Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – Review


Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication date: March 19, 2009

Pages: 278

Price: $22.50 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. 
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. – Goodreads

First Sentence 

“So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.”


I think my favorite type of books are books that actually mean something. Not just an a random love story or end-of-the-world dystopia, a book that reflects on life from a different angle than the one everyone else seems to perceive. A novel with words that can change the way you see and think. Wintergirls, is not like any novel I have read in a long time, Laurie Halse Anderson continues to astonish me with her inquisitive and remorseful writing.

“This girl shivers and crawls under the covers with all her clothes on and falls into an overdue library book, a faerie story with rats and marrow and burning curses. The sentences build a fence around her, a Times Roman 10-point barricade, to keep the thorny voices in her head from getting too close.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

I read this book in one day and it was so… calming? The way Anderson writes makes me feel so calm and I read this on a drizzly rainy day and everything around me was so quiet and the book was so calming…. that day was so great omg. Anyway! In case you haven’t all ready caught on, Lia is struggling with an eating disorder and her friend, Cassie, who’d also been struggling with an eating disorder killed herself so now Lia must struggle and grieve on her own.

This novel was brutally insightful and thought provoking for me. Although I am not presented with the same exact issues as Lia, I know what it’s like to be in doubt of yourself and how hard it can be to be content with oneself. I feel like many people also struggle with self image issues so Lia’s story can find common ground with many of its readers.

The writing is beautiful. Once again, Laurie Halse Anderson has a special way with words like no other YA author I have read. I love the metaphors and descriptions and the comparisons that are somehow so accurate. I’m no author, so I really have no way to describe it but her writing is just so heartfelt and serene. She knows how to write some good books!

“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.
I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world…I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.
I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.
I am thawing.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

All in all, Wintergirls is a work of excellence. The plot was smooth and was not boring or too eventful and I found myself getting really invested in the characters. I also got a little teary eyed at the end of this one so you know it had to be good if its worth some tears!

“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

Final Review/Recommendation 


I give Wintergirls five out of five stars. Not only does this novel show you how secretive and quietly some people struggle, but it also shows to those who are or have been going through a rough time, that there’s a light at the other end of the tunnel, and they will overcome the rough times. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who wants a brutal story to read, to someone who would not be triggered by Lia’s issues, or to someone who has read Speak or Shout since Shout will make much more sense after reading this one and Speak is confrontational about mental illness such as Wintergirls, which makes for them both to be riveting and outspoken yet distinguishingly important reads.

“We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Let me know what you thought of Laurie Halse Anderson’s works! I’d love to hear what you think!

-Emma 🙂