Review // Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title // Wintergirls
Author // Laurie Halse Anderson
Pages // 278 pages
Publisher // Viking Books for Young Readers
Series // None
Release Date // March 2009
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.


Harrowing, haunting and the epitome of the female struggle, Wintergirls describes the life of a girl with an eating disorder. I have to admit then when I was first advised to read Wintergirls, I was reluctant. Laurie Halse Anderson is a very skilled writer, and I couldn’t hep but feel like this would be a novel which would make me howl with tears. I was bloody right!

We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.

The plot follows a girl called Lia who has fallen into the clutches of a vicious eating disorder. Her old friend had suffered with the same thing and had ultimately killed herself, which is also heartbreaking to read too. I think that when reading this novel, you need to approach with caution. You WILL be sad, and you WILL understand the struggle in which living life daily becomes. What’s even worse is the fact that while this story is fiction, there is a girl . . . two girls . . . a handful of girls living with this disorder and this battle everyday. To top that off, not everyone will be getting the help they need, like Lia has had and continues to get. There are girls out there that hide their disorder, much like Lia, and it goes undetected until death. It’s an issue of the world, something that needs urgent action. Society drills an idea of perfection into young girls head, but labels them ‘disturbed’ when they end up with issues such as anorexia or bulimia. This novel really highlights all this, and helps you understand that sometimes it isn’t a cry out for attention.

Here stands a girl clutching a knife. There is grease on the stove, blood in the air, and angry words piled in the corners. We are trained not to see it, not to see any of it.

Lia is someone that your hearts aches for. She was dealt a bad hand, by both life and her ex best-friend Cassie, which led to the downward spiraling of Lia’s life. The story sees her constant battle with her weight, and the demons within. She isn’t the most popular girl in school so she doesn’t really have friends. Lia is the embodiment of all those girls who don’t have a voice or who don’t see their disorder as an issue. For what you hear about Cassie, you don’t really seem to like her. Although just as lost as Lia and the other girls that are struggling with their weight, she almost feels the need to make others feel inferior. However, you do feel bad for the fact that she never really had the most appropriate send off, or that her end wasn’t timely.

When I get close, they step back. The cameras in their eye-holes record the zit on my chin, the rain in my eyes, the blue water under my skin. They pick up every sound of their collar microphones. They want to pull me inside of them, but they’re afraid. I am contagious.

We need more stories about eating disorders and mental illness. While we live in a society that is becoming more accepting and more diverse, there is still a high stigma around mental illness. You see it all the time, when people blame those suffering and argue that they are simply acting for attention purposes. This book is a moving YA novel that every teen should read! I awarded this novel a 4 out of 5 snowflakes.

4 starsboreder

Usually a book goes through several cover changes in its lifetime. Most variation depends on the publishing location. Wintergirls is available in the following cover formats.


Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.

House of Books says “Overall I thought this was a brilliant book.”

Megan @ Love, Literature, Art and Reason says “While Wintergirls was powerful, it was disturbing.

Randi @ The Radical Idea says “Anderson’s books are a reminder that even if you are struggling with some incredibly difficult and isolating things, you are not alone.”

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7 thoughts on “Review // Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    It’s been a while since I read this book, and I’m glad that you enjoyed it! I feel like nowadays we don’t get that many books about eating disorders anymore, but more about depression and other mental disorders, and this was one of those ones that were quite emotional in its portrayal of the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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