At times a harrowing read, Wintergirls takes us immediately into the mind of Lia, a high school senior, as she learns the news that her former best friend, who suffered from a severe eating disorder, has died alone in a hotel room. Lia herself suffers from the same illness, and this tragic news triggers her to take increasingly dangerous and desperate moves, and soon she thinks she is being haunted/goaded on by her old friend. Anderson deftly takes us into the mind of this girl in the midst of her crisis and mental disorder. The writing is excellent and the story compelling. Anderson’s technique of showing Lia’s internal mental struggles and the things she won’t allow herself to think in strikethrough is particularly effective. The scenes in which Lia’s love of fantasy fiction figures into her delusions of being visited/haunted by her dead friend are another nice touch that give just a taste of urban fantasy to this realistic fiction novel. The story ultimately becomes one of hope, but it is a hard-earned struggle and there is no easy way out for Lia. Highly recommended.
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson
Viking / Speak / Penguin
Release Date: March 19, 2009
Paperback: February 23, 2010