Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Annie on My Mind is about young lesbians in 1990's NYC, figuring out who they are and what they want. It's a stressful read for me because of how well it captures the bigoted (usually christian) language thrown at both girls, but it's worth it.

The story is told by Liza, looking through her letters from Annie and telling the reader what happened last school year. I wasn't a fan of how it flipped between first and third person, but most of the story is Liza's person narration of the main story and this small quibble doesn't detract from the book in a meaningful way.

I'm glad this book exists, I'm glad it's there for young queer kids (especially but not limited to lesbians) to find and read. It's a strange mix of honest and hopeful, because it doesn't hide the fact that people suck sometimes and that people who've assumed you're straight may react very badly to finding out that they were wrong.

Keeping this free of spoilers, I feel that it's important to say that while it depicts homophobia it doesn't let that be the final word in the book. It is ultimately hopeful, and part of that is that it didn't shy away from depicting darkness.

Annie and Liza are really sweet, and they feel like high-schoolers, sure of some things and starting to realize how many other things they don't know. There's a lot of hesitation over whether they'll use certain words for themselves and for their relationship, in a way that felt familiar to me. I thought again about the importance of having self-descriptors, and how much it's completely different to have the words for oneself than to have them thrown at you.

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Two girls hold hands across a small table and press their foreheads together with their eyes closed


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