I have been a huge fan of Laurie Halse Anderson ever since I read Speak -- her books tend to incredibly well-crafted, suck-you-in-and-never-let-you-go-reads. Books I gulped down in one reading, because I had to know what was going to happen. They're also books that stuck with me for days, if not weeks, afterwards. And all this remains true of Wintergirls.
Lia and Cassie, wintergirls with bodies that could never be thin or pretty or controlled enough, had been best friends since third grade, but their friendship recently ended at the insistence of Cassie's parents. Now Cassie has died alone in a motel room and Lia is trapped in a downward self-destructive spiral. Ghosts pursue her. Sadness overwhelms her. Rage threatens her. And there is no-one for Lia to talk to.
Cutting, anorexia, death, depression... Wintergirls was not an easy read and yet it really is one of those books that needs to be read. That won't allow you to put it down. The world in Lia's head is a dark, sharp, claustrophobic one which feels all too creepily real -- I don't know how Anderson did it, but Lia's world-view became almost seductively normal after a few chapters and I had to keep reminding myself that it was not.