Book Review: Wintergirls


Laurie Halse Anderson


288 pages

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.

Other Reviews:

Book Nut

Hey Lady! Watcha Readin?

Presenting Lenore

Beth Fish Reads

Maw Books Blog

Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Devourer of Books

I borrowed this book from my local library.

9 Responses

  1. I really enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson’s books; the students at my school also do, which I think is most important. I liked Wintergirls for the message and issues that it raised

  2. I’ve never read Anderson, but I do have Speak and Fever 1793 on some wishlist somewhere. 🙂 I’m not sure about a book on eating disorders… I can’t pick up Hunger for just that reason.

  3. Thank you for linking my review! I loved this book. It’s been many more years since I graduated high school but I think Laurie Halse Andersen really captures the voices of teens and the things that matter to them. I definitely want to read her latest book which is a historical.

  4. One of my friends read this book and raved about it to no end. I’ll definitely have to check it out.

  5. I think this will be my next Anderson book. I’ve only read Speak so far, but Wintergirls has been recommended to me on several occasions. I’ll add Fever 1793 to my list as well.

  6. I’m going to read this sooner or later. First of all your review is great; it’s also been strongly recommended by a close friend who’s a YA librarian. It sounds so haunting and interesting. Thanks for the terrific write up!

  7. My daughter loved “Speak.” I really need to get her to pick up this one off her bookshelf. So hard to get her to read anything so I bought this one as soon as it came out because she liked “Speak” so much and then….no interest.

  8. I loved Speak, but that’s the only Anderson I’ve read to date. I need to change that, and I think this is the one I’ll pick up next.

  9. I really enjoyed this book, too. Laurie Halse Anderson is a great YA writer.

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