by Laurie Halse Anderson
"I measure myself; I can’t act or play soccer, and most of them have better grades than me. But I am the thinnest girl in the room, hands down.”
Summary: Lia and her best friend Cassie had a bet about who could be the skinniest. Now Cassie is dead. Pretending Cassie’s death hasn’t affected her is just one of the lies that Lia is telling her family. After several stays in the hospital Lia has picked up some tricks to keep her family from knowing she’s still loosing weight. Dropping from 110 pounds to 85 is difficult, and yet as she accomplishes goal after goal, Lia still doesn’t feel better and can’t escape Cassie’s ghost who keeps encouraging her to lose more. As things get worse Lia will have to choose between her loved ones and her ultimate weight goal, 0 pounds.
Review: I honestly believe that everything that Laurie Halse Anderson produces is gold. Every book is so different from anything she’s done before. She is able to float between writing styles in order to better express the voice of her protagonist and express the underlying themes. Wintergirls is a dark story about anorexia, and thus becomes even more heartbreaking when told through Laurie Halse Anderson’s lyrical narrative. The writing is very stylized and poetic with quick sentences. The reader gets the feeling that every word was chosen precisely to express the brokenness and distortion of these girls’ experiences. The characters are well developed, but at times the plot is slow moving. Some readers might be turned off by the writing style and others may find it helps them to identify with the character. Overall, this book is very well written and provides fresh insight into a horrible illness.
Other books that have to deal with eating disorders: Mercy, Unbound by Kim Antieau, Perfect by Natasha Friend, Looks by Madeleine George, What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci and LoveSick by Jake Coburn
Other books that deal with mental illnesses: Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell, Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin, Damage by A.M Jenkins, Cut by Patricia McCormick, Inside Out by Terry Trueman and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Rating: 4Q 2P JS
*I decided to include Junior High (grades 7-9) because girls of a younger age are becoming more and more concerned with their body image and might be suffering from anorexia.