I mentioned last week in my blog that I’d offer some more writing tips, but I’ve gotten sidetracked by one of my own suggestions: “Read and read a lot to become a better writer.” So instead of posting more tips, I’d like to share a few things about one of the books I just revisited: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (from the author of Speak). Next on the list is to reread Pride and Prejudice (but maybe I’ll just watch the film for now and wait for the summer to read it).PP


Wintergirls catapults readers into the grip of teenage life, revealing the complexities and struggles of adolescence. Because Halse’s delivery is credible and powerful, albeit harrowing, her voice is not easily ignored.

What is exposed through the narrator’s terse language is a teenage girl haunted by the death of her best friend. Both girls were deeply entrenched in a battle to be the thinnest; however, one died as a result of the competition while the other is left behind to cope. Lia is the survivor. In sporadic spurts of internal monologue, we experience the persistent combat of her struggles: ‘I’m hungry. I need to eat. I hate eating. I need to eat. I hate eating. I need to eat. I love not-eating. The red oil light blinks ON/OFF, ON/OFF, ON/OFF. I shift out of PARK and accelerate.’ We are confronted by a mind riddled with conflict and a voice choked by despair.”*

I was first drawn to this book for many reasons: 1) I loved the author’s first novel Speak 2) the subject matter is important to me. As a teacher, I often see my students struggle with issues of body image and beauty. In fact, we talk about it a lot in my English classes and 3) I think the voice (even from an initial glance) is authentic and riveting. Lia teaches us about the fragility of life and what it means to struggle daily.

So, that’s it for today. If you have any suggestions—books to read—send them my way. And, more writing tips are on the way for my next post. See you then!

Portion taken from an earlier review on Wintergirls (from New Madrid)