Published by Speak on March 19th, 2009
“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.
It’s been 4 days since I finished the book and oh boy, do I have a lot of thoughts. It was my first Laurie Halse Anderson book, but it won’t be my last. In fact, I think I might have The Impossible Knife of Memory on my bookshelves. I’ll need to make that book a priority this year.
Anyway, on to my review of this book. I cannot speak much about the representation or the accuracy of eating disorders as a whole, but I can say that from my rudimentary knowledge of eating disorders she got it pretty damn right. This book was so heartbreaking and maddening at the same time. Heartbreaking because of how these girls saw themselves. As their weight went down, they got happier, but we really only got to see responses from Lia’s family. Maddening because we the reader can see what she’s doing and recognize how this is going to go down.
Despite Cassie being so important in this book, we don’t really end up knowing a whole heck of a lot about her. I can tell you when her eating disorder started and I can tell you how she died, but really that’s it. I wanted more about Cassie’s family dynamics. We got an entire book of Lia’s family dynamics, but Cassie’s was totally missing. That was one thing that really bothered me about this book.
Oh man, Lia was complicated as hell and I love complex characters. Like I said, i don’t know a lot about eating disorders, but from what I do know, Lia fit the basic description of an anorexic. Watching her know and count the exact calories in ANYTHING she put in her mouth was hard, but I know calorie counting is a big part of being an anorexic. Her refusal to admit that she was in trouble again was also hard to read about. I absolutely believe Cassie’s death triggered Lia’s restrictive eating patterns. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I’d recommend it overall. I had some problems with the lack of information about Cassie’s family dynamics but that is really my only complaint about this book.