Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


Written by Laurie Halse Anderson

13+ readers   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shocking, mesmerising and utterly convincing, Lia tells the story of her disjointed life in the iron grip of an eating disorder. Already happily embracing the demons who drive her not to eat, Lia is now pursued also by the voice of her best friend Cassie who has just committed suicide begging her to keep control and stay thin. At first Lia obeys but gradually she begins to break free; the desire not to eat is tempered by some hope for a future. ~ Julia Eccleshare

...and a piece of passion from the publisher, Marion Lloyd:

I have a longstanding dislike of novels written for young people for the purpose of examining a particular issue – bullying, pregnancy, self-harm, divorce, or whatever. I very often turn them down because, for me, the ‘issue’ is not the story. Stories are not to be confused with therapy or education. So when Wintergirls was submitted to us from America, I expected not to like it. My prejudices were blasted away, powerfully and painfully. It hurt to read it, but it made me want to yell, ‘If you want to understand this subject, then you must, must, MUST read this story!’

The disease of anorexia is incredibly difficult for most people, even medical experts, to understand. It is deeply irrational, disturbing and complex. But reading the story of Wintergirls allowed me to see how a teenage girl might deliberately starve herself to death, and this knowledge was empowering as well as devastating. It is an exceptionally brave book. Laurie Halse Andersen has found the perfect voice in which to tell a story which feels true in every detail. Painful, horrible, basic, shocking – but absolutely true. If you want to know how it feels to suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, read the brilliant The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. If you want to know how an anorexic sufferer feels, read Wintergirls. This is a life-changing book, and if it could be a life-saving book for just one reader, then publishing it will be one of the proudest things I’ve ever done.


Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cassie’s body was found in a motel room. She called Lia 33 times before she died. Lia never picked up.

Now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away.

And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weighless. If she keeps on going in this way - thin, thinner, thinnest- maybe she'll disappear altogether.


“It's an exhausting novel to read: brilliant, intoxicating, full of drama, love and, like all the best books of this kind, hope. It would be rare to find a novel in mainstream adult fiction prepared to pull out the dramatic stops this far, and difficult to imagine one in recent years that was prepared to be so bold stylistically. It's a book that will be around for many years. It may not be an original piece, as these tricks have been pulled before in teen fiction. Yet it pulls them off with more skill and effect than anything I have ever read.” Melvin Burgess, The Observer

“A fearless, riveting account of a young woman in the grip of a deadly illness” - New York Times

“A startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative” - School Librarian Journal

“As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is even more difficult to put down” - Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson has been published to huge critical acclaim in the United States. Known for tackling tough subjects with humour and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains was also shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal in the UK. In 2009 Laurie was honoured with the Margaret A. Edwards Awards, given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature”. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York where she likes to watch snow fall as she writes.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


304 pages


Laurie Halse Anderson
More books by Laurie Halse Anderson

Author's Website


Marion Lloyd Books an imprint of Scholastic

Publication date

3rd January 2011




It has introduced my children to books we hadn’t come across before. Real children’s reviews gives a great insight into what others think to

Lorraine Woods

We love Lovereading4kids because it promotes reading choices, new authors and a sense of community for children of all ages!

Rachel Bridgeman

LoveReading4Kids is a modern and creative way of emphasising the value and importance of books in this digital age #booksforlife

Amrit Bunet – Teen

I love Lovereading because I often never know what to read and this helps you find a good book. I have recommended this to many people.

Shannon-Louise Masters – age 15

We love Lovereading as my 5 year old loves to read new books before anyone else has a chance, she says it makes reading exciting!

Tracey Chorley

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

I am so pleased to have signed my kids up as they are reading a much wider range of books and even choosing books out of their comfort zone.

Angela East

A great way to introduce kids to great books, authors & genres. Parents can find age-appropriate books to share with their children.

Judi Davies – Aberdare Girls Sch

Lovereading 4 schools