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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A searingly powerful and unflinchingly candid look at anorexia
Lia is a recovering anorexic who lives with her father, step mother and step sister. But Lia has no interest in recovering. She worked too hard to be this thin and too hard in fooling her family into believing that she's getting better. Her dream is to weigh 95 pounds and she's determined to achieve it.

One night her former best friend Cassie phones her 33...
Published on 24 Jan 2011 by I Read, Therefore I Blog

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok.....
This book isn't quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be a lot grittier with a strong character that you could really get to know. I didn't feel like the author gave much insight into individual characters in the book, and therefore it was quite easily forgettable. I desperately wanted to get to know more about the characters, maybe it could have been a bit...
Published on 25 Aug 2009 by Ms. L. M. Harris


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A searingly powerful and unflinchingly candid look at anorexia, 24 Jan 2011
This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lia is a recovering anorexic who lives with her father, step mother and step sister. But Lia has no interest in recovering. She worked too hard to be this thin and too hard in fooling her family into believing that she's getting better. Her dream is to weigh 95 pounds and she's determined to achieve it.

One night her former best friend Cassie phones her 33 times. Cassie and Lia haven't spoken in over a year - not since Cassie blamed her for her own bulimia. Angry and resentful, Lia refuses to call Cassie back and the next day, discovers that Cassie died alone in a motel room. As Lia tries to come to terms with what happened to Cassie, she finds herself becoming more and more a wintergirl - someone who is only half in this world and half in the world of the dead. Then Cassie starts to appear to her in visions, and she's determined to bring Lia to her side ...

Anderson's novel is a searingly powerful and unflinching look at anorexia. It's not an easy read - not least because Lia also self-harms and the scenes that show her cutting herself are particularly difficult to read. Anderson brings out Lia's need for control, the dual nature of her disease - how she wants to eat and yet is scared and determined not to. There's no judgment here - Anderson is too wise to point to anorexia as having one root cause. However she does show the contributing factors - Lia's low self-esteem, the support offered by pro-anorexia internet communities, the breakdown of her parents' marriage and the criticism she felt she got from her very successful mother. At the heart of it is confusion - Lia struggles to work out who she is and can't acknowledge the truths screaming within her.

The book's formatting is used to good effect - the text and its presentation highlighting the turmoil Lia is going through and Lia's own voice is faultless. There is also a lengthy author's note at the back which discusses how Anderson came to the subject together with helplines for people touched by the issues.

This is without doubt one of the best YA novels I've read in a long time. It's true, moving and candid and it makes you think about a topic much covered in the media in an entirely new way. A must read for adults and teens alike.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 19 Mar 2009
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wintergirls (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wintergirls, 8 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
I loved this book so much! I don't know how to explain it, but Wintergirls is somehow different from most E.D. books out there. It's true, blunt, realistic with a thick plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I wasn't sick. I was strong..." A MUST READ, 4 May 2011
By 
Nicola F (Nic) (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
From a personal perspective, this is a book I've wanted to read for a very long time. As someone whose close friend has been battling anorexia for more than ten years, I was keen to see if this book would be accurate in its portrayal of the eating disorder and its effects on not only the sufferer, but also on the people around them. Whilst this is a `young adult' book, I would not hesitate in saying that this is a book that takes an unapologetic, no holds barred approach in showing the true pain that this illness can inflict, and as a consequence is a must-read for both teens and adults alike.

Eighteen-year-old Lia is apparently recovering from anorexia. `Apparently' as from the outset it appears she is willing to get better- only she's fooling herself and everyone around her- including her family and her doctors. Lia's only goal in life is to be thin- the less she weighs, the more in control she feels.

After Lia's former best friend is found dead, alone in a motel room, Lia is haunted by the turn of events and it only affects her behaviour more. Cassie had phoned Lia 33 times on the night before she died; only Lia never answered the phone. In order to stay strong however, Lia knows that she needs to keep control of her life- but the only way she can do that is to be as thin as possible...

I cannot stress how accurate this book was in portraying the traits of anorexics, from the tricks they use to suggest they have eaten meals (crumbs on plates, sauce around mouths etc), to the exercise during the night, to the habit of trying to fool the scales into believing they weigh more than they do and the constant excuses they make to try and avoid eating- though like Lia they try to be around food to merely punish themselves. I grew upset whilst reading this book as it hit home to me once more just how alone these sufferers must feel and how desperate they must be to try and lose more weight- seeing themselves as fat, even though they aren't. It is brutal but incredibly true to life.

