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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  106,199 ratings  ·  8,953 reviews
“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinnies
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published March 19th 2009 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Savannah Grace When Lia is weighed, she always formats her weight as 000.00 (example: 101.20). The chapters are also formatted this way (example: 039.00). That's the…moreWhen Lia is weighed, she always formats her weight as 000.00 (example: 101.20). The chapters are also formatted this way (example: 039.00). That's the only reason I can think of.(less)
May Newburg
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  106,199 ratings  ·  8,953 reviews

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May 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, 2009
I didn't care for the writing style, all the crossed out words just felt like an unneccessary affectation that slowed down the pace of the book. The chapter headings 001.00, etc were a distraction that took me several chapters to even realize what the numbers meant. The descriptions are ugly.
I didn't make any connection to Lia and never grew to like her. As written, her character seemed like a spoiled rich brat who was not even kind enough to pick up the phone to speak to the parents of her dead
Emma Giordano
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars! This book was a really emotional read for me. It's been recommended to me a million times over and I'm so glad I finally picked it up.

The writing in this book was incredible. Everything flowed together perfectly and it was more like reading a masterpiece than just reading a book. I'm extremely impressed with the way the author was able to capture all of Lia's experiences with the perfect words, words that fit together so flawlessly it's impossible for them to be described any other wa
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book, as Laurie and I share a publisher. It is so, so good. The voice is unique, the style like a puzzle and a poem, all at once. Highly recommended. I think it will be HUGE with teenage girls.
Megs ♥
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it

Who exactly are the Wintergirls? They are Lia and Cassie. Cassie is a pretty girl who started battling bulimia at a very young age, and at the beginning of our story was found dead in a motel room. Lia is her former best friend who is still battling anorexia, and has to deal with getting weighed weekly by her well-meaning step mother, and also has the guilt constantly in her mind knowing that Cassie had called her. 35 times. Right before she died. The details of her death have not yet been relea
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I initially found this book to be absolutely repulsive - the narrative was suffused with this sense that something was hideously wrong, and the devices that Anderson was using to describe narrator Lia's reality hinted at a disturbing mania. As it turns out, this is exactly right - Lia's sense of self was damaged even before her former best friend Cassie died alone and in pain. Their partnership was a deathly one; both girls aspired to be the skinniest as they struggled to grasp their way into ad ...more
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Lia fights a war every day.

A war with herself.

A war with food.

At 95 pounds she still feels fat. When she looks in the mirror she sees the pockets of fat hanging on her body. Everyone else is just blind. Two stays in a treatment facility hasn’t cured her; it just forced her to develop techniques to survive in a world of food. She picks the bruised apples at lunch so she has an excuse to cut some of it off, she sews quarters in the lining of her robe to add weight when she has to stand on the s
Mar 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Laurie Halse Anderson sinks her teeth into writes about eating disorders in this one. She distracts from the too-familiar story and flat characters uses lots of "clever" formatting, including numbers/tiny text/three guesses

This could have been a good book if Anderson had spent less time being "clever" and more time creating solid characters that would have strengthened a story that's been told plenty of times before.


ariel says everyone loves this book, and that's probably true, these girls today are probably super-drawn to this kind of story. it's not bad, i just already have a favorite teen-problem-novel about anorexia, one that doesn't have the voice of this narrator, who was so immersed in her dreamworld, she frequently spoke in this forced-poetic voice that i found distracting:

"used to be that my whole body was my canvas - hot cuts lick my ribs, ladder rungs climbing my arms, thick milkweed stalks shoo
I ship this book. Ship! Ship!! Ship!!!



Before I go further, before I'm made out to be insensitive, these are things you need to know.


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Now that that's out of the way...


"Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the
Jul 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm surprised there is so little criticism of this book!

I don't normally write reviews, but I finished the book a couple weeks ago and have been letting my thoughts simmer, unable to just forget it. Amazon seems to have eaten my review (maybe it will be posted in a couple days?). I decided to look for more dissenting opinions on here.

