New Review Tuesday: Wintergirls
I confess, I had to read Laurie Halse Anderson's new novel Wintergirls in small doses. Her portrayal of her main character Lia's struggle with grief, eating disorders, and cutting was so spot-on and disturbing that I could only handle about ten pages at a time before needing a break to think about how we've created a culture with so many huge obstacles for teenage girls.
Lia is trying to deal with the death of her former best friend Cassie, her partner in a compulsive race to be as thin as possible. Lia keeps seeing Cassie everywhere she goes, and the sightings combined with Lia's guilt at not answering Cassie's calls the night of her death threaten to push Lia over the edge—into a fairy tale world that Lia and Cassie created in their minds, where they can never be thin enough.
Even though this is a difficult story to get through, it's absolutely worthwhile and my favorite young adult novel of the year so far. Anderson is at the top of her game—her prose is as lean, poetic, and tortured as her characters. I would recommend reading this before giving it to any students so you are prepared to talk about any themes or questions that come up. That said, this is one of those books that could be truly life-changing for the right reader.
Have you read Wintergirls? What did you think?