Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 282
Release Date: March 19th, 2009

“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 are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Plot: 4/5
Creativity: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Eating disorders are foreign territory to me. I know what they are and how they work, but never in my life have I had an encounter with anyone with anorexia or bulimia. when I picked up Wintergirls, not only did I read my first ever about the topic. I was immersed in the sick, twisted world of a true anorexic.

Lia wants nothing in life but to be the skinniest girl in her school. She doesn't care for grades or sports or fashion or even boys; all she wants is to see her bones through her skin. It even became a competition between her and her best friend, Cassie, until Cassie dies.

Wintergirls was my first attempt at reading Laure Halse Anderson's writing, and I have to say, I was blown away. Her words are poetic. Lyrical. They make reading about such a painful topic delightful. The metaphors, the imagery, the overall writing style in the novel are all so flawless. Anderson could sell a book based on her writing alone.

The characterization in the novel is spectacular as well. Lia's pain is so real it's almost palpable- she hates eating and punishes herself for even thinking about picking up a cupcake, yet her desire for food is so intense she practically screams it in her thoughts and she hates herself when she does. She's puzzling, she's complex. I didn't get her one bit, yet at the same time I understood her completely. She's such a fragile, heavily-broken character, so emotionally and physically messed-up, and equipped with her raw, gripping story, she's bound to be one of the most unforgettable characters in YA literature.

I am one hundred percent sure when I say that Wintergirls is a must-read. It's something that is relevant to both teenagers and to parents, because it delves into a difficult topic that consumes a lot of young girls nowadays because of the unattainable standards of beauty that the media imposes on them. It tackles eating disorders, self-mutilation, death, friendship, and family troubles with its beautiful writing and exceptional story, and I firmly believe that one day, this book may just save somebody's life.


  1. Ers, I didn't know you had a blog! Nice review babe! :) Sounds like a nice book. -Liz

  2. Wonderful review! I've been meaning to read this book for so long. I've heard nothing but positive comments about it. Lia sounds incredibly well-drawn. (:

  3. Stopping by from the hop. Have a great weekend!

  4. Wonderful review Erika! I love the way you described your reading experience. Carefully worded and descriptive.

  5. Wintergirls is awesome! I loved it as well! Eating disorders is a very delicate subject but it's very well presented here in Wintergirls! Your review was well-written as well as personal which I loved =)

    Here from CEP =)

  6. This is a really well-written review, Erika! I'm sure everyone who hasn't read this book WILL after reading your review - including me!

  7. I keep wanting to read this book, but never get around to buying it. I'll definitely have to get it next time. Fantastic review!:D

  8. Thanks for the review.

    If you had to pick an author who even somewhat matched/resembled Anderson's writing ability or subject sensitivity, who would it be? I thoroughly enjoy her!

  9. Aww I really love this book! I read it so long ago and I still remember it almost perfectly. I'm glad you liked it as well. You did a wonderful describing it's effect. Amazing review! :)

    Btw here from the CEP :D

  10. I'm dropping in from the CEP.

    Great review. I have avoided this book because of the subject matter, but your review has made me change my mind about it. I added it to my wishlist.

  11. This was a huge success in our school's Chick Lit Book Club. The girls loved it and we had one of our best discussions yet over it. Thanks for sharing your review and promoting this amazing book!

  12. thanks, guys! it really is an amazing book with relevant subject matter, and if you haven't read it yet, i suggest you do! :)

    @topher- i think a lot of people would agree with me when i say that LHA is on a league of her own, but when it comes to writing, i think jandy nelson has some similarities with her. nelson's writing is also beautiful and lyrical, and her prose is probably one of the best i've ever read. then for subject sensitivity, probably julia hoban. i've only read one off her books, willow, which is about a cutter. it was raw and gripping and about a very sensitive issue, very much like wintergirls :)