Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: Wintergirls by 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 bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

~Quoted from Wintergirls

Wintergirls is a haunting and powerful book that takes you into the world of eating disorders. The story is emotional and raw and is a powerful and gripping story. I found that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, I was enthralled. This is not a book that I would typically read. I have read wonderful reviews about this book and Ms. Anderson's powerful writing skills. I have wanted to expand my reading into the Young Adult (YA) genre and this is an amazing book to start with. It's hard to put into words how this book touches a reader. Ms. Anderson takes a difficult subject and allows the reader to understand that world through her characters and her amazing style of writing.

The story is told through the voice of Lia, who is 18 and a senior in high school and struggling with anorexia. Her best friend Cassie, who she has known since third grade , has ended their friendship 6 months prior and then a tragic turn of events occur. Lia must deal with so much, the loss of a friend, her family issues and her own struggles with anorexia.

This is the first book that I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson and it packs a powerful punch in her prose and unique style of writing. Each word and sentence has strength and power to deliver that depth of emotion and feeling that accompanies this story. It's sad, it's touching, it's takes you to the depth of a girls struggling soul. It is written in such a way that it helps you understand, as an outsider looking in ,what this experience may be like for the person going through it as well as those it effects in such emotional ways. I haven't experienced this personally so I am not an expert. I do believe that this would be a helpful book for teachers, professionals working with teens who have eating disorders and high school students. If you have a daughter who reads this, I would suggest that you read it yourself as well as this book lends itself to discussion.

I will definitely be reading Laurie Halse Anderson's other books. Speak is at the top of the list. If you haven't read any of Ms. Anderson's books, I highly recommend Wintergirls.

About the author Laurie Halse Anderson:

From Goodreads:

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes.

You can follow her adventures on Twitter, and on her blog,

Check out the Wintergirls site,

For more information, visit Laurie Halse Anderson's website, WriterLady, here.

To buy the book, here is one option.


  1. I read this a while back and reviewed it. I thought it was full of disturbingly delicious details and signs you can watch for in your own children.

  2. I haven't read this yet, but it is in the tbr pile from a giveaway snag. It sounds better and better the more reviews I read.

  3. I have got to read this. Thanks for the great review!

  4. When I hear of books like this one, I always wonder if the mere act of writing the book, is in fact glamorizing the eating disorder instead of doing the opposite.

    However, I listened to an interview that Ms. Anderson gave and she said that she had mental health professionals read it for that very reason. They said that it does glamorize it, but so does TV, and magazines and the like.

    I never really thought of it that way but they are right. Just an interesting tidbit I wanted to share.

  5. I'm not really crazy about the quotes taken out of this book in reviews because I think they sound super cheesy out of context, but they work so well in the book.

  6. I have not read any books by this author but have heard nothing but praise for her books. Thanks for the recommendation and the review.

  7. I have this one on my shelf waiting to be read. I just started reading Speak, and I'm curious to see if it lives up to all of the hype.

  8. I'm interested in reading this book! This is the 2nd good review I've seen on it.

  9. Don't stop at Speak. She's written so many other good books too!! In fact you and your son would probably enjoy reading Chains which I think it a great historical fiction book!! Loved your review Bonnie!! I felt the same way after I read it and I reviewed it a while back.

  10. I've seen this author around everywhere lately! For some reason I've been a little hesitant to read her works, but I'm so glad you liked this one. I've heard Speak is outstanding.

  11. Must now check it out-thanks for the great review!

  12. I hope to read this soon as it's on my shelf. I'll be back once I have.

  13. I have this on my TBR List. It's great to read that you highly recommend it - Woo!

    BTW ~ I read Speak, but liked Just Listen (Dessen) better.

  14. I listened to this book this past week and thought it contained quite a punch. I agree with you that it appears to be a very realistic view inside the mind of someone struggling with anorexia.

    I have thought the same thing as Ti mentioned - and not just with anorexia.


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