Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a 278-page young adult fiction novel written for a middle– high school reading level.
Throughout Wintergirls, we as readers follow an 18-year-old girl named Lia, in her senior year of high school. She discovers that her best friend, with whom she had had a falling out months prior to the introduction, has just been found dead. Lia is then haunted by the ghost of her now-dead best friend, Cassie, with whom she battled anorexia and bulimia. Lia feels weak rather than strong, even after multiple trips to the hospital, and countless sessions with her psychologist, where she should have learned to break her unhealthy habits and start anew.
While this is meant to be a motivational story for teens who battle the same diseases and think the way Lia does, in my opinion it would make them feel worse about themselves. There are parts of the story in which Lia says or thinks things with which many readers who relate to her would agree, and their disease would worsen. I, personally, loved Anderson’s other novels and how her characters have dark lives, but Wintergirls is not like her others. It just doesn’t seem as if it was written by her. Lia is a character who struggles with very real and dangerous problems, and is her most relatable character, but Anderson uses such a morose tone that it makes the reader feel as if Lia does not want to get better. I really don’t feel this is a book worth reading, despite Anderson's wonderful writing skills.
Wintergirls earns a 2/5 from me. The cover shows a girl behind frozen ice that may be a pond, and I do not think it makes any sense, because it did not have anything to do with the story. After a long time analyzing the entire story, cover to cover, I still do not understand the significance of both the title and the cover art.