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Wintergirls
Cover of Wintergirls
Wintergirls
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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...
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...
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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.

 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book 1

    So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.

    She tells me in four sentences. No, five.

    I can't let me hear this, but it's too late. The facts sneak in and stab me. When she gets to the worst part

    . . . body found in a motel room, alone . . .

    . . . my walls go up and my doors lock. I nod like I'm listening, like we're communicating, and she never knows the difference.

    It's not nice when girls die.

    2

    "We didn't want you hearing it at school or on the news." Jennifer crams the last hunk of muffin into her mouth. "Are you sure you're okay?"

    I open the dishwasher and lean into the cloud of steam that floats out of it. I wish I could crawl in and curl up between a bowl and a plate. (My stepmother) Jennifer could lock the door, twist the dial to SCALD, and press ON.

    The steam freezes when it touches my face. "I'm fine," I lie.

    She reaches for the box of oatmeal raisin cookies on the table. "This must feel awful." She rips off the cardboard ribbon. "Worse than awful. Can you get me a clean container?"

    I take a clear plastic box and lid out of the cupboard and hand it across the island to her. "Where's Dad?"

    "He had a tenure meeting."

    "Who told you about Cassie?"

    She crumbles the edges of the cookies before she puts them in the box, to make it look like she baked instead of bought. "Your mother called late last night with the news. She wants you to see Dr. Parker right away instead of waiting for your next appointment."

    "What do you think?" I ask.

    "It's a good idea," she says. "I'll see if she can fit you in this afternoon."

    "Don't bother." I pull out the top rack of the dishwasher. The glasses vibrate with little screams when I touch them. If I pick them up, they'll shatter. "There's no point."

    She pauses in mid-crumble. "Cassie was your best friend."

    "Not anymore. I'll see Dr. Parker next week like I'm supposed to."

    "I guess it's your decision. Will you promise me you'll call your mom and talk to her about it?"

    "Promise."

    Jennifer looks at the clock on the microwave and shouts, "Emma—four minutes!"

    (My stepsister) Emma doesn't answer. She's in the family room, hypnotized by the television and a bowl of blue cereal.

    Jennifer nibbles a cookie. "I hate to speak ill of the dead, but I'm glad you didn't hang out with her anymore."

    I push the top rack back in and pull out the bottom. "Why?"

    "Cassie was a mess. She could have taken you down with her."

    I reach for the steak knife hiding in the nest of spoons. The black handle is warm. As I pull it free, the blade slices the air, dividing the kitchen into slivers. There is Jennifer, packing store-bought cookies in a plastic tub for her daughter's class. There is Dad's empty chair, pretending he has no choice about these early meetings. There is the shadow of my mother, who prefers the phone because face-to-face takes too much time and usually ends in screaming.

    Here stands a girl clutching a knife. There is grease on the stove, blood in the air, and angry words piled in the corners. We are trained not to see it, not to see any of it.

    . . . body found in a motel room, alone . . .

    Someone just ripped off my eyelids.

    "Thank God you're stronger than she was." Jennifer drains her coffee mug and wipes the crumbs from the corners of her mouth.

    The knife slides into the butcher block with a whisper. "Yeah." I reach for a plate, scrubbed free of blood and...

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books happy_cookie - This is an amaazing book that tells the real truth behind the often glorifed dieases known as eating disorders. In this book, Lia is dealing with the death of her bestfriend and is haunt, literally, by the fact she might have been able to save her. If that is not enough she is battling anorexia and an over-bearing mother, he only wants to help. This is a deep, heart wrenching novel that will leave to read stunned.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 26, 2009
    Acute anorexia, self-mutilation, dysfunctional families and the death of a childhood friend—returning to psychological minefields akin to those explored in Speak
    , Anderson delivers a harrowing story overlaid with a trace of mysticism. The book begins as Lia learns that her estranged best friend, Cassie, has been found dead in a motel room; Lia tells no one that, after six months of silence, Cassie called her 33 times just two days earlier, and that Lia didn’t pick up even once. With Lia as narrator, Anderson shows readers how anorexia comes to dominate the lives of those who suffer from it (here, both Lia and Cassie), even to the point of fueling intense competition between sufferers. The author sets up Lia’s history convincingly and with enviable economy—her driven mother is “Mom Dr. Marrigan,” while her stepmother’s values are summed up with a précis of her stepsister’s agenda: “Third grade is not too young for enrichment, you know.” This sturdy foundation supports riskier elements: subtle references to the myth of Persephone and a crucial plot line involving Cassie’s ghost and its appearances to Lia. As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is more difficult to put down. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2009
    Gr 8 Up-The intensity of emotion and vivid language here are more reminiscent of Anderson's "Speak" (Farrar, 1999) than any of her other works. Lia and Cassie had been best friends since elementary school, and each developed her own style of eating disorder that leads to disaster. Now 18, they are no longer friends. Despite their estrangement, Cassie calls Lia 33 times on the night of her death, and Lia never answers. As events play out, Lia's guilt, her need to be thin, and her fight for acceptance unravel in an almost poetic stream of consciousness in this startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative. The text is rich with words still legible but crossed out, the judicious use of italics, and tiny font-size refrains reflecting her distorted internal logic. All of the usual answers of specialized treatment centers, therapy, and monitoring of weight and food fail to prevail while Lia's cleverness holds sway. What happens to her in the end is much less the point than traveling with her on her agonizing journey of inexplicable pain and her attempt to make some sense of her life."Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    April 20, 2009
    Wintergirls opens on the day that Lia, an anorexic, learns that her former best friend Cassie has died of her own eating disorder. Cassie had left 33 increasingly frantic messages on Lia's phone as she was dying. Now Cassie's voice haunts Lia as her disorder takes control, threatening to make her a cold "wintergirl" forever. Why It Is for Us: How do you follow-up a year in which you become a National Book Award finalist (for Chains) and win the Margaret Edwards Award for your lasting contribution to teen literature? If you are Anderson, you publish your most chilling and relevant book since Speak. The force of Lia's will as she starves herself to death is fascinating, frightening, and in every way a wakeup call to adult readers who think they have read the eating-disorder story before.

    Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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