Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is about two girls who suffer from Anorexia. One of them dies at the start of the story, and the other, Lia, is left to fight the battle.
Published in 2009, this book is up to date and hard hitting as many of Anderson's books are. The reader gets to experience Lia's downfall as she tries to deal with her own eating and cutting disorders along with her guilt over Cassie's death.
This book is potentially triggering for those with eating disorders or those who cut, but it could also be a book of healing for those with eating disorders and those who cut.
Although I felt the book had some pacing issues, I enjoyed the story and all the poetic words that bothered some other reviewers. I like language that helps me visualize the story, and Anderson is very good at making the reader see the story. I also liked her use of strike-out formatting. I felt it worked for the character and the intended audience.
I felt for Lia's parents. I found myself asking, "What would I do in their shoes?" How do you help a child when you don't understand what they are feeling, when they won't do the work needed to get well, when your insurance won't cover treatment?
I liked the growth in Lia's character and how realistic she seemed in her relationships with everyone around her. Nothing felt contrived - only brutally real. Her stepmom was wonderful, real, not the evil stepmother archetype, but instead a woman of great compassion who was frustrated and trying to protect her own child.
I think those who know someone with an eating or cutting disorder could be helped by reading this. This is definitely a book for older teens and adults. With a Lexile of 730L, this makes a good high/low book for older teens that haven't become avid readers yet.
I love the cover art of this novel.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.