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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Review

Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Pages: 278
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: March 19th 2009 US / January 3rd 2011 UK
Source: For Review (thank you :D )
Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

“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 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. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. 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.
(from goodreads)

I am in awe of this book. It was horrifying; captivating; moving; sickening; repulsive; emotional; harrowing; upsetting. I can't sum it up in a few words. It was the most horrifying book yet the most captivating at the same time. Many have said that despite it being so hard to read it is even harder to put down. I can't help but agree.

The writing was beautiful. It was lyrical and poetic. I loved how descriptive it was. Truly magical. Laurie is definitely a talented author; I do not think it can be disputed. The layout of the book was also really intriguing. Words were crossed out that were her true thoughts, showing how she was fooling herself alone with her family. The constant calorie count was really upsetting for me. I couldn't imagine picking up an orange and knowing the exact calorie count of it. It was extremely effective here.

The 1st person narrative was crucial. It wouldn't have had such a strong impact without it. Being able to see into the mind of someone with an eating disorder was rather terrifying. I felt scared for her, knowing she would never be content with how she looked. You could see her fears and her goals and all the private thoughts she didn't share with anyone else. 

The subject matter was rough. I won't lie. I winced. I literally had to put the book down, close my eyes and breath. It is extremely harrowing and there are some scenes some people may find disturbing. This is by no means a glossed over version of eating disorders. It is the harsh, brutal truth. If it is not something you can usually handle I wouldn't recommend it. I am usually okay with books like this but I struggled at times.

I did like Lia. I think if it was written in 3rd person I wouldn't have liked her so much. I could understand her and see myself in her shoes and how terrifying that must have been. As if the eating disorder wasn't enough the fact that Cassie called her 33 times before she died had to rest of Lia's conscience. She had it very very tough.

Jennifer angered me at times. I could understand why she did the things she did but I thought she was very self centred and just didn't care about anyone but herself and occasionally her daughter when it could risk her "perfect" image. 

The ending was good. I think it is how I wanted to end. One thing that happened really pissed me off and I mean REALLY pissed me off. I stopped reading for a few minute in a huff. I was having none of it. I get why it happened and it fit the character description and whatnot but no!

I apologise if this review is a bit disjointed. I found it very difficult to write because it was so difficult to read. It is a book I shall never forget, that is for sure.

4.5 stars


  1. Beautiful review, you described it perfectly. It's one of those books that can really hit you hard, and Laurie is really capable of doing that in her writing.
    I'm actually taking a class on eating disorders and rereading this would be a whole new insight for me I think.

  2. Yep! I completely agree. I was in awe of Wintergirls. Its rawness made me lose my appetite, but I absolutely loved it. <3
    Great review!

  3. Laura: Thank you :) It really hit me hard! That sounds really interesting.

    Lauren: Thank you! It was very raw, I agree!

  4. Loved your review and I'm really looking forward to reading this. A little apprehensive maybe, but still looking forward to it.

  5. Thank you :) I think you definitely need to be aware of what you're getting yourself into before you read it. You must be in the right frame of mind.


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