Wintergirls Summary

Lia Overbook has self-esteem issues. She and her best friend Cassie Parrish have both developed eating disorders. Lia succumbs to anorexia and Cassie to bulimia. Their neuroses start feeding off each other, making their relationship toxic.

  • One day, Cassie breaks off their friendship. Six months later, in the midst of senior year, Lia receives thirty-one phone calls from Cassie. Lia never picks up.
  • The next day, Lia learns that Cassie died the night before. She had locked herself up in a motel room, where the cycle of bingeing and purging weakened her, eventually causing her death.
  • Lia struggles to come to grips with her friend's death. She cuts herself and spirals into a deep depression, thinking of herself as a "wintergirl," "caught between two worlds," neither alive nor dead. In the end, she seeks help for her problems, knowing the healing process will be long and hard.

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Lia Overbrook and Cassie Parrish have been best friends since the third grade, but as they grow up, both develop destructive obsessions with body image, dragging each other down because each is afraid of dealing with her demons alone. Lia is anorexic, while Cassie is a victim of bulimia, and when the going gets too tough in the months before their senior year in high school, Cassie breaks off the friendship, leaving Lia devastated. Six months later, after not having communicated with her ex-friend in ages, Lia receives thirty-three phone calls from Cassie in one evening, but she refuses to answer. When she discovers the next day that Cassie has died a grisly death brought on by her own excesses alone in an isolated motel room, Lia realizes that Cassie had been calling for help, and she is wracked by guilt. Lia's parents, divorced and absorbed in their own careers, are unaware of the severity of their daughter's torment, and Lia keeps them, along with her father's new wife, at a distance, adeptly concealing her inner turmoil and maintaining an appearance of normalcy. Lia's fragile hold on health and reality is tenuous at best; haunted by Cassie's ghost, she finds herself losing control of her life, sinking into an abyss of cutting and self-imposed starvation that can only end in her own destruction.


(The entire section is 414 words.)