Sunday 24 October 2010

WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

The other day, my daughter wanted to pop into the library to pick up a book, and while we were there I took a quick look at the YA section. I was very surprised to find this book on the bookshelf, which at first I didn't recognise because I'm used to this cover:

Still, I knew the name of the book and what it was about, so I borrowed it. Or rather, borrowed it on my daughter's card. lol.

Anyway, this is a book that I've had my eye on for a while. I've heard some really good things about it, and the subject matter's intriguing. So I'm very glad that I read this book.

It might deal with some very heavy and shocking issues, but it's so raw and honest that I couldn't help but be drawn in by Lia's haunting narrative. She's lost her best friend, even if they'd been alienated for several months, and can't get over the fact that Cassie left her message after message on her phone the night she died. Actually, it's so bad that she sees Cassie's ghost everywhere. *shiver*

This is a book that every (older) teenager should read. It's powerful, descriptive, moving, and very (very) sad. I was deeply moved by Lia's struggle and how everyone around her is trying to help, yet only manage to make things worse for her. Until she almost literally disappears.

I particularly loved when she finally realises that no matter what the number on the scale says, it will never be enough. She can never lose enough weight to be happy. But I guess, in the end, the difference between Cassie and Lia is that one of them definitely wants to live. Lia might reach the lowest of lows before she realises that, but she does.

I really enjoyed this book, it's an amazing and very powerful story.

Oh, and I particularly loved this quote: "The word ghost sounds like memory. The word therapy means exorcism."

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