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Anderson, Laurie Halse

(Paperback - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.
Publisher: New York : Speak, 2010, c2009
ISBN: 9780142415573
Branch Call Number: FIC A
Characteristics: 278, 6 p. ; 21 cm.
Alternate Title: Winter girls


From Library Staff

Lia struggles to come to terms with her friend’s death from anorexia even as she struggles with the same disorder.

Lia and Cassie used to be best friends. And then they weren't anymore, and now Lia is the only one left. If she had just picked up the phone when Cassie called, could Lia have saved her life?

From the critics

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So dark and compelling, I couldn't help but follow Lia as she spiraled down towards self destruction.

I absolutely loved it! It was SO powerful. Also, the words just flowed...I didn't want the book to end.

Nov 13, 2014
  • itzmyguys3 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is an amazing read. Anderson has an incredible way of writing... her sentences and descriptions often read like '50s beat poetry. Anderson becomes a poet in her own right with this book.

The subject of eating disorders is a dark one, but this book is definitely worth the read!

Jul 20, 2014
  • beaseaotter rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“You’re not dead, but you’re not alive, either. You’re a wintergirl, Lia-Lia, caught in between the worlds. You’re a ghost with a beating heart. Soon you’ll cross the border and be with me.”

One of the things I loved the best about Wintergirls —the first book I’ve read by Laurie Halse Anderson— is how perfectly her writing conveys the sense that Lia is, indeed, frozen in time somewhere between being “a real, live girl” and being on the other side. Anderson’s poetic writing is ethereally dark, with an abundance of earthy imagery and the clever incorporation of Greek mythology (see the story of Persephone) that left me with the sense the protagonist was narrating her own decomposition, if not lyrically so.

Having no first hand experience with anorexia, I can’t say how authentic Lia’s voice was, but from what I have read (primarily first person accounts from blogs and chatrooms), I get the sense that it’s bang on. I found myself entirely engrossed, and utterly emotionally exhausted. Imagine a life so bleak; so fully consumed by lack of consumption that there isn’t any energy left for actual living.

It is true that Anderson made some unique stylistic choices with this novel. I’ve read criticisms, in particular, of her use of strikethroughs, and while I admit they felt a little clumsy to me at first, once I got used to them, I thought they added extra depth to Lia as a first person narrator. Maybe it’s because I imagine we all edit or correct our own inner dialogue, at least to an extent (I certainly do), and so it gave me a greater sense of intimacy, as though I really was experiencing Lia’s thought process first hand. The novel was very much a moment to moment narration and the use of strikethroughs enhanced that for me.

Grieving, haunted and half buried, it’s understandable that Lia would have a hard time focusing outward, yet she is pulled—particularly by her sister— and slowly we see her grow in her ability to consider others (illustrated in part through a change in her self editing as depicted via the use of those contentious strikethroughs), and through this growth, find both redemption and the will to live.

Contrary to what some have felt, I found Lia likeable, though excruciatingly sad. Well, maybe not likeable, but certainly not dislikable. Maybe neutral? There was not enough about her as a person with interests outside managing her disorder to know what kind of person she really is, but Anderson’s writing certainly provoked empathy and as a parent, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would navigate this if Lia was one of my own girls, rich with potential, but caught up in something beyond their control. Anderson did a tremendous job illustrating the complexities an eating disorder brings to a family dynamic.

Like so much else out of my realm of experience, I’ve always felt a need to understand how people end up finding eating disorders as a way of coping and what that looks and feels like. I suppose I’ll never really know, but I suspect that this very well crafted, yet excruciating story gives us a pretty good glimpse.

As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder, this book had me in tears. It's very realistic and if I were weak willed it would've triggered me. I recommend it. It's a great read. I was never confused by it but I come from her perspective sort of.

Aug 05, 2013
  • ARIEL D SMITH rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

this is okay, its wirth a read, kind of slow but worth the read. a little good lesson.

Jul 24, 2013
  • crazyflipper247 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wintergirls is another inspiring book by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is about the struggle of anorexia and the loss of your best friend. Lia's best friend, Cassie dies. They were both anorexic, and they would cut them selves. They stuck together until Cassie's time on Earth was up. Cassie's ghost keeps haunting Lia, though. Cassie finally makes Lia realize that she has to want to get better to get better. She finally overcomes the eating disorder and gets back to her normal life.

Jul 22, 2013
  • emorrison829 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I thought it was an excellent story about overcoming an eating disorder. It was very realistic. I would definitely recommend reading it!

Jul 13, 2013
  • Missnothing rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Intense, fast moving. Will draw you in from the first page. I absolutely love the metaphor between a winter girl and how an anorexic stays at the same age as when they developed the disease. The whole novel is just beautiful. The ending will shock you to no end. This is one of my favorite books in eating disorder literature.

The best book ever
Very intriguing

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Oct 06, 2013
  • AmandaVollmershausen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

AmandaVollmershausen thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Chloe_427 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

navy_dog_183 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Sep 12, 2011
  • LocketLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

LocketLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 13, 2011
  • MikeinShaker rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

MikeinShaker thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 10, 2011
  • KKPGIRL rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Feb 11, 2011
  • illusions_court rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

illusions_court thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jan 02, 2011
  • Red_Lion_65 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Red_Lion_65 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 45

Feb 02, 2010
  • Dramatical_Cats rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Dramatical_Cats thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Coarse Language: Swearing that is it

Oct 23, 2012
  • Ms_Silva rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Decline, despair, loneliness, cutting, purging, and a whole lot more.


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Jul 13, 2013
  • Missnothing rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“I believe that you've created a metaphorical universe in which you can express your darkest fears. In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.”

Jun 05, 2012
  • Ambiii143 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.



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Oct 23, 2012
  • Ms_Silva rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Senior HS girl Lia and Cassie were best friends, but Cassie just died a bulimia-related death in a dirty motel room. Cassie's ghost haunts anorexic Lia, who - after 2 stints in rehab - has sewn weights into her bathrobe and sets sight on 90 lbs, maybe 85. Decline, despair, loneliness, cutting, purging, and a whole lot more.

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