Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: YA
Rating: A
For: Fun

I was a little bit scared of this book. The subject matter, anorexia and bulimia, is hard to read about. Very hard. Yet the whole experience was very enlightening, and it's totally amazing the way this author can get into the head of a girl going through this stuff.

The story follows Lia's struggles with food, something that began when she was just a very young girl. She and her friend bet each other about who could get the skinniest. Now, years down the road, it's all made worse when that same friend dies in the very opening chapter of the book. Lia feels the death is her fault, so she punishes herself even more. She tries to be "normal" for her little sister, but her parents make her crazy and she fights against everything they do to help her. This part was especially hard for me as I saw myself in the parent role and knowing that no matter how hard you, as a parent, try to help, the teenager struggles even harder to resist that help.

I am a little reluctant to let my own kids read this one, but I'm not sure I can put into words why. Perhaps because this particular problem is more within the realm of possiblity for them then some of the other teenage problems that we often read about, so I don't want to give them any ideas... or something. I don't know. I just know that it's scary.

But, it was a great book!

Other reviews:

Beth Fish Reads
Presenting Lenore
Maw Books Blog
Books. Lists. Life.

and a gazillion more!


  1. I didn't read your post because I'm going to start listening to this book today. I'm so glad to see that it received an A from you. :)

  2. I was going to say I enjoyed this one too - but "enjoyed" is maybe not the right word. (My brief review is here.)

    How about ... I thought this was a great book too! My 13yo daughter actually read it before I got to it - although I checked it out of the library for myself - and she was a little reluctant to let me read the book. :)

    She thought it would make me sad - which it did. But I also thought it was a powerful and meaningful read.

  3. I read this book in May and rather liked it. It was better than the other book I read by her, but it might just be that my mood is different? I haven't reviewed it yet... Not a big surprise.

  4. This is my first visit to your site. I love your colorful header.
    Laurie Halse Anderson is on of my favorite YA authors. I have been meaning to read this one. This sounds most appropriate for the high school bookshelves. If I were still at the middle school, I would worry about 6 & 7th graders reading this I think.
    I thought your review was excellent.
    Thanks for your insight.

  5. I know what you mean about being nervous about recommending it to a teenager. THanks for the link up.

  6. I'm soon going to read Speak, which will be my first book by Laurie Halse Anderson, but i hope to read both this one and Chains by the end of the year. They all sound so good.

  7. It sounds really compelling. I liked Speak a lot, and now I'm eager to read this one!

  8. This sounds really good. It's hard to review a book about a subject you don't like, but that has other merits to recommend it and you did a great job. I've heard a lot of good things about Laurie Halse Anderson. I'm going to have to get around to reading one of her books sometime...

  9. What really amazed me about this one was LHA's ability to make me even briefly consider Lia's actions "normal." There were times when we were in her head that it seemed reasonable and I've never had even a smidge of an eating disorder. Scary to think how accurate it must be to someone who does!

  10. I thought it was a very good book. Lisa (comment above) hit the nail on the head.

  11. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding this book and whether or not it can serve as a trigger for eating disorders. You saying that you weren't sure if you'd like your kids to read it or not reminded me of it. I love Laurie. I do, I do.



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