Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: “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 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.
I always have intense reactions to books about eating disorders, and this one is no exception.
The book opens with Lia finding out that Cassie has died. The two used to be best friends, but they haven’t been for awhile. Lia has publicly struggled with anorexia – she’d been to a hospital for it – and as a result, their friendship ended. But Cassie quietly struggled with her demons, and they killed her.
This book deals with Lia’s inner turmoil in trying to understand what happened to Cassie – why did she call her the night she died? And also with Lia’s own anorexia – she sewed quarters into the pocket of her robe so she could make weight.
It’s not an easy book to read. But no book about anorexia should ever be easy to read. I felt as if I understood Lia and her struggles. When she counted those calories, I wanted to count them with her. When she was out of control, I was out of control. When she needed to eat something to feel, I wanted to eat to feel.
Anderson’s way with words is poetic. It was beautiful. It was hard. It was worth it.