by Laurie Halse Anderson
Interest Level: Upper Grades
Wow. I could probably sum up my entire blog entry for this book with just that word, because I said "wow" so many times while reading it.
I picked up Laurie Halse Anderson's latest book at the airport in Indianapolis yesterday morning. I was upset because I'd left my Kindle at my sister's house, and I didn't want to buy a book at all. I was so set on reading Jodi Picoult's KEEPING FAITH (which was already on my Kindle) that I couldn't wrap my mind around reading something else. I felt better when I saw the cover and author, but I have to admit I was a little nervous about reading this book, because after reading SPEAK and TWISTED, I was afraid this one wouldn't live up to it's predecessors. Wow.
Am I glad I forgot my Kindle! Wow. I even paid full price for it...at the airport. Wow. What a fantastic writer LHA is! (I do not mean any slight at all to Jodi Picoult--I glanced through KEEPING FAITH at a friend's house and was immediately hooked...I'll definitely still read it) Wow. LHA is amazing. (Have I said that yet?)
In a nutshell, this book is about Lia, an eighteen year old girl who is struggling with Anorexia. Her best friend Cassie suffered from Bulimia--they were a pair indeed. That is, until Cassie was found dead in a hotel room, and Lia has to deal with the fact that she ignored Cassie's thirty three phone calls...thirty three attempts to save herself...thirty three chances for Lia to throw Cassie a lifeline. Ignoring those calls, in Lia's mind, had the same effect as if she had inflicted thirty three stab wounds into Cassie's heart.
Before Cassie's death, Lia was making small progress...but the tragedy hurtles her back into the arms of her own disease, whose goal is to destroy her, the same way it's cousin-disease annihilated Cassie. Will it succeed? Will Lia succumb to the seductive ghost voice of Cassie, calling her to cross over to the next life? In her quest to feel anything, will she give in to the call of the razor blade, the steak knife, the knitting needle..whatever sharp point will do the job?
I cannot put into words the effect this book had on me. The lady next to me on the plane must have thought I was a weirdo, with the way I would gasp, laugh, cry, RUSH to turn a page, then gasp again. LHA has succeeded in creating a book that pulls the reader in. Lia is such an intensely well-developed character, she almost leaps off the page. The physical display of the text also has a great impact--Anderson uses strike-out font, lyrical writing, repeated words, and faded asteriks to fill the reader with emotion.
This book is going to be a hit in my library--I can't wait to read it again! Wow.