04 May 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls is at once heartbreaking and terrifying. Within the first few scenes, the reader learns, along with Lia, that Cassie’s dead body was “found in a motel room, alone.” We learn shortly after that Cassie called Lia’s phone thirty-three times just before she died. Lia ignored thirty-three of her calls that night. Lia and Cassie’s friendship faltered over the past few months, shattering years of childhood memories, inseparable summers, and secrets kept close to the heart. Both Lia and Cassie’s families thought the other girl was an unhealthy influence, but the truth is that both girls had their own set of problems. Lia is anorexic, Cassie was bulimic; rivals to each other, challenging themselves.

The story is told beautifully, and will appeal to most older teen girls. Issues of eating disorders, cutting, guilt, and love are handled realistically and honestly. Scenes are at time gut-wrenching, but Lia’s ultimate show of strength and growth, when she feels she has nothing left inside of her, is fascinating to watch.

Recommended to high school readers, especially those drawn to angst-ridden female characters. This one by Anderson, recent recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award, is not to be missed.
Call number: YA ANDERSON (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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