Review + Giveaway: Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings.

When I was thinking about what books to review for LGBT Month, Annie on My Mind was the first book to come to, um, mind. This is a reread for me, which very rare; I’m typically not a rereader. My first experience with Annie on My Mind was in 2010 when I listened to the audiobook. I was blown away by the feels! I would have loved to listen to it again for this review, but audiobooks take longer and I just didn’t have time to listen to it this time around.

Annie on My Mind is told from the point of view of Liza, a college freshman, looking back on her senior year of high school. Right away you know something is wrong: Liza starts a letter to Annie, apologizing for not writing and saying she’s going to miss Annie’s letters. She tells herself that she needs to sort through everything in her mind before she can mail the letter, and the story unfolds from there.

Annie and Liza meet by chance in a museum in the November of their senior years. Liza is drawn to Annie’s singing, and so was I. Annie has such a joy about her. She’s always making up stories and acting out characters. It’s a little embarrassing to the more reserved Liza at first, but she soon opens up and begins to participate in Annie’s theatrics. It’s like Liza can be herself with Annie, without worrying about anyone else thinks. Some of my favorite parts of the book are about their adventures as they explore New York City, their friendship growing and then turning into love. They’re completely wrapped up in each other, and I was just as wrapped up in their story. It tells you how it feels to fall in love.

Just after meeting Annie, Liza finds herself facing disciplinary action at school for not turning in a fellow student, Sally Jarrell, who holds an ear piercing clinic (alcohol, ice, thread, needles, and a potato) in the girls’ restroom. Liza attends a conservative private school that’s in danger of closing for financial reasons and the school administration wants to avoid any hint of any kind of scandal while fundraising to try to save the school.

It may seem strange, but Annie on My Mind makes the ear piercing scandal seem fascinating. It also leads to Liza spending more time with Annie, who attends a different school. Annie’s family isn’t a well-off as Liza’s, but they seem happy and Liza likes spending time at their apartment. It’s comfortable and cozy. Liza’s family is, like her school and like Liza herself, more reserved and conservative, but they’re involved in her life, too. Her parents are supportive in her battles with the school administration. When the truth comes out about Liza and Annie’s relationship, their reactions range from denial (her mother) to shock (her father) to confusion (her younger brother). A gay daughter/sister is not something that had ever crossed their minds, so they’re not sure how to deal with it, but you get the sense that they will accept Liza as they should once they get over the initial shock and denial. Annie and Liza don’t live in a vacuum. The discovery of their relationship affects them most of all, but it has an impact on their families as well. Or, at least that’s true in Liza’s case. Annie’s family isn’t a part of the story by this point, but I wish that we knew their reactions, or if they were ever even told.

Published in 1982, Annie on My Mind is slightly dated: there are no cell phones or email, attitudes have changed (though there’s still a long way to go), language has evolved. But at heart, it’s a love story, beautiful and sweet at times and heartbreaking at others, and that transcends time.

Annie on My Mind is one of my favorite books and I hope that everyone who read this review will read it. I’m going to give one US reader a chance to win a copy below.

five stars
addtogoodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LGBT Month April 2014
This review is a part of LGBT month, hosted by Laura Plus Books and Fighting Dreamer.

Jenna

Comments

  1. Awesome review, Jenna! Annie on My Mind is one of those well known LGBTQ novels, and yet I forget about it every time I try and think of such novels to read. I feel I’m doing it a disservice. I’ll definitely read this at some point, if I can rememeber – you make it sound so beautiful! Thanks for the review!
    Jo recently posted…LGBT+ April Discussion: Novels With Intersex CharactersMy Profile

  2. This sounds like such of a lovely story. Annie on My Mind is a novel that I have been wanting to read every since I found out about it on an LGBT Challenge post. You have me especially wanting to read it now with this: “…At heart, it’s a love story, beautiful and sweet at times and heartbreaking at others, and that transcends time.”

    I will certainly be picking Annie on My Mind up soon! Wonderful review 😀
    Lesley Marie recently posted…Review//Something Real by Heather DemetriosMy Profile

  3. Great review and thank you for the giveaway! This book has been on my wishlist for quite a while but I never got around to getting it… your review has convinced me to hurry up and get it!
    Carola recently posted…LGBT Month: Progress and books that have been on my radar…My Profile

  4. Great review! I have been meaning to read this one for ages. Thanks for the giveaway too!!
    Brin Guivera recently posted…Favourite LGBT couplesMy Profile

  5. Aw, this one sounds really good! You can never go wrong with feels. Unless they are like rage feels or something 😉 I’ve never heard of this one at all and looking it up on Goodreads and seeing it was banned makes me even more surprised! I do not believe in banning books but that is a tirade for another time, ha. I’ll keep a lookout for this one, great review, Jenna!
    Alise recently posted…Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly GIVEAWAY #DeepBlueMy Profile

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