Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Acute anorexia, self-mutilation, dysfunctional families and the death of a childhood friend-returning to psychological minefields akin to those explored in Speak, Anderson delivers a harrowing story overlaid with a trace of mysticism. The book begins as Lia learns that her estranged best friend, Cassie, has been found dead in a motel room; Lia tells no one that, after six months of silence, Cassie called her 33 times just two days earlier, and that Lia didn't pick up even once. With Lia as narrator, Anderson shows readers how anorexia comes to dominate the lives of those who suffer from it (here, both Lia and Cassie), even to the point of fueling intense competition between sufferers. The author sets up Lia's history convincingly and with enviable economy-her driven mother is "Mom Dr. Marrigan," while her stepmother's values are summed up with a prEcis of her stepsister's agenda: "Third grade is not too young for enrichment, you know." This sturdy foundation supports riskier elements: subtle references to the myth of Persephone and a crucial plot line involving Cassie's ghost and its appearances to Lia. As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is more difficult to put down. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Wintergirls opens on the day that Lia, an anorexic, learns that her former best friend Cassie has died of her own eating disorder. Cassie had left 33 increasingly frantic messages on Lia's phone as she was dying. Now Cassie's voice haunts Lia as her disorder takes control, threatening to make her a cold "wintergirl" forever. Why It Is for Us: How do you follow-up a year in which you become a National Book Award finalist (for Chains) and win the Margaret Edwards Award for your lasting contribution to teen literature? If you are Anderson, you publish your most chilling and relevant book since Speak. The force of Lia's will as she starves herself to death is fascinating, frightening, and in every way a wakeup call to adult readers who think they have read the eating-disorder story before. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Problem-novel fodder becomes a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception in this brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia. Lia has been down this road before: her competitive relationship with her best friend, Cassie, once landed them both in the hospital, but now not even Cassie's death can eradicate Lia's disgust of the fat cows who scrutinize her body all day long. Her father (no, Professor Overbrook ) and her mother (no, Dr. Marrigan ) are frighteningly easy to dupe tinkering and sabotage inflate her scale readings as her weight secretly plunges: 101.30, 97.00, 89.00. Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world where every piece of food is just a caloric number, inner voices scream NO! with each swallow, and self-worth is too easily gauged: I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through. Struck-through sentences, incessant repetition, and even blank pages make Lia's inner turmoil tactile, and gruesome details of her decomposition will test sensitive readers. But this is necessary reading for anyone caught in a feedback loop of weight loss as well as any parent unfamiliar with the scripts teens recite so easily to escape from such deadly situations.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2008 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-The intensity of emotion and vivid language here are more reminiscent of Anderson's Speak (Farrar, 1999) than any of her other works. Lia and Cassie had been best friends since elementary school, and each developed her own style of eating disorder that leads to disaster. Now 18, they are no longer friends. Despite their estrangement, Cassie calls Lia 33 times on the night of her death, and Lia never answers. As events play out, Lia's guilt, her need to be thin, and her fight for acceptance unravel in an almost poetic stream of consciousness in this startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative. The text is rich with words still legible but crossed out, the judicious use of italics, and tiny font-size refrains reflecting her distorted internal logic. All of the usual answers of specialized treatment centers, therapy, and monitoring of weight and food fail to prevail while Lia's cleverness holds sway. What happens to her in the end is much less the point than traveling with her on her agonizing journey of inexplicable pain and her attempt to make some sense of her life.-Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.