Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss--her life--and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her.
In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explored Lia's struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all--hope.
General: First of all, let me start off by saying that the author of this novel, Laurie Halse Anderson, is one of my most favorite authors of all time. She has such a talent for writing YA books. I read this book (and re-read it) about a month or two ago. Then I re-read it in order to write a review for it.
That being said, my overall opinion of this book is that it's just plain amazing. Like Laurie Halse Anderson's many other books, the voice of the main character is resounding and it stays with you for a long time. The story is tragic and heartbreaking. It's not necessarily an easy book to read. Some might say it's depressing, and I can't quite argue that. It's...not a "happy" book. It's painful. It comes through the first person with the voice of an anorexic girl, Lia, who's just lost her ex-best friend, Cassie, to bulimia. In Lia's eyes, empty is strong. As long as she has kept the presence of all food out of her system, she is strong. As Cassie's ghost haunts her after Cassie's death, Lia's struggle gets more and more intense as she fights her family, Cassie's ghost, and the urge to eat. Slowly she begins to deteriorate in health until she gets to a point where her entire fate rests on one moment, one choice.
One thing that I didn't absolutely love was the writing style. Generally, LHA has a very unique, crisp, just plain awesome writing style. But for whatever reason, in this novel, it seemed a litte over the top at times. Perhaps this is just personal preference, but I want to be honest. During much of the book, the abstract descriptions truly do add so much to the book; however, at parts, it was almot overkill. It took away from the scene in my opinion. Only at certain parts, though. At times I found it even confusing and difficult to understand. That may or may not bother anyone else; it IS extremely creative and people may actually love what I found confusing.
In this book, Laurie Halse Anderson doesn't sugar coat a thing. The entire story stands on its own, a heartbreakingly realistic novel.
Plot: The plot certainly lives up to the standards Laurie Halse Anderson has set with Speak and all her other previos books. It keeps rolling right along. I didn't feel that there were any particular slow spots where it got boring, nor were there any times where I found myself lost or that the plot had rushed. The events that occured were rarely predictable in any way, and it kept you turning pages, never wanting to put it down.
Characters: Descriptions of the characters themselves were sparse, if they existed at all. It hardly seems to matter, though, because of the amazing descriptions of everything else in the scene. It made picturing the characters very difficult, but seriously, who cares?! The book rocks.
The characters were all very real and relatable. Each had their own detailed personality, even the smallest characters. The dialogue that went on was realistic as well. None of it seemed awkward or unreal, and it all seemed to fit the speaker's age. Overall, awesome.