Thursday, October 25, 2018

Book Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her.

In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all—hope.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson was one of those books that had me hooked after reading the synopsis. Luckily, this book didn't disappoint.

The pacing started off a little slow. Luckily, the chapters were fairly short most of the time. The short chapters are what kept me reading. Eventually, probably about a third of the way in, the pacing picks up, and I couldn't put Wintergirls down.

The plot was interesting, and it was obvious that the author, Laurie Halse Anderson, had done plenty of research when it came to anorexia and bulimia. It was also great to see Cassie, Lia's best friend, as part of the plot in the form of a "ghost." The plot of Wintergirls is something that those who have anorexia or have had it in the past can relate to. There are no plot twists, but this isn't a type of book that requires them due to the subject matter.

The world building was very believable and very well written thanks to the obvious research done by Laurie Halse Anderson. I felt like I was allowed into Lia's world and to see what she was going through. It was so easy to see her struggle as well as the struggle of those around her. I wanted Lia to get better for the sake of her family, but I could see what Lia was dealing with.

The writing style for Wintergirls did bother me at first, but I grew accustomed to it. Eventually, I did start liking the way in which Wintergirls was written. It is definitely very symbolic throughout.

I thought the characters were written well enough. I could sort of relate to Lia and her relationship (or lack of) with food. I would have liked a bit more insight as to what triggered her to develop an eating disorder although it is briefly mentioned in the book. I would have liked to know a little more about Cassie so I could picture her a little better. I loved the relationship between Lia and her stepsister, Emma. It was such a sweet relationship, and I loved how much love there was between the two girls. I felt like Lia's mom was a bit high strung, but I think that's how she was meant to come across. It did seem like all of Lia's family cared about her though.

Trigger warnings include eating disorders, self harm (cutting), underage drinking, death, mental illness, drug mention, and swearing.

Overall, Wintergirls starts off slow, but it does get better. The plot is a subject that many teen girls will or have dealt with. The world building is realistic, and the characters are great. I would definitely recommend Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson especially to those aged 14 - 21.

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