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Wintergirls | Laurie Halse Anderson | Review

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson book review on Blogger's Bookshelf

'You’re not dead, but you’re not alive, either. You’re a wintergirl, Lia-Lia, caught in between the worlds. You’re a ghost with a beating heart. Soon you’ll cross the border and be with me. I’m so stoked. I miss you wicked.'  - Laurie Halse Anderson.
Lia Overbrook is being haunted. Her best friend, Cassie, has just been found dead, captured by demons she died blaming Lia for imposing on her, and now her ghost won't leave Lia alone, stalking her through the halls at school, in her therapist's office, at 'family meals'.

Wintergirls is the most recent of Laure Halse Anderson's (of 'Speak' fame) Young Adult novels, well-acknowledged for their willingness to combat 'tough issues'; Wintergirls is no exception, and follows 18 year old Lia as she struggles through an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa, to be precise). Supposedly in recovery, the death of her estranged best friend, Cassie, a bulimic who blamed Lia for her own eating disorder, puts Lia under even more pressure than her final year of high school was already subjecting to, and she finds herself wavering from a 'healthy path'.

In Wintergirls, we see the impact that coming from a broken, blended family has on Lia, coupled with her best friend's death, and her attempts at 'getting better', and Laurie Halse Anderson manages to address the real-life issues surrounding this particular branch of mental health wonderfully, navigating through treatment paths, an uncertain mental illness, and the seedy underbelly of the internet in supporting girls with these health issues, wonderfully.

Wintergirls is intense, gritty, and very realistic; far from a 'pleasant' or easy-going read, it provides an insight into a branch of mental health which I'm sure would startle anyone with a limited knowledge of these kind of problems.

Whilst I did find it to push some boundaries just a little too far in some areas (there is a lot of blood in some sections of the book, so be wary, if, like me, you're slightly squeamish), it's firmly on my list of favourite books, with well-written prosody and a slightly disjointed, if confusing, narrative, which does, at times, give a very real insight into the world of someone with this nature of mental health issues. 5/5 stars

This review was written by regular reviewer Francesca, get to know her here.
Photo © Francesca Sophia.


  1. wow i want to read this right away. Love this blog, I love books and it's a great find :D


    1. Oh I really do recommend it, it's such a good read!
      So pleased you like Blogger's Bookshelf :)

  2. this is one of my favourite books, it's so eye opening, the first time i read it i couldn't put it down and i've re-read it multiple times since. i wish more people would read it.x


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