Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Bonded by a pact that could destroy them, Lia and Cassie were best friends. Both suffering from eating disorders, they encouraged and helped each other in their self-destructive behavior. Then, one night, Cassie calls Lia repeatedly – and then dies in a hotel room. Her death leaves Cassie with tremendous guilt. She tries to piece together what happened to Cassie, which can only lead her to examine their long, tangled friendship. Will Lia be able to salvage her own life – or will she travel Cassie’s horrible path?

Anderson plumbs the mind of someone suffering from eating disorders so well that, as queasy Lia’s behavior makes you, it’s easy to understand. Residing in Lia’s mind is no fun, but it’s difficult to detach from this hypnotic, chilling read.

The Vroman’s YA book expert brought this book to school and, because of the depressing subject matter, none of the students wanted to read it. Neither did I. But it’s a book that fully fleshes out the experience of living with a severe eating disorder. Though it’s hard not to feel the complete disgust that Lia feels when being around food, it’s also a fair warning to see the innocent roots of this illness – the comparing, competing, and girlish dieting that can lead to real tragedy.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls. New York: Viking Juvenile, 2009.

ISBN: 067001110X. $17.99.

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