Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

When Cassie called Lia, crying, begging for her to help… to talk to her, to be there for her…. Lia should have picked up the phone. 


she didn’t.

And not Cassie is dead and Lia is left with the “should have” and the “could have” of a moment in time that may have changed everything.

Then again…

maybe not.

After all, Cassie and Lia were once very close…. each of them part of the “Winter Girls”, each competing to be the thinnest… the smallest girl in school… in their town… everywhere.  And really, would picking up the phone that night have helped Cassie?  Or for that matter, have helped Lia?

Now Lia finds herself in a world where her parents watch her like a hawk… trying to get her to eat, trying to help her… but when Lia looks in the mirror she sees only the yellowness of oozy fat beneath her skin….


And so, Lia watched everything she eats….

6 almonds….. 42 calories

toast with no butter…. 120 calories

half an apple… 50 calories…

The goal… 500 calories a day… Or…. is that too much? 


Her family begs her to gain weight…. but at 18 years old, Lia cant stand how being 97 pounds feels…. why do they continue to try to make her fat?  Trying to make her eat like the gluttons they are?  Do they not know that she will run on the treadmill for fours hours later, getting rid of it… all of it until that scale creeps down…. triumphantly to 90, then 87, then 85, then 83…. and then….

“The number doesn’t matter. If I got down to 070.00, I’d want to be 065.00. If I weight 010.00, I wouldn’t be happy until I got down to 005.00. The only number that would ever be enough is 0. Zero pounds, zero life, size zero, double-zero, zero point. Zero in tennis is love. I finally get it.”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Laurie Halse Anderson has done it again.  Seriously!  When I read SPEAK (a banned book by the way!) I was blown away by the powerful and brave topic of a teenager being raped at a party, and afraid to talk about it.  Now, in Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson tackles another tough and heartbreaking topic, Anorexia.

Told in the voice of Lia, we are taken completely inside the mind of a young girl who feels she in always fat, even though everyone, EVERYONE (parents, doctors, counselors….)are telling her differently.  As Lia fights to stay thinner and thinner, you experience with her hallucinations, lack of energy, the inability to get warm, and embarrassment from her siblings at her thinness. 

I highly recommend you listen to this one on audio (yes, even those of you new to audio) – do yourself a favor as Jeannie Stith does an emotionally charged narration of this book… from the voices within Lia’s own mind, to the people that surround Lia’s small world.  Listening to this one was a real treat.

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Other thoughts on Wintergirls:

Beth Fish Reads

Hey Lady!  Watcha Reading?

Word Bird


I borrowed this audio from my local library

21 thoughts on “Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. I absolutely LOVED this audio! It had the same effect on me as well – I could hardly eat! Great review!

  2. Wintergirls is a fantastic book and is one of the books I gave away for World Book Night. A few of the girls I gave it to have told me how much they liked it and how powerful it was

  3. i was wondering how Wintergirls would be – I also read Speak and was blown away by the emotional depth of her writing! I’ve been shocked by the groups that have banned Speak – why, why, why! that crap happens – banning the book doesn’t make it happen any less! Has wintergirls been banned?

  4. I’ve had this on my shelf for forever, so I’m glad to hear it’s good. My copy of Speak is falling apart, but Catalyst kind of tore me apart so I’ve been afraid to read this one.

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