by Laurie Halse Anderson


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The New York Times bestselling story of a friendship frozen between life and death 

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670011100
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/19/2009
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 529,289
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor Book Speak. She is also author of the critically acclaimed YA books Prom, Twitsted, Catalyst, Wintergirls, and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She has also authored a number of middle grade titles including The Vet Volunteers series, and the historical fiction Seeds of America Trilogy, which includes Forge, ALA Best Book for Young Adults Fever 1793, and the National Book Award finalist and Scott O’Dell Award-winner Chains. She and her husband live in northern New York State. Follow Laurie on Twitter @halseanderson and visit her at

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Wintergirls"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Halse Anderson.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Wintergirls 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 705 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Chilling. Even many days after reading WINTERGIRLS, I still shiver when I think about this book.

Lia has struggled with an eating disorder before. Her parents think that she is getting better, but she is just fooling everyone. When Cassie, who used to be her best friend, dies, Lia spirals out of control again.

She eats less and less and begins seeing Cassie's ghost everywhere.

WINTERGIRLS explores the world of eating disorders with vivid, horrifying detail.

Even though this book was really creepy, it was also spectacular. I had never understood how or why some people began to have eating disorders, and this book gave a spectacular insight into their state of mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only was this book an excellent portrayal of a teenager with anorexia but it also was a an extensive view into the mind of a cutter and someone who deals with hallucinations. This book may be hard to read for some people. If you are thinking about reading it, make sure that you are...i guess mentally prepared for it. It can be extremely heart wrenching. But if you do decide to read won't be disappointed. I loved reading every minute of it. Lia's character is sarcastic and can be quite funny at times. I would recommend this book to anyone.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Laurie Halse Anderson is not one to shy away from difficult topics. Her debut novel Speak deals with the issue of teen rape was lets just say it was incredible. In her latest, Wintergirls, Anderson deftly addresses the devastating effects of eating disorders. Wintergirls is the story of Lia who daily fights a battle between herself and food. She's already been hospitalized twice for her eating disorder where she played the 'recovery game' until doctors and parents were satisfied and gave her enough breathing room to go back to her old habits. It's the one thing Lia constantly concentrates on in the midst of divorced parents who are too busy to notice her and school that doesn't really matter. How many calories (or lack there of) each day. How much she exercises. But then Lia begins to face the realities of her choices when she finds out that her (ex)best friend, Cassie, who also had an eating disorder, has died. As she stumbles deeper into grief, Lia tries to determine not the reason why Cassie killed herself, but why not? What amazes me is how accurately Anderson is able to portray a teenager who feels constantly at odds with her family, herself and especially food. She is so isolated, so alone with the pain and destructive feelings in her head it seems to the reader she'll never be able to pull herself out. Lia's isolation is underscored by her nightly visits to supersecret and honestly so competely depressing online chat groups for anorexic/bulimic girls who discuss their struggle to lose that last 10, 15, even 25 pounds. Nameless girls who like Lia try to control the chaos of their lives by controlling their body. Wintergirls was not an easy read nor was it easy to put down. I alternated between pity, depression and down right horror at the things Lia put herself and consequently, her family through. Though this is a teen novel, I would hesitate to give it to just any teen girl - it's something that needs to be digested with a little bit of maturity and sensitivity. But was it a heartbreaking beautiful novel that will stick with me a long time? Absolutely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't set this book down. I read it in a few short hours and it spoke to me. I suffered from anorexia and it portrayed an everyday struggle. It was a beautiful book and i will surely be sharing it with my friends. Warning: If you have ever suffered from an ED the begining may cause triggering thoughts.
YA-Addict More than 1 year ago
Raw, painful, realistic, sad, beautiful, heart wrenching . . . all these words can be used to describe Wintergirls. I knew going into this one that it deals with eating disorders. But Wintergirls deals with so much more. It touches on loss, depression, family problems, and cutting. It was a very heavy read. Unbelievably sad. But it was one of the most beautifully written stories I have read so far. My hand stayed over my heart just about the whole time I was reading Wintergirls. Cassie and Lia care about nothing but being the thinnest. Their obsession costs Cassie her life. Cassie's death leaves Lia in a terrible, self-destructive state. The emotions get to you so much that you felt them like your own. You are put inside the head of an extreme anorexic. Someone who can barley eat, but has food on the brain constantly. Every time you eat is a punishment. Every little speck of food must be counted. It was exhausting. I couldn't imagine ever having to live like that. But at the same time, you can completely understand where Lia is coming from. We have all gone through times that we mentally kick ourselves for eating too much. Multiply that by 100, and you are getting closer to the misery Lia is in. Now living with the guilt of a lost friend only makes it worse. Lia's struggle wasn't like anything else I have ever read before. The author brings to life her voice in a way that will wrap around your mind and hold you captive until the very last page. The writing is unbelievably lyrical and poetic. It did a wonderful job at magnifying the emotions. Many of the jarring and raw descriptions stayed in my head long after I put the book down. I also liked how Anderson crosses out many words in the book to show Lia's struggle. Wintergirls is a book that is very hard to digest, but so worth it if you do. It's a book that is read through the cracks of your fingers as you are covering your eyes. It will make you take a good look at your own relationship with food. Because no one would ever want to live life the way Lia does. I am very glad I read Wintergirls. A little piece of Lia and her story will forever be with me now.
