Reviewed by Emily Ann for TeensReadToo.com
Chilling. Even many days after reading WINTERGIRLS, I still shiver when I think about this book.
Lia has struggled with an eating disorder before. Her parents think that she is getting better, but she is just fooling everyone. When Cassie, who used to be her best friend, dies, Lia spirals out of control again.
She eats less and less and begins seeing Cassie's ghost everywhere.
WINTERGIRLS explores the world of eating disorders with vivid, horrifying detail.
Even though this book was really creepy, it was also spectacular. I had never understood how or why some people began to have eating disorders, and this book gave a spectacular insight into their state of mind.
At the moment I picked up Wintergirls I had no idea what the book was about. I went in completely blind. I didn't expect that it would be such a powerful and emotional read. But it was. There were moments when I wanted to shake some sense into Lia. Other moments my greatest desire was to take Lia by the hand and tell her that everything would be alright. I wanted to guide her to the help she so desperately needed. The only thing she needed to do was just accept it. No catch involved. I was completely emotionally invested in this novel. Laurie did such an exceptional job in portraying Lias self-destruction. I felt her pain and her desperation to the core. My heart was breaking and crying out for Lia because I couldnt do anything to help her. Im a super huge fan of happy endings and although this one doesnt have a supreme happy ending it leaves us with hope and the realization that life is definitely worth fighting for, no matter how bad you think you have it. Hope that from here on, things will be better. My heart goes out to all the girls going through the same situation that Cassie and Lia are going through in Wintergirls. This is definitely a book worth picking up. This is the first novel Ive read by Laurie Halse Anderson and it will no be the last.
Phew. This may end up being sort of hard for me to review. I'll try to keep it brief and to the point.
The writing style - the scratched out words and occasional missing spaces didn't bother me. The caloric count after foods didn't bother me. The "weight" (were those weight numbers?) at the beginning of the chapters irked me to no end.
Something I don't like about this book and some other YA (actually, this can include another few genres but it's far more prevalent in YA) is the goofy descriptions. I can't find any specific examples right now but sentences about gauze shadowing brain, things of that nature. And yes, I *get* it. Fear not. I get it. I don't like it. I like more direct writing honestly.
I liked Lia for the most part I think. My two favorite characters, believe it or not, were Elijah and Emma. From the moment they entered the story until the last page they were my favorites and I think they were invaluable to the story even though it could be said they played rather small roles.
I think most, if not all, of the physical parts of Lia's problem were portrayed realistically. The mental parts? I don't know. This type of problem, all of them actually, the cutting, the mental, the depression, the anorexia, is all foreign to me thankfully. But, since it's not something I know much about it's hard for me to swallow the whole seeing ghost thing. I feel like that maybe could have been done differently and therefore, better. Maybe instead of seeing an actual Cassie-ghost Lia's memories could have been her ghosts. As well they were. But without the Cassie-ghost there "in the flesh".
One of my favorite things about Laurie Halse Anderson is that she tackles these hard teen subjects and that she does it well. Speak has stayed with me although I read it two or three years ago.
I also want to mention that her acknowledgments were beautiful. I try to read those when I can and when they're bland I give up but even in this part of things her talent shines through. The author thanks Alexandre Denomay for the cover pic and I must also. The cover depicts Lia perfectly for me and even as a pic alone, not being a cover, it's phenomenal.
I picked up this book as it was recommended on this site under the Hidden Gems forum. I thought it was very disturbing and I felt so helpless as I read about how this teen-age girl was fooling everyone regarding her eating disorder. As a parent myself, it was a wake up call to really pay attention to your children as they go through their teenage years, build a good relationship with them before they get to that age of independence and never be too busy with your own life to not really know what your child is going through. Lia's mother was more intuitive in regard to what was going on, but she didn't know the right away to reach her daughter.
This was a very scarey story because I'm sure it is very true to life for many young girls or someone they know.
I can't say I enjoyed this one, but it was a fast read and had an important story to tell.
Read for my online book club, The Reading Cove. It went deep into the madness of anorexia with Lia, so was uncomfortable to read at times - her reasoning was nuts. I felt she needed to be put down like an animal, out of her misery. But she comes through in the end and begins the journey to healing. I just felt we needed a little more of the healing at the end because there was SO much of the madness it left me twisted and the end didn't undo the knot. The writing style was very clever, but a tad overdone at times - too clever, seemed forced. But overall, good story!