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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I normally love Laurie Halse Anderson’s books and voice as a writer, so I didn’t expect for this book to not work for me as much as it did.
The thing that really made this story wrong for me was how poetic Lia tries to be. She goes into unnecessary metaphors that don’t make sense, uses strikethrough that’s endearing annoying and can’t explain anything simply. She’s got the why-yes-I-am-the-victim-here mentality that often strikes girls in complicated situations in contemporary YA.
“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.
This ^^ is not even close to the worst of it.
Other than the forced poetry to this story that encompasses the issues of the writing and the main character, I thought this story was interesting, to say the least. The plot comes up with some ghosts, deals with the issues between Lia and Cassie and eventually Lia comes to terms with her anorexia. The journey to that point in time feels long as the writing wore down on me and slowed down the pace, but I was happy with the ending and the way that not everything was quite tied up in the sense that I felt like Lia had a good future ahead for her, but not everything is certain.
If nothing else, WINTERGIRLS was pretty unique in it’s approach to anorexia and eating disorders in general. It was nice to see the ghost element to see how exactly she would pull it off because she does have a reputation as a contemporary writer, but while WINTERGIRLS was well-done, it just wasn’t for me. I am going to be trying MIRRORS NEVER LIE, a slightly older book by Isaacsen-Bright that’s also about anorexia. For now, I wouldn’t recommend WINTERGIRLS as the best YA book about anorexia out there, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as my favorite Laurie Halse Anderson book. Instead, I would read SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. 2 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 278