Sunday, June 11, 2023

Annie on My Mind (Book Review)

Two teen girls hold hands, their foreheads touching as they lean in towards each other.
    I'm not sure how I came across a recommendation to read this book, but "Annie on My Mind" by Nancy Garden was a beautiful and minorly startling read. Startling only because it was written so openly about gay teen girls back in 1982! It both felt of it's time and equally prescient 40 years later. But the short take: do you like lesbian teen stories that are beautiful (you probably do and that's why you read my blog)? If so, this is just a really sweet and well written teen novel from the 80s about being gay and in love.
    The story focuses on Liza, who attends an ailing private school in a nice part of New York City and her chance encounter at a museum with Annie, who attends a public school in a not-so-nice part of 1980s New York City. They click instantly, and then, they really click and they keep clicking, and they keep getting closer, and...
    I don't want to give too many spoilers, but the balance between Annie having a bit more self-knowledge about being gay and Liza figuring it out plays a pivotal role in this story. As do the implications of one's family, one's place in society, the changing values of society, the pressures to conform, and the tragedies that the LGBTQ+ community have almost always born. And yet, be assured, this isn't the same tragic lesbian novel you've read before. 
    There are good people in their lives, trying to understand, or who already do (more than the girls can know). And these are two good girls, doing their best with their feelings and their situations. And they don't always get it right with each other. That is one of many many authentic parts to this story, how friends can fight, and say the wrong thing, and what it takes to come back together after. There is so very much to like in this book. And even as an adult, albeit one who still likes reading high-school romance, there is much to like in this book.
    Well written with language that moves you through the story at a brisk pace. It isn't the most glamourous writing, but it's writing that feels invisible to the lives being lived. That's okay. Not every book needs to be a literary beacon. What I wanted from this book is what I got: a beautiful high-school romance handled well.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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