4 or 5 stars for great writing. Anderson creates a page turner and certainly has an admirable command of language.

2 stars for depth.

Most articles and even many book
C.G. Drews
That was emotional and terrible and intense...and cold. It didn't help that I'm literally FREEZING right now (it's winter! I'm cold!) and this book was like reading about a self-destructing snowflake. I always find it intense and confronting to read about eating disorders. I put off this book forever, but I really loved Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory and I knew I needed to read more of her masterpieces. SO I WAS BRAVE. I READ THIS. It definitely affected me.

Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
WOW. Laurie Halse Anderson knows how to write a good and powerful book!
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first read by Laurie Halse Anderson and I now see why people love her writing so much. She has a way of explaining inner thoughts in beautiful and heart-breaking words and phrases, and while the language is poetic it doesn't drown the actual story.
"Wintergirls" deals with anorexia and bulemia all at once. It's a very strong and impactful story; especially, I would imagine, if you read it as a young adult which this novel is targeted towards. However, you can obviously still read it
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reread in December 2015

This left me so fucked up.
I have no clue how to begin. I don’t think I ever read a book that left me so lost, for lack of a better word. I’m numb and astonished and a heap of other feelings I can’t even try to begin to explain. I felt physically uncomfortable while reading it and I felt so so sad throughout it. Just, simply put, an overwhelming feeling of sadness and helplessness was always with me. It’s that need you feel as a reader to shield the characters you read abo
sarah xoxo
this book broke my heart. and I can't decide if I liked it.

It has been almost a month since I read Wintergirls and I still don't know how to feel about it.

Laurie Halse Anderson is undoubtably an immensely talented author. She painted such a vivid picture of what it is like to live with an eating disorder that I felt like I was Lia, experiencing it alongside her. Some lines absolutely punched me in the gut. Not just in their beauty and poetry, but in their raw and unflinchingness.

“There’s no p
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In a world riddled with made-for-tv, paint-by-numbers eating disorder cliche, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson separates itself from the pack.

The set-up is standard: Lia is the caucasian, teenaged daughter of divorced parents. Much shock, much surprise. As the book opens, Lia is reeling from the loss of her estranged bestie, Cassie. Cassie, our token warning sign in human form, died suddenly after making repeated, unanswered calls to Lia. 33, in fact. Thankfully, that’s where the cliches st
Lisa Vegan
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who treat young people with eating disorders; not necessarily for those suffering from ED
This book was absolutely mesmerizing! I was completely engrossed and I really enjoyed it. This book gets five stars and not four from me, despite a couple of flaws, because Lia seemed so real and the writing style was wonderful and the language was lovely.

I’d highly recommend this book to those treating and caring for those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and certain types of mental illnesses. I think it would be very educational for some, and useful for those they’re trying to help.

Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Word of warning: if you have an eating disorder, I'd urge you to stay away from this book. Wintergirls is almost entirely about spiralling deeper and deeper into the obsession, misery and deadly danger of anorexia. And you already know full well what that's like, don't you? You don't really need another anorexic to measure up against, always coming up fat, or another source of ideas to keep you locked in a tiny, cold life that will take and take and take from you until there's nothing left to ta ...more
Cristina Monica
I did not finish this book. Why? It was hard, frustrating and very slow. This is a book about anorexia nervosa mainly. Lia, of what I know, was anorexic even before the death of her ex bestfriend Cassie. Again, I did not finish this book so maybe it was explained further in the story, I don't know. The thing is... Lia is not just anorexic. She hurts herself in otherways too and keeps having hallucinations. I know how this story ends though, since I read the last pages and it actually surprised m ...more
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, ya
Wintergirls. What can I say about this book? It wasn't an easy read. I have never been exposed to the world of anorexia and bulimia and therefore can't say if it was truthfully and accurately portrayed, but what I can say is that being in Lia's mind definitely was a powerful experience which I will not soon forget. Although I couldn't understand what moved Lia to do certain things, I had a good look at her inner world which was a terrifying and bleak place. Her obsession with calories, not eatin ...more
Raeleen Lemay
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Not quite as good as Speak but AHHHH STILL SO GOOD. I want to go eat something now.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Wintergirls is a story about girl who's struggling with anorexia. It's a pretty quick read, but it didn't move me as much as I thought it would.