The effects on Lia's family, particularly her young stepsister, were also heartbreaking but portrayed very well. At times I grew angry at Lia's selfishness, sneakiness and sheer refusal to get better- but again this was an accurate representation of the illness- as was the inclusion of Lia self-harming, and often the two go hand in hand. Also, the author mentioned Lia's habit of logging onto Pro-Anorexia websites, which are sadly becoming more and more common these days. The author has done her research so thoroughly that far from being a fictional character, Lia felt very real. This is not just a book about an eating disorder, it is a book filled with hurt, loss, anger, low self-esteem, divided families and the confusion of being a teenage girl.

I would not hesitate in recommending this book to anyone- teen or adult alike, who wants to understand the effects this eating disorder can have. I would however caution that some of the themes in the book (the self harm in particular) may be a bit upsetting- so it might be worth parents having a quick look at the story first before passing it onto their children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading it again., 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
Already had read the book from the library but it was so good I had to buy it to read it again. Unlike most books about eating disorders which do an account on there life's with an eating disorder this is actually a story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 17 Feb 2013
This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
This book is the best I have found about anorexia. Anderson is able to get into the mind of an anorexic, and I have no idea how she does it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am thawing, 24 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
I am fast becoming a huge fan of Laurie Halse Anderson. I started off reading Speak and had several books of hers
on my wish list before deciding to read wintergirls next. I loved it. I have never had an eating disorder, but as
a teenager remember going through that faze where I cut meals sometimes if I was feeling a bit fat or if someone
had said something negative. I can only be greatful that my faze didn't turn into something much worse because
reading this shows just how awful it is for someone suffereing with an eating disorder and how awful it also is for
their family and the people who love them. It's gritty and doesn't for one second glamorize the reality of it.

This author has an ability to really get inside of her characters and write about things that most people would never
want to write about. She raises the issue and I can imagine that her books have really helped people. I am next going
to read Catalyst by the same author when I have read my already far too large pile of books to be read! Definitely one
I'd recommend, not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, EASY READ, GRIPPING, 19 Aug 2010
This review is from: Wintergirls (Hardcover)
Fabulous story, really easy to read. I couldn't put it down and read it in two sittings over one day and am now grieving the fact that the story has ended!

Very inspirational for those experiencing similar issues and a gripping story too. I'm totally in love with this book and will read it again soon!!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must. Not. Eat., 14 Jun 2011
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very powerful, emotional book about two teenage girls with weight issues.
The main character, Lia, has serious anorexia. At 18, she has already been hospitalised twice but still resisits all efforts to encourage her to eat. She equates 'empty' with 'strong'. Lia's childhood friend, Cassie, suffers with bulimia, she binges and then brings up, vast quantities of food. As the book opens, Cassie has been found dead in a motel room, alone, having called Lia's mobile 33 times. In recent months they had drifted apart and Lia did not want to speak to Cassie, now she must deal with the guilt that she was not there for her friend when she was needed.

As Lia struggles to come to terms with Cassie's death, she becomes thinner by the day. She uses a host of tricks to convince her ever vigilant mother, father and step-mother that she is eating - leaving crumbs on her plate, pleading a recent meal, cutting food into tiny pieces and picking at it until they have lost interest. She spends sleepless nights on the stepper and does hundreds of crunches in an attempt to burn off more calories that she consumes, she knows the calorific value of every food. Thin is good - she wants to be the thinnest girl in the school.
By the time she is reaching her goal she has started to fall asleep in class, faint and halucinate.
On top of this she is self harming, an activity that becomes progessively more destructive throughout the book.

The author probes Lia's background in an attempt to provide explanations for her behaviour, her parents' divorce, her father's remarriage, her mother's devotion to her job. But she also has a support network and resons to live - particularly her young step-sister, Emma.

There are some clever devices used by the author; particularly Lia's 'bad' thoughts - crossed out and surplanted by 'good' thoughts. (Which, sadly, I can't reproduce here).
However, it was an issue with the way the book was written that made this a four star read for me - sometimes it was a bit too wacky, a bit too teenage perhaps. Given that this is the target audience, then fine, but as an adult reader it alienated me slightly. Putting that aside though, I'm sure this will be a useful addition to the eating disorder novels that more and more teenagers will relate to and I hope it will help some to see it for what it really is - a slow death.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Wintergirls (Paperback)
This is a brilliantly written, delicately researched and thoughtful rendering of two girls gripped by a deadly illness. Rather than sensationalise anorexia Halse Anderson treats it with care and respect acknowledging that it is the most dangerous of all mental illnesses. A brilliant read that every young person should know about!
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Wintergirls
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Paperback - 3 Jan 2011)
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