Parents' Guide to


By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Disturbing, lauded eating disorder read; discuss with teens.

Wintergirls Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 18+

Mixed feelings.

I'm 19, but I read this book for the first time at 16 when my eating disorder was first starting to develop. A few said this scared them into recovery, it did the opposite for me. I wanted to weigh as much as Lia did, I did all the things she did to lose weight. The ending didn't make me want to get better. I've seen a ton of people say this should be read by children to educate/scare them, but I disagree. It could very easily backfire. Aside from the triggering aspect, it was well written and I did relate to Lia. The story really hooked me in. I'm sure this book may help some people who are struggling, but I wouldn't suggest it to all.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

A how to guide

Eating disorders thrive on competitiveness, and this book enables that. It is a how to guide on how to become thin, and methods to accomplish that. It goes into detail about the ways the girls would be thin or lose weight. I remember reading this when I was about 12 or 13, and it caused me so much harm, and I’m sure it has to others. It is unnecessary, and should be only read my mature adults, but even then it can inspire and really hurt those struggling with an ED. Overall, this book definitely does more harm than good.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10):
Kids say (35):

WINTERGIRLS is very painful to read and very, very powerful. It is not for the faint of heart, but fans of Laurie Halse Anderson may find it hard to resist. Teens will find it depressing -- parents will find it even more so -- but Anderson's beautiful and evocative writing will compel them to read to the end. Anderson says in an afterward that she wrote this book because of so many readers who asked her to write about eating disorders, cutting, and feeling lost. It's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job.

An innovative style of journal writing is used to further illustrate a troubled mind -- some pages are blank while others feature crossed out words. Lia references fairy tales and fairy tale images that will appeal especially to female readers. This story has more brutality than a fairy tale from the Grimm brothers. As Lia says, there is no magic cure for girls like her, but there is a tiny, potent thimbleful of hope in the end.

Book Details

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