I was thrilled to score a copy of this galley at NCTE. What can you say about Laurie Halse Anderson that is not reflected in her glorious November accolades: National Book Award Finalist for Chains and ALAN Award for distinguished contribution to the field of YA literature? Well, make room for some more applause as her newest book, WINTERGIRLS, hits the reviews (already a glowing review in Booklist).
As this novel opens, Lia is haunted by the death of her closest friend, Cassie. Unfortunately, the two of them had argued and drifted apart this past year. However, Cassie called Lia non-stop on the night she died. Lia refused to answer th phone and is, understandably, wracked with guilt. That is not her only demon, however, Lia also battles body image disorder, one so severe she has been hospitalized in the past. Life is never simple for teens, and Anderson gets that. It is never just one thing that seems to go awry. Rather it is the layer upon layer upon layer of challenges: school, family, friends, etc. that begin to wear away one's defenses. As Lia's all but disintegrate, she does not know who to trust, who will help. Her mother seems too consumed with her career as a doctor; her father is involved in his writing; even her stepmother is too rushed to notice Lia's fading.
Short chapters are not the only thing that make this book a page turner. Readers will be absorbed completely into Lia's life. They will share her pain and her agonizing search for someone, anyone, who can rescue her from her demons. The question is, will that someone arrive in time? Place your oder now for this stunning novel from Viking (Penguin Putnam, March 2009).