Lia starves herself. Lia cuts. This is not a book for the faint-of-heart. Lauri Halse Anderson’s novel, Wintergirls, will scare the living daylights out of you. For girls who are brought up in today’s media-saturated culture, the crown of being the skinniest, the prettiest, and the most popular, this novel will sound way too familiar. Maybe reading it will do teens and their parents some good by making us all more aware of the dangerous and unhealthy messages we send every minute of everyday about food, appearance, and success.
Lia Overbrook made a pact with her friend Cassie Parrish that they would be the skinniest girls in the school, but the pact’s toll has gotten way too high. Cassie is dead, her esophagus having ruptured as the result of repeated purges, and now Lia is seeing Cassie’s ghost, who cheers on Lia’s efforts to get down to the magic weight of 85 pounds. This tale of impossible expectations, unhealthy relationships, and finding one’s way out of the fog of self-destructive behavior ends with a sense of hope, but Lia’s relentless counting of calories and crunches will resonate in your head long after you finish reading it.
Grade Level = 8th – 12th
Sex (S) = O
Violence (V) = V
Questionable behavior (?) = ???