Laurie Halse Anderson, 2008

Premise: Lia has a problem. She thinks it's that her father and mother hate each other or that her stepmother is always on her case. Or that her best friend is dead. The way Lia looks at food and sees numbers, the way she gets around adults plans for her, that makes her strong, right?

This isn't the type of book I generally read. If you'd told me that I would be swept away utterly by a book which portrays the mental state of someone suffering from anorexia, I might not have believed you. But this book is amazing.

The style is evocative and appropriately chilling. Lia is completely sympathetic and her feelings are comprehensible, even while the reader despairs of her decisions. She lives in a world more and more unconnected from reality.

And then she starts to see things.

Maybe. Maybe not.

In Cassie's words: “You’re not dead, but you’re not alive, either. You’re a wintergirl…”

Lia eventually has to decide whether to save herself, there’s no way for anyone else to do it for her.

This is a beautiful story: sad and lovely. It is also upsetting, visceral and haunting. If you can take it, I highly recommend it.

4 stars - A Very Good Book


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