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.
In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
Anderson’s venture into the mind of an anorexic young woman is a compulsive read. Lia’s voice is authentic and the reader can feel how profound a hold the disease has on her. Her thoughts move quickly from what appears to be normal to what makes you cringe. It’s difficult to be in her head. You want to shake her and make her see reason, but you can’t and no one else can either. She has managed to seal herself off from the rest of the world. After a while, it stops being weird that the ghost of her friend follows her around. Instead, it’s the little things like the incessant counting of calories, the secret support blog encouraging anorexics in their efforts and the knowledge of how little one can eat and still drive a car that seem truly insane. However, there is a hidden survival instinct in Lia despite the guilt and self-torture. Anderson is right on the mark. Wintergirls is raw, real and a must-read for anyone trying to understand anorexia.
Wintergirls will be published by Viking Children’s in March.