Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia is in trouble. She has serious body issues that are dragging her down fast. She has been institutionalized for anorexia but her demons won’t let go, and every time she looks in the mirror, she sees the same thing–a fat girl.
Her family is doing everything they can to help her, but Lia cannot overcome her disease. The tragedy grows even more as Lia’s former friend Cassie is found dead in a seedy motel room. Cassie was bulimic, and she and Lia were like partners in crime, always egging each other on when it came to their eating disorders.
Cassie’s death is a wake up call to Lia and, more importantly, to Lia’s family. They are overwhelmed with grief at the state Lia is in and the fact that no matter what they do, they cannot get through to Lia. Lia has isolated herself from everyone she was once close to, and with Cassie’s death she is plagued by an even deeper void.
Anderson has been kind of hit and miss for me thus far. I loved Fever 1793 abd thought it was an exemplary work of YA historical fiction. Then I read Speak. I didn’t dislike it–I think that my issue was just that I wasn’t wowed. I expected so much after reading all types of glowing reviews for it and then it was just a “meh” read. I think that it tackled a very important issue and I really respect how powerful it is, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I had a hard time connecting with the book personally.
All that aside, this isn’t a review of Speak. When it comes to Wintergirls, I felt like the writing style was eerily similar to that of Speak. This time, I had no issued with connectivity. Lia felt so real to me and was able to sympathize with her situation. It has been eight years since I graduated high school, but I feel like Anderson really captures the emotion and upheaval that most teenage girls constantly face. I think that is ultimately what makes an extraordinary YA author–someone who, as an adult, is still able to channel the thoughts and reactions of a teenager.
Wintergirls is a great example of meaningful YA fiction. Whether you are already a fan of Anderson or you have yet to read any of her books, I urge you to pick it up.
I borrowed this book from my local library.