The story is good. Scary and shocking with a strong message. I don't have a lot insight into the disease so this was a real eye opener for me; I wasn't aware how people with anorexia were able to actually self-discipline themselves to not eat. We're shown through Lia's point of view how she warps her world and relationships that which steers her into de
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
5.0 Stars
Five stars upon re-read. Anderson has such a talent for writing authentic stories about real teenage issues. The narration is emotional and raw, accurately depicting the inner monologue of disordered eating. I love the fragmented writing style, which felt very remiscent of Speak. I highly recommend this powerful, young adult novel.
Huge content warnings for eating disorders. This novel includes triggering thought patterns regarding weight, calories, and starvation tricks that could dange
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lia and Cassie were always the best of friends. They called themselves the Wintergirls, the two were competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But Lia had not spoken to Cassie in months after her trip into the hospital when her weight hit the danger zone.

Now, Lia finds that Cassie has died alone in a motel and all Lia wants is answers to what happened. Lia had ignored Cassie's numerous phone calls and is now carrying guilt over the loss of her friend which starts a downwar
Nov 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I love Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak is one of my all time favorite novels, so to say I was excited to read Wintergirls was an understatement. I was excited until I realized what Wintergirls was really about: anorexia. Was that something that I wanted to read about. It sounded truly depressing and slightly disturbing. But as hard as it was to read this novel, I felt like it was even harder to put down. Anderson continues to impress my with her beautifully written novels.

I’ve seen Anderson’s writ
May 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
Normally, I would have just left my two star (really, more like one and a half) rating and gone on my way. But Laurie Halse Anderson is very close to the top of the list of my favorite authors who write for teens, and this is the second title in the row of hers that I've given two stars.

It kills me to think she might never write anything as good as Speak or Catalyst again.

If I'm going to devote several hours of my life to follow a character through several hundred pages, I need something to hang

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Contemporary + Young Adult

Lia and Cassie are best friends who struggle with anorexia. One day Cassie is found dead in a motel room. She tried to contact Lia many times to say sorry after their break up, but Lia never answered her that day for the horrible things she said to her. When Lia finds that her friend is no more she will struggle a lot to choose between life and death.

Book Structure:
The book is 278 pages. There are 65 chapters and most are short and can be
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Overall I have a feeling this book would be frustrating and disturbing for those who know nothing of disordered eating; and for those with disordered eating, I think it would be very triggering. So really, I wouldn’t recommend Wintergirls to anyone.
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wintergirls is an interesting book. I've found since reading Hunger for Life and Worthy of Love this year that there are some books on the subject of eating disorders which don't talk down to readers but instead help them to truly understand the struggles of a person going through these things, and Wintergirls, along with the latter two mentioned titles, is definitely one of those which I would consider one of the best in this small but important subgenre.

This is a book which really looks into
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am oh-so-ready for more people I know to have read this book so I can talk with them about it!!

Though it will inevitably be compared to SPEAK, I felt like this marked a real advance in Laurie Halse Anderson's ability as a writer in comparison. That said, the main character is dissociated, so it's hard to feel particuarly close to her as a reader. But I think that's the point.

I don't think it's an exaggeration at all to say that some readers will find salvation in this book, and for that alone
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The paradox of a novel about an ED 5 40 Jul 26, 2020 10:02PM  
205A Book Club: WINTEL GIRLIES 6 9 Jun 29, 2019 09:56AM  
Mental Health Boo...: December- Wintergirls 5 30 Dec 09, 2018 09:28PM  

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Ask box is open, my friends! What do you want to know?

UPDATE! SHOUT, my memoir in verse, is out, has received 9 starred reviews, and was longlisted for the National Book Award!

I recently answered all kinds of great questions over at Reddit. Check it out for loads about my writing process and my books:

For bio stuff: Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times b

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