Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teen Review: WINTERGIRLS with Giveaway!

Today, one of our teen spies, Laura (aka Literate Looney), is back with an amazing review of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls.

“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 were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she'll disappear altogether.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.

Laura's thoughts: How can you talk about something as beautiful as Wintergirls? How can I even begin to use words as artfully crafted as Laurie Halse Anderson’s, write something comparable to her poetic sentences of heartbreak and triumph, because it’s the only justifiable way to write a review for this book? I can’t, but I can at least talk about how much this book means to me and why.

Difficult topics like bulimia, anorexia, and eating disorders have always interested me, so it’s no surprise that I bought straight away a book that immediately dealt with these things. What is a surprise, however, is how the issues were approached. It was not in a boring, straight-from-the-textbook fashion, as I expected, and it was obvious from the very first page that the author had done her research, but wasn’t going to bombard us with unnecessary information.

The moment I read about Cassie and Lia’s deathly arrangement, I was sucked in. I was gripped so fiercely by the story that I lost hours of sleep in order to finish it. While I haven’t directly experienced Lia’s struggles, I could identify with her at once. Her character was real, in the gritty kind of way you don’t often see in books. I felt her every moment of pain and seclusion. I fought with her ghosts, too.

Really, it’s all because Anderson has a gift with words, and not just your average, run-of-the-mill "she can write!" kind of gift. She has the kind of gift that can fill you with butterflies and slap you across the face, break your heart and wipe your tears all in a single sentence, a chain reaction made my simple words that she individually packs with a heartfelt punch.

I wish there was some big, witty conclusion I could add that would cunningly sum up this book. But Wintergirls is beyond my critique. It is beyond the simple ranking of a novel, it is just that stunning, with the first to final haunting words still turning over in my mind. It is the first book in a long time that has really reached me, that has made feel, and that’s worth something.

Thanks, Laura! (Isn't she amazing?!) A gorgeous review for a gorgeously written novel. Tune in tomorrow when I go undercover into the devastating reality of teens and eating disorders.

Have YOU read Wintergirls? Want to win a hard cover copy? Leave a comment on today’s post or tomorrow’s follow up post (or both for TWO entries!) and I’ll draw one random commenter to win! Winner will be announced Saturday with our comment of the week!


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