Title: Annie On My Mind
Author: Nancy Garden
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQ+
Page Count: 183
Release Date: September 5, 2017 (first published 1982)
When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there’s something special between them. Soon, their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance. Neither imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful, but as Liza and Annie’s newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and at their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.
One of the first books to positively portray a lesbian relationship, Annie on My Mind is a groundbreaking classic of the genre. The subject of a First Amendment lawsuit over banned books and one of School Library Journal’s “One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century,” Nancy Garden’s iconic novel is an important story for anyone discovering who they’re meant to be.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my overall rating of this book.
I feel so fortunate that NetGalley accepted my request to read and review this book. As mentioned in the book’s description, Annie On My Mind was one of the first books about two girls falling in love. It was banned but also one of the most important books that helped shape it’s time period.
funny how banned books are usually the most important books
I’m happy to say that this book didn’t disappoint. I got a wonderful story that follows our protagonist Eliza as she makes friends with a girl named Annie that she met at a museum. From the moment they met, they clicked and became great friends.
But Liza had the feeling that there was something more between them. She kept on feeling urges that she never experienced before. But Annie is a girl so she must be imagining… right?
I thought Nancy Garden did a wonderful job with the friendship that bloomed into something intense and wonderfully beautiful between these two girls. She did a great job portraying two girls trying to figure out what their feelings for each other actually mean and how to deal with them in a time period that wouldn’t be accepting of them.
The homophobia by some of the characters in this book had me wanting to punch them repeatedly in the face. Liza was threatened to get removed from school because of her relationship with Annie (Annie went to a different school). It made me so angry reading about this happening, especially since I know that events like this (and worse) have occurred just because of someone’s sexual orientation.
Loads of characters – including Annie’s classmates and parents – wanted to have her see a shrink in order to “come over her issues”. Pshhh, you can’t un-gay yourself. She could push it back and start repelling it, but that’s the worst thing a person could do to themselves.
This book was originally published in the 80’s so there isn’t the modern technology we’re used to such as mobile phones, social medias, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like that so it was refreshing and it made the story feel more special.
Even though this was a short book, the way it was written made it feel longer somehow. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I think it might be due to Garden’s writing style. I found it to be the type of writing style that I like for small snippets but when it’s for an entire book I grow bored of it quite fast.
Also, despite the girls’ age of 17 they felt a bit… juvenile to me. I might be due to them… the only word I can come up to describe it as is LARPing, but basically they’d pretend to be knights riding horses and had to save a princess. Honestly I felt like… this wouldn’t happen?? Or at least, they wouldn’t be so comfortable doing it right after meeting each other.
but that might just be me
i won’t judge if you meet someone on the street and start playing castle
ha, see what i did there? i exchanged house for castle… okay i’m done
That along with a few other minor things made me not like this book as much as I would have if they weren’t included, but they were still interesting additions to this book and the girls’ relationship.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
At first I was going to give this book four stars, but I felt like that didn’t quite fit because I really had a few things I didn’t like about it, and that was nitpicking.
TW for mention(s) of: homophobia
**exactly what liza did by the way
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What are some of your favorite books where the main characters are discovering their sexualities? Have you read this book? Do you think you’d enjoy this book if you read it?