By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
Ouch , this book hurt. It was so raw and painful to read, but so well-written. A testament to how wonderful the execution was how hard-hitting it was. From the other reviews I've seen it wasn't just people who have experienced something like this or have seen someone else go through it, nearly everyone who read it were touched and pained by the horror and beauty of this story.
The writing was so fantastic. It really drove home the problems that Lia was having and her mental state. I loved the little affectations of the way Lia thought, like the repeatingrepeatingrepeating of words like that or the combined words. The slashed-out words were really well-done and you could tell how Lia was feeling toward each person by what she chose to call them and what she chose to slash out (example:
I appreciated how the book shows how her disease not only hurts her, but hurts everyone around her. The parents are very real part of the book, not falling into the nonexistent-parent trope at all. I really enjoyed Lia's relationship with Emma and it hurt when they were separated (even with how necessary it was). In the same way it showed how Cassie's problem and consequential death struck Lia to the core and sent her spiraling. The relationships in this book weren't taken for granted and they weren't just used as plot devices. These people were living life dealing with each other and loving each other and that was special.
My solitary complaint would be that I wish more time was spent discussing Lia's road to being healthy. It's given a couple pages at the end, but more would have been a nice addition.
I believe that this book is truly important. Really and truly very important. It touches on quite a few major issues and it addresses them in an informed AND emotionally touching way. I think it will (and has) succeeded in both relating to those who have lived through or around eating disorders and it has garnered a new level of understanding in those who have yet to encounter it, but who likely will at some point.
"In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality."
"When you're alive, people can hurt you. It's easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. IT's easier to lock everybody out. But it's a lie."
"I am learning how to be angry and sad and lonely and joyful and excited and afraid and happy. I am learning how to taste everything."