Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden – Book Review

Title: Annie on My Mind

Author: Nancy Garden

Genre/Themes/Content Warning: Modern Classic, YA Romance, Coming of Age, Banned Books, LGBTQ+, Homophobia

Blurb from Goodreads

A landmark in LGBT fiction, this captivating story of two teenage girls who fall in love is a “classic of the genre” (Publishers Weekly).

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.

My Review

“Have you ever felt really close to someone? So close that you can’t understand why you and the other person have two separate bodies, two separate skins? I think it was Sunday when that feeling began.”

There is a reason that this novel was so groundbreaking upon its release in 1982. It is utterly beautiful and devastating. The teenage love story between Liza and Annie is nothing short of moving. It starts out so simply. Two girls that form a gorgeously written connection that blossoms so naturally and easily into an all encompassing innocent love that wrongly threatens the world around them.

Love is love.

And this is one of the most beautifully written love stories I have read.

“We didn’t really talk much about being gay; most of the time we just talked about ourselves. We were what seemed important then, not some label.”

What happens to the young girls upon the discovery of their romance is nothing short of shameful and what saddens me is that although this book is more than 35 years old the homophobia displayed by many of the characters in this book is still prevalent today.

“It’s not a problem” I said. “It’s not negative. Don’t you know that it’s love you’re talking about? You’re talking about how I feel about another human being and how she feels about me, not about some kind of disease you have to save us from.”

But despite the homophobia, despite the obstacles and heartache this book packs a hopeful punch.

Love is the victor.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A brilliant and necessary read.

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