Euphoria13 More than 1 year ago
The first book that i read by Laurie Halse Anderson was Speak, during my sophomore year of High School. I found the book to be well written and very good. When i found out about Wintergirls, i knew i had to read it! After spending the past 3 days reading it... i am just... really shocked and sort of at lost for words on how to describe just how powerful this book is! Two young girls, best friends forever, under cold moonlight, cut and bind blood- making an oath to be the skinniest girl at their school. What seems to be an ordinary bet between friends reveals dangerous consequences as Lia's best friend Cassie is found dead in a motel room. Although the two drifted apart, Lia feels haunted by her best friend's spirit. 95 pounds is not enough for Lia- she still feels hideous and fat, she can feel the excess fat hanging on the sides of her body, she can taste and smell the calories within the food she is forced to eat. Although she was treated in the past, it was not enough to make her see the damage that she has done to herself. With Cassie gone, Lia has won the bet- but just how far can she pass that bet? What comes after a size zero? What happens when no one can understand Lia's torment? Laurie Halse Anderson writing is very lyrical and raw in this book- especially of Lia's Character. Anorexia is a very dark and delicate subject to write or talk about- although we all know the physical damage that it does to a person, we don't really get to see or have a clear image of the mental and psychological effects it has. In this book, when we read from Lia's POV we can perfectly see her inner struggles. With every crossed out line of words in the pages, we can see how she fights herself from not eating, how she pushes herself so hard to obtain her weight goal. It is both haunting and sad reading about Lia. No girl should have to endure such a torment for body image, no one should hurt themselves the way Lia does. This was a very well written book, for all of those who have read Speak, please take a look at Wintergirls!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a. This novel opened my eyes to the struggles of those with anorexia nervosa. The actions of the girl whose life was hijacked by this disease bothered me; I never truly understood the feelings of an individual with this disorder. I am a healthy, slender girl who has the occasional insecurity concerning my appearance, similar to most teenage girls. However Mia, the girl commanded by anorexia, hates herself with such a passion that she eats under 500 calories a day while forcing herself to follow a strict exercise routine. She tries to seek self-acceptance and self-worth by attempting to meet her continuously lower weight goal; she has warped her mind to believe that her ultimate goal is to weigh zero pounds, nothing. Part of the beauty of this novel, and of reading in general, is the ability I had to see glimpses of myself in Mia when she stares at herself in the mirror and recognizes what she would change. I became entrapped in her world and experienced her struggles; at the end I gained not only understanding of the girls who face the fears anorexia brings, but also a greater understanding of myself. I am Mia. Reading this novel made me more capable of empathizing with those controlled by anorexia, because I too have the occasional doubt.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Wintergirls has at least one thing going for it. It was beautifully written. Other than that, I wasn't too impressed. I don't feel like I was able to really connect with the characters. The storyline wasn't very engaging. [SPOILER-Y] The guy from the motel made no sense to me. I'm not sure why he was even a part of the story. If Anderson wanted a way to have Cassie tell Lia she won, she could have picked a different way to do it, one that made more sense than throwing an uninteresting character into the mix. [END] NOTE: While I have never dealt with any type of eating disorder, I imagine that Wintergirls could have triggering effects for someone who deals with eating disorder issues. Please take caution when reading. Thank you. You can read this and other reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
Blume More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! So well written (round of applause,anyone?) and very captivating. Fast moving and easily read. But this is a trigger book (as in might lead you to look differently at yourself) and very depressing. I enjoyed this book and read it fast (slow reader and short attention span.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book could be described in three simple words. Astounding,raw, and true. I compulsively read this book, not putting it down for a second, and finished it in a few hours. Throughout the story, there was many moments where the tears just poured out of my eyes. On many occasions when it happened, it was usually when Lia( main character) would purposelly hurt herself, or when she would tell hersef that she was fat or worthless. Lia and Cassie(her bestfriend) make a little competition with eachother to see who could be the thinnest. Slowly, both of them start wasting away, and Cassie dies. Lia is left thinking she is at fault. Many times Cassie would want to back down and Lia would convince her to stay, which made Lia's assumption realistic. Along with the fact that; in the hours leading up to her death, Cassie called Lia many times, asking for help. And Lia didnt get them until it was to late. So Lia goes through life in the same pattern, cutting and starving. Self harm and starving. She travels along the road to self destruction.But soon, after a near death experience, Lia finally obliges, and lets herself take a detour, to the road of recovery. This is a great read, one of my favorites. It helps girls realize that life isnt about being thin, but about being happy and confident. Or its just an interesting story, that grabs onto your heart and doesnt let go, even after you turn the last page ~ Sydney Leigh
