Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟.5
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.
This is apparently a lesbian classic – yet I had no idea it existed until I saw the reprint on netgalley and requested it. I have many thoughts and many conflicting thoughts for this book. Just bear in mind that this is a sort of classic -written in the 80s I think- while I reach the conflict part.
First of, I will talk about the good. And, man where there good parts. The premise of two teenage girls falling in love and discovering themselves is good enough on its own, one would argue and I would agree. It was so damn CUTE!
Liza met Annie in a museum???? And they bonded over art????? And they spend every waking hour together, holding hands and sharing everything with one another??
Ok, I’ll stop with the question marks.
Seriously their relationship was so fluffy and cute and the definition of s o f t. I appreciated how there was so much emphasis on love; and it discussed love in comparison to homophobia and the rhetoric of the time. And that leads me to the conflict:
It was too much. I literally had to put the book down because I couldn’t bear it. The things that were said against Liza and Annie, as well as their teachers, it all made me want to vomit.
I know it is true, and I know that this is how things were -are. Still it was so hard to read the words on paper, feel the hatred the society had towards something so pure as love. And I’ve got to say, it hindered my experience of an otherwise veeeery cute and heart warming contemporary.
This is where the classic factor comes in– it was written quite early and wanted to show to the audience that even though there will be difficulties and people will come for them, they should not get intimidated.
The thing is that reading it now, when things have changed (unfortunately not nearly as much as they should have) was a punch in the chest. It made me feel insecure and afraid, which is not the best.
General Thoughts: Annie on my Mind is a contemporary novel navigating the lives of two teenagers, Liza and Annie, as they fall in love and try to protect their relationship despite the difficulties.
TRIGGER WARNING: Intense homophobia. If you are someone easily triggered then I would recommend you give this book a pass.
I received this e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.