Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

An eating disorder can ruin someone’s mentality, it can ruin their body, their life. It destroys everything. But that’s how the outsider’s see it. The person actually going through an eating disorder thinks the exact opposite and that’s what Wintergirls explores.

Wintergirls is the first book I have ever read that is solely focused on an eating disorder and the harsh reality of living with it, of not actually accepting the fact that you do have an eating disorder, of not seeing how beautiful you really are.

Cassie and Lia did everything together, including staying thin. But then Cassie died. Now the voice in Lia’s head is telling her to stay strong. Lose more. Weigh less.

Is she strong enough to fight it?

This is the first book that I have ever read by Laurie Halse Anderson and after having a taste of her writing style, I am in love. 

Wintergirls was gritty, it was dark and upsetting. But without it being those three things, the portrayal of anorexia throughout the book wouldn’t have been true. Anderson doesn’t sugar coat it, she doesn’t glorify it, she tells it how it is. We are constantly in the mind of Lia and we are constantly hearing her telling herself that she’s fat, ugly and stupid. 

It is deeply upsetting but it is an incredible story. It is a story of fighting life, of fighting those around you, of fighting your mental state and fighting until the end. 

“I believe that you’ve created a metaphorical universe in which you can express your darkest fears. In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.”
– Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

The story opens with Lia being told that her best friend, Cassie died. Throughout Wintergirls, Lia is constantly putting on a front about how she isn’t upset that Cassie is dead but secretly, she is seeing Cassie’s ghost everywhere she goes. 

We learn about their friendship and we are shown how parents can react in different ways to their child’s mental illness – it shows how to not support your children (Lia’s parents and step-mother were not supportive at all and it made me so so angry!)

I cannot stress enough how wonderful this book is. The writing, the characters, the ending… The ending made me cry, it made me close the book and reflect of what Lia went through, of what her parents went through. 

If you know someone who is suffering with an eating disorder but you don’t know how to deal with it, read this book. It is so eye-opening. 

Wintergirls made me uncomfortable, very uncomfortable but Anderson wanted it to make you feel like that, she wants us to know the horrible truth of what some boys, girls, men and women go through. It is a brilliant book to read.

Warning: contains triggers for eating disorders, depression, anxiety and self harm

5 thoughts on “Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. I just read "Speak" and "The Impossible Knife of Memory," the first LHA books I've read, and they were just as powerful. Her books are not always easy to read, but they deliver such great rewards. I look forward to reading Wintergirls when I get the chance. Great review!

  2. 'The Impossible Knife of Memory' is very high on my TBR list! I've heard mixed reviews about it, but I still really want to give it a go!
    I know! Wintergirls wasn't easy to read at all but the writing was so beautiful

    Thank you!


  3. Yes, I definitely recommend it! Just be careful of any triggers or anything because the book can be very disturbing and upsetting 🙂

    I hope you enjoy it


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