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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 19 March 2009
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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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 19 July 2017
Book Review
Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Family/Mental Health/Medical
Rating: ****
Review: The opening to Wintergirls was great. We meet Lia whose ex-best friend Cassie has just died. The only thing the two girls had in common was the fact they both has eating disorders and while Cassie was able to hide hers Lia’s was discovered after a car accident. The story opens with Lia finding out about Cassie’s death and while the cause of death isn’t yet known I had a strong feeling it was suicide. We learn through Lia’s narrative that she has been hospitalized and institutionalized from her anorexia but she doesn’t see her disorder as a bad thing and constantly lies to keep her eating habits secret. We also learn that Cassie called Lia 33 times on the night of her death despite them not being friends anymore, but Lia never answered. I also really enjoyed that this novel isn’t written in chapters but in hours, 65 in total, so nearly 3 days.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Lia’s home life isn’t that great. She has very little contact with her mother; Chloe and lives with her father; David, her stepmother; Jennifer and stepsister; Emma. David isn’t around much because he works a lot so Lia is often stuck with Jennifer who she doesn’t really like. As she struggles to process Cassie’s death all she can think about is the fact Cassie might still be alive if she had answered on of her calls. We also see the various techniques that Lia uses to hide her anorexia like faking meals with dirty dishes but throwing the food away and sewing coins into her weighing gown to make her heavier. We can see that Lia is total denial and often clashes with the adults in her life especially her mother which I can sort of understand because Chloe treats her like a lab rat and Lia’s rebellion only sparks more tension and arguments especially when Lia mentions that she wants to attend Carrie’s wake and funeral to which her parents refuse. Among all this chaos a man named Elijah is looking for Lia because of something Cassie asked him to do, despite already unknowingly meeting Lia as she used a false name she refuses to learn more about why and how Cassie died.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Lia questioning her sanity as she begins seeing Cassie’s spirit all the time and the have conversations where Cassie tries to convince Lia to join her in death. We also see her meet Elijah again and she feels strange around him because she finds him attractive in a way but also is weary of him because of the information he knows. I also liked the fact that Anderson make Lia different to other characters who suffer with eating disorders as most of these characters will either actively work towards good health or realise that their disorders are bad but Lia is the complete opposite thinking that the thinner she is the happier and stronger she will be.
As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see Lia questioning her sanity as she begins seeing Cassie’s ghost everywhere. As she skirts around therapy and her family Lia meets with Elijah again and convinces him to come to Cassie’s funeral with him. Lia also struggles with food and seems to self-harm more and more frequently in order to deal with the stresses and trails of her day to day life. Jennifer also convinces Lia to spend one night at her mother’s house but she learns that her mother wants Lia to move back in with her and she suspects Lia is going off the rails again. When Lia does attend the funeral not a lot happens as she doesn’t really talk to anyone she just wallows in self-pity until she is confronted by her mother. When Chloe confronts Lia Elijah learns that her name is Lia not Emma and this upsets him a little given the fact he has been looking for Lia. But Lia is determined to see him again and explain everything but whether she will follow through on that remains to be seen.
As we cross into the second half of the novel I was begin to really dislike Lia as a character purely because she seems really rude and doesn’t give a crap about anyone but herself. I did like learning how Cassie truly died and we learn this information through Chloe, Lia’s mother. I also really enjoyed learning more about the relationship between Lia and her mother, Chloe makes a deal with Lia that she will eat what she is given and she will tell her how Cassie dies to which Lia agrees. Although it takes her quite a while to eat the food she does it and despite feeling bad she not longer feel ill the way she has for the past several days. One thing I was hoping for in this novel was for Lia to repair her relationship with her mother as her mother really cares although like Lia she struggles to show her emotions. Lia does attempt to make her mother happy by agreeing to return from Christmas break but it is during these scenes that we see that Lia is fighting a war with herself and she desperately wants to win but she also wants to lose.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel we get to truly see Lia’s uninterrupted thought process and how she truly feels about food and eating, and how see feels about her family. We also see Cassie’s ghost again and we can really see how close Lia is coming to ending up like Cassie and we are fighting for her to pull herself together and live because she wants to not just for the sake of living. Lia finally learns what Cassie wanted to tell her through Elijah and she completely breaks mentally and is thrown into the abyss almost literally tearing herself to shreds. I was so sad for Lia because she has so much to live for she just doesn’t see it but I feel everything is going to be decided in the final 50 pages.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see Lia end up in the hospital after almost killing herself and devastatingly it is Emma who finds her. After being released she is sent to her mother’s until she can be admitted into a specialist unit and she is told that she can’t go back to her dad or see Emma until she is better which hurts Lia a lot. As she heads to her first therapy session after the attempt I was praying for Lia to be honest and to help herself for Emma’s sake even if not for herself. In the dramatic final scenes we see Lia do the one thing she has never done before; she asks for help and decides to live not just for her family but for herself and by doing this she can move past the time of her life where she needed Cassie and for the first time she can be Lia.
Overall, I felt I hated most of Wintergirls but when I got to the end I realised that I had come to love all the characters and that the “hatred” I felt was just the frustration and anger all the characters were feeling for the majority of this novel. Novel containing eating disorders are becoming a genre that I really love and I can’t wait to read more from Laurie Halse Anderson very soon. I highly recommend Wintergirls as it provides a new and unique perspective of eating disorders and how people who have them cope in their day to day lives.
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on 14 August 2016
When I picked up this book about anorexia the topic touched something deep within me because I used to suffer as Lia did many years ago. I'm always a little wary of books that tackle subjects like eating disorders because a lot of the time it isn't something the author has experienced personally and the image they create can be a bit warped. However that wasn't the case with Wintergirls.

Throughout the book Laurie manages to portray Lia's struggle with the calorie counting and avoiding the help that her family desperately wanted to give her so well that it took me back over a decade to my own experience with this terrible disorder. Thankfully I wasn't uncomfortable reading this at all, as a character Lia is real and raw. I really felt her struggle. I was desperate for her to see that she needed to change and accept help.

The ending was very fitting and I'm glad it wasn't a happily ever after because that would have been such a contrast to the realistic tone of the rest of the book.

A very raw and haunting read that will resonate with me for a long time. Beautifully written.
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