WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Cassie is dead, and it is Lia’s fault.  Lia didn’t answer the phone that night when Cassie called.  Thirty-three times.  But it’s more than that.  Whenever Cassie had thought about purging less and gaining weight, Lia had told her to stay strong.  Together they would be the skinniest girls in school.  Because Lia didn’t want to be alone.  But now Cassie is gone, and Lia is seeing her ghost everywhere, sometimes accusing Lia, sometimes encouraging her as she continues to lose weight, while trying to convince her dad and stepmother that she hasn’t fallen back into the habits that sent her to the hospital before.  As she struggles to deal with her grief and guilt over Cassie’s death and her own eating disorder, Lia’s life begins to fall apart.

Probably the bleakest of Laurie Halse Anderson’s intense but wonderful contemporary teen novels, Wintergirls is not for the everyone.  You may not enjoy this book if you are squeamish or if you fear that a realistic depiction of the interior thoughts of someone with anorexia may trigger unhealthy memories or habits from your past.  But if you truly do want to understand what it is like to have anorexia or want to know that you are not alone in your experience with eating disorders, this book is realistic and powerful.

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