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on 25 September 2017
A really good read, story based around anorexia. I will read this book again for sure.
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on 3 November 2016
Really well written, great insight into the mind of this young girl. Haunting and dark and gripping. Leaves you with shivers
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on 10 May 2015
I really enjoyed this. It was atmospheric and the plot kept me guessing to the end.
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on 15 September 2017
This is a raw story that shows the danger of anorexia that people don't​ usually talk about.
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on 16 September 2014
one of the best books i have read on EDs
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on 9 May 2016
Since I read 'Wasted' by Marya Hornbacher (not reviewed here as I didn't buy it from Amazon) I've gone through a spate of reading books about anorexia and this is probably the best fictional effort yet. It is beautiful, poetical and haunting and though it is aimed at a young adult/teenager market it is a well written book which can be enjoyed by adult readers as well. Probably not at all suitable for recovering anorexics though as it does glamorize the disease, to say nothing of giving them ideas of how to fool parents/doctors etc.

She really is a talented author and I only wish 'Speak' was available on kindle as well.
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on 3 May 2017
I'm always weary of reviewing a book that I refused to finish - It's as though I'm judging it before seeing it through to the end which is hardly fair! Saying that, I couldn't go much further than page 120 of 'Wintergirls'. I like to think I gave it a good 'try' however..

Anorexia. A hugely destructive illness. An illness that I feel should be approached thoroughly yet responsibly. This book baffled me. It was written from a teen's point of view - aimed primarily AT teenagers and yet it was more triggering than anything else. Self harm, suicide and eating disorders -Personal view as someone that has and continues to have Disordered Eating? This felt like it was written for 'teen dramatics' and not a lot else. I didn't get to the end - but I'm assuming (hoping!) this 'Lia' character healed and turned her life around - for the sake of the teen's reading if anything.

Despite my personal opinions on the subject matter, this was absolutely terribly written. Terribly written! The sentences were all over the place and don't get me started on the whole 'Crossing out words' all over the place. This was the main reason for my 'giving up early', I just couldn't stand the clumsy writing style. Distracting and irritating.
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on 5 October 2016
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on 19 October 2016
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, stupid. We read about her standing in front of the mirror and cutting herself where she thinks the fat on her body is.

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.

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on 14 October 2017
The premise of Wintergirls intrigued me. I don't think I've read a book about someone suffering from anorexia before, and I make a conscious effort to read books about physical and mental health issues regularly to help me better understand humans.

However, I'm really torn about this one. My goodness, there should be trigger warnings all over this book (I saw absolutely zero warnings on the cover/back cover). It certainly doesn't gloss over any of the thoughts or actions that come with having an eating disorder which I think is a really good thing, but it is deep, and it is dark, and there are other forms of self harm described in detail within this book too. PLEASE be aware of this before you read it.

I also found the writing style difficult to get on with. It's a little too full of metaphors and similes and there were times when I found myself having to reread sentences and paragraphs in order to understand what was going on. I like that the author plays with the English language and sometimes it works, but other times the messages within the book that were so important were lost amongst the words.

So while I am glad that this book exists to help those who aren't suffering from an eating disorder understand what might be going on inside a person who is suffering's head, I found it really difficult to read because of both the writing style and the harrowing events within it, and would find it difficult to recommend because there is only the tiniest sense of hope. I don't feel like I've taken away anything that could potentially help me help someone suffering from an eating disorder, and I don't think those who are suffering will find it in any way comforting (I may be wrong about this, of course).

One thing I did really like was the exploration of family relationships, and some of them within this novel are beautiful and heartbreaking to read, particularly between Lia and her step sister Emma, and I think that was what made this a three star read rather than two stars.
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