Pages: 278 (hardcover)
Published: March 2009 by Viking
“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 were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she'll disappear altogether.
In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.
This was a very difficult book to read at times. Lia's story is as compelling as the obsessive voice inside her head-- the one that keeps reminding her how many calories are in each orange peel, how gruesomely fat she is even as she looks when she looks in the mirror and sees a fragile mannequin. Anorexia is a horrible place to be, and like the motel room where Lia's friend Cassie died alone and miserable, it's often an excruciatingly hard place to get out of.
I've read Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and a couple of her other books (Identical and Twisted), and Wintergirls definitely follows in that tradition. Lia's first person narration is broken, written in an almost poetic style, with scratched out words she wants to take back
There's no doubt that this is a beautiful book: beautifully written with beautiful symbolism, beautiful cover... but it's the story of a girl who is so desperate to be beautiful, she cannot see the slow deterioration of her body and mind. This was a difficult review to write, because I really feel that Wintergirls is a very personal read-- other reviews I've read for it range from unimpressed to enthusiastic raves about profound it is. Everyone will get something different out of this one, and opinions seem to vary on a wide scale. Lia's voice captivates from the opening sentence to the timidly hopeful ending, and will likely haunt readers for a long time to come.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5