bookworm21CH More than 1 year ago
I just love Laurie Anderson's novels, when I got this book from my high school I wasn't sure it won't be good like her other novel Speak but I felled in love with the book, every page and chapter just get's you suspicion high. Wanting to know what is going to happen next. I highly recommend this book if you love her other novels like speak I am re-reading this book this is going to be my 3rd time I am reading it, it's that good.
BookloverAW More than 1 year ago
This book cannot be fully descibed in words... all i can say is that this book is truly breathtakingly sad and really puts you into the mind of an anorexic teen. I recommened this book to anyone but i am warning you this book is really sad and you should really mentally prepare yourself for what you are about to read because its not only sad but kind of scary as well.
Irish_Nights More than 1 year ago
I read this book knowing that it would be a hard topic to read about. The author's writing style is unique, crisp, & blunt as if the book itself was written out of the mind of a teenager. A realistic depiction of what a battle with anorexia is like, Wintergirls leaves you with both relief and a cold emptiness inside. I wouldn't suggest this book to someone who can't take the tough topic of anorexia, because the emotion and struggle written across every page is real enough to touch. A great work done by the author, but a word of caution should be given to anyone who wants just a 'good book to relax and read'. Wintergirls opens your eyes to what life from inside a block of ice is like, and how, even though everyone around you tells you that you need to stop, when your mind is set on getting you thinner and thinner, you can't stop even if you want to.
DQueenBee More than 1 year ago
This Story is amazing! I was really busy when i started reading it so it took me forever to get through, but i finally had a free day. I read the rest of the book in that day!! It is an amazing book. It's real life, heart-wrenching. You will fall in love with the characters in this book. You will feel what they felt in the situations they as they go through them. You will probably be able to relate to this book or know someone who does. Lia & Cassie were best friends until a couple years before Cassie died. Cassie hasn't found the light yet, and it still with Lia. Cassie called Lia in the motel before she took her life, but Lia didn't answer. She remembers this everyday and Cassie doesn't let her forget it. This is a truly amzaing book. A must read!!! Filled with real life situations teens go through everyday. Eating disorders, Cutting, Sucide (SP?) and everything in between!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be a movie because i feel that it really captures the essence of what society thinks of girls these days that they have to be skinny and thin in order to be pretty and thats not true do what u want live life to the fullest because if u spend ur whole life trying to make ur self skinny overdosing on pills being on diets constantly and eating nothing but a carrot for the whole freakin day dont do that ull regret it my sister died last year because if this she was only 21 it makes me sad cuz im 17 and i really looked up to her therefore i think it should become a movie i feel like it will really help teen girls to understand the essence of theyre life and what society thinks of them hopefully it will make them change theyre mind cuz were all BEAUTIFUL in our own way girls!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing i can say to this is wow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a beautiful book. Having gone through a similar difficulty, I find Lia to be a very relatable and realistic character. Yes, this book is graphic and can be disturbing to some, as it takes you right inside the head of a young girl who is self destructive and mentally unstable. But it is also very real, and may help to raise awareness of problems like eating disorders and cutting. A stunning book, beautifully written, with a supernatural twist- it is perfect, and I will read it over and over again. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heart wretching novel full of sadness and struggle to get through lifes hardest times and the struggle of eating dissorders. Beautifully writen and a must reas for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was awesome! i loved it. its kinda scary to think that this could happen to amyone.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is now my offical favorite book! Its amazing! You will love it! I read this book 4 times already!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was a little slow, and it took a while for things to reach the climax. However, the ending really tied eveything together although it was a bit too short for my taste. Well, this novel is a kind of book to read over an extensive time since it's not particularly engaging until the end. But definitely worth the buy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Madi6785 More than 1 year ago
i love all of it. the book was slow at some times and i really wanted to see what elijah and lia where like if he didnt leave her in the motel room it was thrilling and wonderful oh and i love cassie how shes a ghost and all i highly highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i really loved this book. i got it from my school library and plan on buying a copy for myself. it was a very deep and moving had shocking twists and turns
Twihardgirl90 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down at all and it left me wanting a second book, a third book and a fourth! I have the perfect song that goes with this book, I listened to it while I read it most of the time. July Flame by Laura Veirs. Great book! It's very unforgettable.