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Wintergirls Hardcover – March 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; First Edition edition (March 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067001110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670011100
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—The intensity of emotion and vivid language here are more reminiscent of Anderson's Speak (Farrar, 1999) than any of her other works. Lia and Cassie had been best friends since elementary school, and each developed her own style of eating disorder that leads to disaster. Now 18, they are no longer friends. Despite their estrangement, Cassie calls Lia 33 times on the night of her death, and Lia never answers. As events play out, Lia's guilt, her need to be thin, and her fight for acceptance unravel in an almost poetic stream of consciousness in this startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative. The text is rich with words still legible but crossed out, the judicious use of italics, and tiny font-size refrains reflecting her distorted internal logic. All of the usual answers of specialized treatment centers, therapy, and monitoring of weight and food fail to prevail while Lia's cleverness holds sway. What happens to her in the end is much less the point than traveling with her on her agonizing journey of inexplicable pain and her attempt to make some sense of her life.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Problem-novel fodder becomes a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception in this brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia. Lia has been down this road before: her competitive relationship with her best friend, Cassie, once landed them both in the hospital, but now not even Cassie’s death can eradicate Lia’s disgust of the “fat cows” who scrutinize her body all day long. Her father (no, “Professor Overbrook”) and her mother (no, “Dr. Marrigan”) are frighteningly easy to dupe—tinkering and sabotage inflate her scale readings as her weight secretly plunges: 101.30, 97.00, 89.00. Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world where every piece of food is just a caloric number, inner voices scream “NO!” with each swallow, and self-worth is too easily gauged: “I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.” Struck-through sentences, incessant repetition, and even blank pages make Lia’s inner turmoil tactile, and gruesome details of her decomposition will test sensitive readers. But this is necessary reading for anyone caught in a feedback loop of weight loss as well as any parent unfamiliar with the scripts teens recite so easily to escape from such deadly situations. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also made the Carnegie Medal Shortlist in the United Kingdom.

Laurie was the proud recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature...". She was also honored with the ALAN Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the St. Katharine Drexel Award from the Catholic Librarian Association.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. She and her husband, Scot, plus dogs Kezzie and Thor, and assorted chickens and other critters enjoy country living and time in the woods. When not writing or hanging out with her family, you can find Laurie training for marathons or trying to coax tomatoes out of the rocky soil in her backyard. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, http://twitter.com/halseanderson, and on her blog, http://madwomanintheforest.com/blog/.

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Customer Reviews

She really knows how to get into your mind and make you feel like you're the character in her books.
booknerd11
Anderson has such a unique writing style - reading a book written by her is more than just a reading experience, it's shocking to the eye.
Lydia
Many books are just descriptions without flesh; the authors of those books have good intentions but can't really handle them.
Sofia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Downing on March 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, Lia struggles with an eating disorder, but this is not another "problem" YA novel. The "problem" is that Lia has a messy life...tangled family relationships, guilt over opportunities lost, futures that frighten, pasts that seem mythically golden. In other words, Anderson has plunged straight into the heart and mind of a real teen. Usually I cheat and read reviews and the flap copy before I begin a book, but I decided to read this one "cold." The writing was so true and compelling, I had to keep reading and reading and reading...even though I was sitting in the middle of a mall that was about to close. This is NOT a book about anorexia, although that is one of the symptoms of Lia's true problem...learning to forgive herself for not being any of the many "versions" that the others in her life...her parents, stepmother, doctors, therapists, teachers, fellow students, but most of all her former friend Cassie...wish her to be. This is not a self-help book. It's a self-acceptance book. Yes, it is gritty and terrifying in some places. I am an adult, and have never had an eating disorder, but with her first paragraph Anderson yanked be back to my teenage self, and the (real-to-me) terrors that stalked my soul, the self-disgust for not "living up to my potential." I would recommend this to anyone over the age of fourteen...and ESPECIALLY PARENTS who might need a refresher course on just how stressful it is to be 18 or even 14.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hickerson VINE VOICE on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've read more than my fair share of scary stores--from the works of Edgar Allen Poe to Stephen King to Richard Matheson. But few of those works have ever chilled me, scared me and horrified me as much as Laurie Halse Anderson's "Wintergirls."

Part of it could be that Poe, King and Matheson are dealing in horrors that are terrifying but can be easily rationalized away as being supernatural in nature. The scary part of Anderson's novel is that what you're reading about is a...more I've read more than my fair share of scary stores--from the works of Edgar Allen Poe to Stephen King to Richard Matheson. But few of those works have ever chilled me, scared me and horrified me as much as Laurie Halse Anderson's "Wintergirls."

Part of it could be that Poe, King and Matheson are dealing in horrors that are terrifying but can be easily rationalized away as being supernatural in nature. The scary part of Anderson's novel is that what you're reading about is all too scarily real for a lot of young people in our world today.

Lia is a teenage girl with an eating disorder. The story is told from her first-person persepective, making it all the more compelling. As the story begins, Lia is coming to terms with the death of her one-time best friend Cassie. Cassie called Lia 33 times on the night of her death, but Lia never answered. Now, Lia is haunted by that in the most literal sense of the world. Cassie begins to appear to Lia, questioning her and slowly the novel reveals the nature of their friendship and the scary pact the two made together. One afternoon, the two decide to see who can be the thinnest among them.

The pact leads to two admissions to the hospital for Lia and she's slowly on the way to a third. Lia doesn't purge like Cassie does.
Read more ›
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By OpheliasOwn VINE VOICE on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of an adolescent girl suffering from anorexia. It details her weight obsession for her as well as others, her careful calorie counting, and even her troubled thoughts that lead to her eating disorder and her cutting.

Anderson has not failed with this YA novel. Her past YA accomplishments have also broached difficult, socially taboo subjects (Speak, etc.), but I caution parents and teachers to read this book before assigning it to children. It is heavy subject matter, but the way the story unfolds and the insight into the main character's troubled mind are intense- they were even heavy for me! I live and work at a co-ed boarding school and deal with eating disorders, cutting, aggression, distorted body image, and so much more. I would have to be very sure of the maturity and emotional stability of a girl before suggesting this book.

Wintergirls is a perfect glimpse into the mind of a girl whose actions are almost unimaginable. It also allows the reader to understand how perplexed her family is, how much her actions hurt them, and why they don't understand why she can't just stop killing herself. I suggest this book for any teacher, parent, or adult who regularly deals with the trials and tribulations of female adolescence. It will undoubtedly shed some light upon the pain and torture of all involved with eating disorders.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Miss World on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has "recovered" from a six year battle with an eating disorder, I was hesitant to read this book at first. I've been afraid to read anything that could possibly be triggering, and that is exactly what this book was.
This book is a haunting, and all too familiar account (for me personally) of what life was like with an eating disorder.
However do not let this deter you from reading the book. Wintergirls pulled me back into what life was like living with an eating disorder as well as the misery of it, which is so brilliantly illustrated by Anderson in this novel.
Ultimately, the ending of the book calmed all the things the book triggered for me and it proved to be an emotional and heart wrenching story.
I DEFINITELY recommend Wintergirls for not only those who have suffered from an eating disorder, but anyone, as it allows readers to put themselves in the shoes of someone suffering from such a debilitating disease.
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