Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
“Wintergirls” is the heart-breaking story of Lia, an 18-year old girl who is anorexic and has been hospitalized twice for her problem. Until her hospitalizations, Lia shared everything – including eating disorders – with her bulimic best friend Cassie. After Lia was hospitalized, Cassie began to ignore her. Until, that is, the night Cassie called Lia’s cell phone 33 times before being found dead alone in a motel room.
Laurie Halse Anderson seems to specialize in young adult books on difficult topics, and “Wintergirls” is no exception. Lia is both dealing with Cassie’s death and her own illness. The hospitalizations have not solved the root of her problem and she is continuing to do whatever she can to get more and more weight off, to eat less and less, without her father and stepmother finding out.
This book was definitely disturbing, mostly because you as the reader are so deep inside Lia’s very disturbed mind. You watch as you censor her own thoughts in an attempt to convince herself that she is not hungry and doesn’t need to eat. This story is grim, yet hopeful. It is incredibly painful being inside Lia’s mind, reading the names she hears about herself inside her head, but there is the promise of the possibility of redemption. I think this is an important book for teenage girls and for those who deal with teenage girls, to understand how eating disorders grow and the effect they have on lives. Anderson did her research and consulted with mental health professionals so that her book would ring true. You will be engrossed by this book.