Lia and Cassie have been best friends since elementary school. They both give each other support to be thin, although they have their own methods – Cassie is bulimic and Lia is anorexic. They had a falling out, though, so Lia refuses to answer her phone one night when Lia calls, and calls, and calls – 33 times to be exact. But the next day, Lia learns that Cassie died that night, alone in a motel room. Cassie’s ghost begins to visit Lia, and she struggles with what Cassie says to her, what the voices in her head tell her (“stupid/ugly/stupid/bitch/stupid/fat…”, and what her family wants of her. Lia’s in a lot of pain and so broken, she’s not sure she can ever actually be fixed.
Laurie Halse Anderson has written another fantastic novel in Wintergirls. Lia is a well-crafted character and while the reader might not agree with the ways she tortures her body, one can certainly understand how she feels lost. Lia tugged at my heartstrings and there is one particular scene with her mother that just slayed me. The ending is hopeful and realistic, with no easy answers provided, but Anderson wants any reader feeling pain to know that there is help out there.