“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 were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her step-mother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way—thin, thinner, thinnest—maybe she'll disappear altogether.
I was looking around Goodreads, and loads of people gave this review 5 stars - but then some gave it 1? I don't understand how! This is probably one of the better books I have read about triggering topics, and as a book on my copy rightly said "As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is more difficult to put it down".
This novel is based around two best friends, one who has anorexia and one who has bulimia. Those are probably minor spoilers, but it's pretty obvious from the start. Anyway, the one who has bulimia dies, and it is just about the main character, Lia, and how she deals with her best friend dying and her anorexia. To add another factor to it, she has already been admitted to hospital twice because of it, so her parents are watching her like hawks - which is good because they make her eat, but it does keep a slight edge to the whole book, and you're constantly thinking, have they noticed yet? How have they not noticed yet? Although as the reader you want Lia to get better, you also take on some of the emotions she is feeling, and I felt that even though I haven't got an eating disorder, I could relate to her, and I think a lot of people will be able to.
One of the things that I think really makes this novel great is Anderson. She doesn't write as if she's gone on Wikipedia and searched up the disorder - she writes as if she was a cutter. I'm not suggesting she ever has been, but the way she wrote it was if she'd felt those feelings before, or something of the like; it felt genuine, and I think that helped the reader to connect with the story more.
The only thing I didn't like was the ending. I understood most parts of the novel, but the ending really confused me. I know that she was in the motel and she was becoming more delirious, but it just...I don't really want to say anymore for those of you who haven't read it and think you might want to. But one thing I can say: the last time we see Elijah is so disappointing. I didn't find much of a point to his character.
But apart from that, I really enjoyed it. It was hard to read at times, but I think that was because of how well-written it was - it was a believable, and it does make you think about all the different boys and girls out there who are suffering, just like Lia. If that applies to you, then please remember that you're beautiful no matter what size or shape you are, and that there will always be someone there for you, even if it doesn't seem like there is. This novel is a must-read - I have never read another quite like it.