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Wintergirls Hardcover – Mar 19 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 19 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067001110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670011100
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #368,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor Book Speak. She is also author of the critically acclaimed YA books Prom, Twitsted, Catalyst, Wintergirls, and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She has also authored a number of middle grade titles including The Vet Volunteers series, and the historical fiction Seeds of America Trilogy, which includes Forge, ALA Best Book for Young Adults Fever 1793, and the National Book Award finalist and Scott O’Dell Award-winner Chains. She and her husband live in northern New York State. Follow Laurie on Twitter @halseanderson and visit her at

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Chilling. Even many days after reading WINTERGIRLS, I still shiver when I think about this book.

Lia has struggled with an eating disorder before. Her parents think that she is getting better, but she is just fooling everyone. When Cassie, who used to be her best friend, dies, Lia spirals out of control again.

She eats less and less and begins seeing Cassie's ghost everywhere.

WINTERGIRLS explores the world of eating disorders with vivid, horrifying detail.

Even though this book was really creepy, it was also spectacular. I had never understood how or why some people began to have eating disorders, and this book gave a spectacular insight into their state of mind.

Reviewed by: Emily Ann
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Format: Hardcover
Finding the line between a good storyline and a non-romantic exposition of eating disorders is tough, but Anderson succeeded there. She did a beautiful job with Lia's voice. The writing felt original and very close to her, in a way that made me feel like I could understand, at least partly, what she was going through. She also makes a great use of the language as an object itself, striking through words, repeating some, creating a prose that illustrates the conflicts Lia is having.

The fact that I understood Lia's feelings didn't mean I liked her though. She seemed at times very selfish, caring about no one but herself, and I say that knowing that she had a lot on her mind. I also get that eating disorders are a type of mental illness, and that it controls one's life. For some reason though, I couldn't relate to Lia very much. Only with her little sister, Emma, did I feel some kind of connection that made her more human to me. The ending was also good on that point, although it came really late in the book and was a little rushed.

On the other hand though, maybe Lia's personality was exactly the point of the book. If you have had in your life someone who has dealt with similar issues, you might know how after some time, their problems eat them up and they become those problems. They close themselves to the world because they can't deal, they push people away until those who love them can't stand them anymore (or have a hard time to). Lia is like that : her issues take so much place that it's all that she is. Her parents have a hard time with her, and as readers, so do we. While I would usually put an unlikable character as a fault, in this case, I'm not so sure. Hence the conflicted feelings towards the book.

Wintergirls is not a comfortable read.
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Format: Hardcover
The book addresses some sensitive topics including anorexia, bulimia and cutting. I don't have any experiences with eating disorders but reading about Lia's problems really pulled me into the story and made it that much more believable for me.

Lia's not perfect; she's a flawed character who is so real and raw. She is also very strong in that she forces herself not to eat and suppresses her cravings when in front of some tempting food. To Lia "empty is strong" so by not eating she is strong.

Some parts were very disturbing and hard for me to read. It broke my heart reading about what Lia was doing to herself. Lia kept everything to herself and wouldn't open up to others. She's extremely depressed after Cassie's death but wouldn't show it to anyone which leads to her depression. She takes her anorexia to the extreme and starts cutting as a way to cope with her problems. At one point it seemed like Lia would never get better. That's what kept me reading cause I wanted to know what would happen next and how she can overcome this.

I'm so glad I finally read Wintergirls. It open me up to realistic problems that a lot of teenagers might be facing today and this book became a learning experience for me.
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Format: Hardcover
You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever,
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun. -- Eric Clapton from "Tales of Brave Ulysses, 1967

Lia, 17 has a severe case of anorexia. Each chapter is introduced by her weight, e.g. 68.0. In addition to her eating disorder, her friend Cassandra Jane (Cassie), also anorexic died. The night Cassie died, she called Lia 33 times, but Lia never answered her calls. That haunts Lia and compounds her sense of guilt over her friend's death. Lia also believes that Cassie is appearing to her and trying to contact her from a spiritual plane. The siren song of anorexia and self starvation is too great for Lia to ignore.

And the colors of the sea blind your eyes with trembling mermaids,
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave ulysses:
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing,
For the sparkling waves are calling you to kiss their white laced lips. -- Eric Clapton, "Tales of Brave Ulysses" 1967

Lia mulls over their friendship. The girls met when they were in the early grades and, over time made a pact to see who could not only be the thinnest, but stay the thinnest. Lia's resolution not to eat if she can help it has resulted in two hospitalizations and her mother, who is a doctor is at a loss as to how to reach her. Lia wants nothing to do with her and has moved in with her father, stepmother and 9-year-old stepsister.

Cassie, unlike Lia had bulimarexia. She binged and purged, whereas Lia scrupulusly takes no more than 500 calories a day and spends hours exercising to make her already prominent bones more visible.
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