The pain of an eating disorder

wintergirlsTITLE =wintergirls

AUTHOR =Laurie Halse Anderson

GENRE =Identity, Growing up, Mental Health

INTEREST LEVEL = Years 11, 12

This is a brilliantly conceived book but it is not easy to read, as the narrator, Lia quite literally struggles to stay alive. Laurie Halse Anderson certainly captures the mental games (and therefore the mental anguish) that can become a part of life for any teen who is suffering from an eating disorder, as Lia is. The frustration and concern of her family is also all too evident, as they fail to read the signs correctly or simply fail to understand how she deceives them at every turn, despite their best efforts to support her. The fact that Lia’s best friend, Cassie has recently failed in a similar struggle with anorexia and made a belated attempt to gain Lia’s support, only adds fuel to the fire of Lia’s guilt and exra dread and horror for the reader – as we hope that the same fate does not await Lia. The ending is all too believable.

All in all, a powerful novel but not for the faint hearted. Deserving nominee for several awards. More appropriate for older students due to the challenging content.

Recommended (with caution) ***** (dma)

A great new read

Genre: Growing up, Mental Health, Family Relationships
Interest Level: Years 7/8

Sprite Downberry is a spunky young girl faced with enormous obstacles at school and at home. At school she has lost her best friend and is being bullied. This is not helped by her homelife: a mother who behaves oddly in public (a memorable scene opens the novel). When her father leaves and her mother begins to fall apart, Sprite decides the best plan is to take her little brother and try to find her dad. Of course, travelling across country at night with little money is fraught with danger as Sprite soon learns. The issue of mental illness is dealt with sensitively and the story has a satisfying conclusion.

Recommended (dma) : ***