basic things were so vivid and unique, it gave such a great insight into Lia’s mindset. The reader may often not understand Lia’s thought process or decision, but Anderson does a great job of making you realize that can be how eating disorders take over your whole life. She also did a great job of showing, not just telling, the constant internal battle that plagued Lia and how that affected every thought in her head.
One thing that is very important is that this book does not glamorize eating disorders. It shows that they are not a whim, they are not a trend, they are an illness and, like with many illnesses, they take over your life and you lose yourself in them. I saw Lia struggle so much, and I felt for her and for her family. It’s frightening to see her shrink more and more with every page, see her lie to everyone around her, see her not want to get better, because she hates herself.
Food is the enemy, it is pain. She feels undeserving, she feels guilty for Cassie’s death, she feels alone, misunderstood, and lost. She has so much pain cooped up inside, that she resorts to self harm in order to feel something, to let the pain out. The people around her, although they want to help, at one point, they’d just rather ignore what’s in front of them and pretend that things are okay, instead of pushing harder and get Lia the help that she needs.
“We turned us into Wintergirls, and when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.”
Laurie Halse Anderson did such a good job of characterization and such a beautiful job of poetically writing this book, I found it hard to put down.
If you are struggling with an ED or Self Harm, or worry you may be triggered, do not read this book. It could be incredibly triggering.