~ Warning! Minor Spoilers! Book Review: Annie on My Mind by – Nancy Garden ~

REVIEW

I was looking at a list of banned books online, and this title, Annie on My Mind, popped up. It caught my eye, especially due to the events following its publication. Completing Annie on My Mind feels a little like having read a historical book of sorts. I highly recommend it. According to Goodreads, this book was first published in 1982, and the situations which occurred is still very relevant and true to today’s world/ society.

Here is a quick synopsis. Annie and Liza meet for the first time at a museum and a special bond develops between these two high school students living in New York. Soon, their friendship turns into something more romantic and intimate, but when Liza’s school catches wind of their relationship…  

Towards the end, when shit hits the fan, I could not put Annie on My Mind down. I was so invested in their growth and relationship; I was scared and worried for them. It broke my heart how little support they received, especially Liza since it was her school that outed her. I also felt awful for Ms. Stevenson and Ms. Widmer. Furthermore, I was so mad at the headmistress; a lot of her actions with student council felt like an abuse of power.

The main romance is gentle and slow. It feels authentic and nice, but as a heavy romance reader, there were moments I wished for more chemistry or banter. However, the biggest takeaway was how the author focused on both girls knowing they genuinely loved each other. It was the sweetest type of young and innocent first love, even if the world had to go and practically ruin it. Annie and Liza internalize so much pain because of their love for one another – it hurt me. The story repeated that their love was true, and it would be fine as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else. Yet, when faculty, students, and parents were getting upset and young Liza and Annie had to take that all in – I felt the stab.

The ending was good; I liked the phone call. To all the real-world Annie and Liza, I wish you all the best. This was such a powerful novel for its time and even now. I also appreciated the tour of New York along with the small discussions of social economic status plus public versus private education. 4/5