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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

September 26, 2010
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Wintergirls Format/Length: Paperback, 281 pages
Genre/Subject(s): Realistic fiction, death, drama, eating disorders, family relationships, high school, mental issues, rehab
Age Range: Young Adult: Older Teens (15+)
Publishing Info: New York : Viking, c2009.
Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults, Amelia Bloomer Project, Junior Library Guild Selection, New York Times Bestseller List, etc. (see list on author’s website)
Amazon Link Rating: ★★★★

Short Summary: In this harrowing story, Lia struggles to deal with the aftermath of her friend’s death from bulimia and her own worsening anorexia while trying to hide her condition and her feelings from her family.

Review: Lia and Cassie were best friends growing up and had a pact to see who could be the thinnest. Although they were estranged when Cassie died of complications from bulimia, Lia is plagued by guilt for not answering any of Cassie’s final phone calls. Wintergirls follows Lia’s downward spiral as her guilt, worsening anorexia and family issues compound and become too much for her.

Anderson’s diary-like style of writing may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it once you do. Lia’s dark and nerve-wracking story grows harder to read as her condition worsens. It’s easy to be frustrated with her counting calories and devising ways to hide her condition. However, Wintergirls is worth reading for the depiction of the damage eating disorders can do to an individual’s health and relationships with others. It shows how hard it can be to overcome an eating disorder and that recovery from one takes time. The ending isn’t as satisfactory as it could be after so much build up, but it does convey enough of a feeling of hope that recovery is possible. It does a good job of showing how dangerous eating disorders can be and that it’s possible to recover from one with support and a strong desire to change.

Wintergirls is recommended for high school libraries and the young adult section at public libraries. It is important that teenagers (especially girls) have access to this book. Because of its subject matter, this book is recommended for older teens (15+).

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