Eighteen-year-old Lia has been living with her father, stepmother, and stepsister for a few months, since returning from rehabilitation for anorexia.
One morning at breakfast, Lia’s stepmother tells Lia some bad news.
Lia’s friend Cassie was found dead in a motel room last night. Lia and Cassie had struggled with eating disorders together.
Cassie was bulimic. They had wanted to be thinner than everyone else, and called themselves wintergirls because of the way they could balance between life and death. For the past few months, Lia and Cassie hadn’t been as close because Cassie, while going through recovery, blamed Lia for her disorder.
They hadn’t had a chance to make up, and now Cassie is dead. When Lia checks her cell phone, she realizes that Cassie called her the night of her death. In fact, she called 33 times.
Lia struggles with the guilt that perhaps she could have saved her friend, and the sadness of her death.
These feelings bring on a full relapse of her anorexia. As Lia gets more and more involved with her disease and its rituals, she begins to see visions of Cassie, cheering her along in her quest for thinness.
Why do you think teenage girls feel pressure to look a certain way? Where did Lia feel that type of pressure?
As Lia’s life becomes more and more wrapped up in her anorexia, what are some things that keep her connected to real life?
What does it mean to be a wintergirl?
Describe some of the problems in Lia’s life that could have led to her anorexia.
Why do you think Lia felt so connected to Elijah, the man who lived at the motel?
Why do you think Anderson chose to write the book using different fonts, crossed-out words, counting, and even blank pages?
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