Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

“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 library aide who hides in Fantasy.
I am the circus freak encases in beeswax.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
When I get close, they step back. The cameras in their eyeholes record the zit on my chin, the rain in my eyes, the blue water under my skin. They pick up every sound on their collar microphones. They want to pull me inside of them, but they’re afraid. 
I am contagious. 



Lia counts the calories of everything she eats. She cuts every piece of food in front of her into smaller, equal pieces. She exercises late at night when everyone is in bed. She keeps a handy box of laxatives and tries to stop herself from slicing her skin open with a razor blade because she knows it upsets her dad.
When Lias best friend, Cassie, is found dead and alone in a motel room across town Lia doesn’t know what to do. They haven’t spoken for months, since before Lia came out of hospital for the second time, but Cassie called her 33 times on the night she died, in a motel room, all alone.
Lia spirals further out of control after Cassie’s death and her parents, stepmum and stepsister are terrified she’s going to return to the state she was in before hospital lock up number 2. She tries to hide the fact she’s still not eating, not recovered, from them but they know something’s wrong.
I knew when I heard about this book that I had to read it. Anorexia is an awful topic, people try to refrain from talking about it, so many people suffer with it without letting anyone know and no-one should have to. I’m a firm believer in being who you want to be, don’t focus on what other people want and therefore I’m a curvy size 14 who loves food and couldn’t ever put myself through anorexia or bulimia because I don’t mind the way I look!
Wintergirlshit the spot when it comes to understanding what people go through when suffering from these illnesses. The book shows you exactly what is going through Lia’s mind, what Cassie thought when she started throwing up in the first place, why people do go through these things. I loved this book, it was so sad at times and I felt sorry for so many of the characters, especially Lia’s family because at the end of the day they just really wanted her to get better, even if they went about it the wrong way sometimes!
Emma had to be my favourite character. It was like she was there to remind Lia what it was like to be free spirited and not worried about anything. I really loved Emma and I wished with all my might that she didn’t have to go through some of the stuff she did.
During university I studied stylistics, and within that we discussed what it meant when things were written in a different way across the pages in books. If only I’d had this book when I wrote my essay because it’s a perfect example of what we were talking about. The strikethrough use when Lia wanted to say something, or do something, but couldn’t because she knew it wasn’t “right” was awesome, it kept you inside Lia’s mind, understanding the fight about food she was having inside. I really loved that you understood what Lia was going through, that I could relate to her feelings even though I’ve never really been through anything as drastic as that. I loved as well the way that you got the whole story; the mess that bulimia makes to your insides, the fatigued state that anorexia does to your body. It was incredible the way that the story was written so that I could see everything happening and relate it to the way Lia was feeling in that moment. I don’t want to go into details but towards the end of the book I was convinced that I could see everything that was going to happen because I knew Lia so well, but this wasn’t a bad thing because I needed to know what was going to happen to her for definite and if she was going to be ok. I think Lia is such a strong character, she goes through so much and even her persistence with anorexia shows how strong she can be. I wished Cassie would leave her in peace but Lia found strength and I loved that
Also I rarely mention covers, obviously you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover but I have to mention this one. I love it, the graffitish style its go going, the snippets of Lia it has, it shows you more of Lia than if it was her face and I must say that in my opinion the UK cover kicks the US covers ass!
I want everyone to read this book, seriously Laurie Halse Anderson did a fecking amazing job in delving into the mind of an anorexic as far as I can tell and you get such a hold on to Lia, you feel like she’s a friend falling apart at the seams but all you can do is watch. Thank you so much for writing such an amazing book Laurie! 
  • Wow, sounds like a powerful book – great review as well!

  • It’s definitely a super book. I’m really pleased that it has finally been published in the UK!