Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewed By: A.T.
This book is about the tragedy of anorexia and bulimia, and the complex mental and emotional walls people build up around them. In this book, Lia has just learned of the death of her bulimic best friend Cassie. Lia, an anorexic girl herself who has just completed 2 rounds of inpatient therapy and care for her disorder, is trying her hardest to ignore what is going on around her in order to control the only thing she feels she can - what goes into her mouth and into her body. Throughout the story, you get a feel for what her home life is like, and how terrifyingly easy it is to fool everyone: mom, aka Dr. Marrigan, dad, aka Professor Overbrook, stepmother Jennifer, and stepsister Emma. While this is a very serious subject, the author does a great job getting into Lia's head and helping the reader to understand what she is going through.
Why I Picked it Up: This book is on this year's Abe nominee list. Also, it came highly recommended, and as a book by Laurie Halse Anderson, I figured I couldn't go wrong. But to be honest, based on the cover and the title, I thought the book was going to be a fantasy novel about fairies or something. It wasn't until the book was recommended to me that I found out what it was about.
Why I Finished It: Well...at first I couldn't really get into the book. I LOVE food, so I had a hard time seeing the world as Lia does (for example, every time I think of any food, the number of calories in a serving does not pop into my head). However, I did like how you got a glimpse into what she was thinking, and it made me realize that Lia was trapped in her own nightmare and had no idea how to get out or who to turn to. By the 10 chapter, I had to know more about Lia and Cassie and how everything turned out in the end.
I’d Give this Book To: Anyone who knows someone like Lia or Cassie, boy or girl. Eating disorders are a very serious thing, and some of the problems Lia and Cassie faced in this book are all to real for some people. This is an excellent book for older middle school kids and high school students.
**Librarian Side Note** If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, there are many things you can do to help. Sometimes it's as easy as listening, and sometimes it's a little more difficult. You could also try this website for more information on how to get you or someone you know help: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/