Nancy Garden – Annie on My Mind

Annie

The groundbreaking book, first published in 1982, 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.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.

REVIEW
Annie on My Mind is a beautiful love story about a friendship that blooms into love for two young women who are from different sides of the track. Liza attends a private high school and comes from a white-collar family, and Annie attends a public school and comes from a lower-income part of town. They’re both bright and accomplished teenagers: Liza, who is applying for MIT to study architecture and Annie, a talented singer who dreams of being accepted into the music program at UC Berkeley. The connection that they feel is immediate, and it grows as they spend more time with each other.

This is a deeply introspective and well-written coming-of-age novel. Truly an extraordinary work from both a historical and literary standpoint. Dare, I say, its significance to American culture rivals Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird? Annie on My Mind was published in 1982. I read this novel for the first time as a high school student in 1999, then again as an adult in 2016. Over the years, the story has not lost its beauty, its meaning, or even its relevance in today’s society. Looking at current statistics of teenagers who have become homeless after coming out to their families, you’ll agree that this book still has a very important place in our library shelves. Even as our society continues to progress, Annie on My Mind will be our reminder of where we were before, where we are today, and where we need to be tomorrow.

Annie on My Mind is the first gay/lesbian novel that I read, and it was during a very significant time in my life.

Since I can remember, I’ve always gravitated towards women. 4-year-old me used to hide behind my mother’s skirt when we went to our local grocery store because I thought the cashier was attractive. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I felt brave enough to openly admit those feelings. It was a frightening experience for me. I never felt as alone and isolated as I did after I came out to my parents. Even now, it’s difficult for me to talk about how my mother reacted and the irreparable damage it’s done to our relationship.

I was fortunate enough to have a teacher at my high school who put this book in my hand and told me that everything was going to be okay. Annie on My Mind helped me feel like I was a normal kid, and that I wasn’t some evil, Godless soul doomed to spend an eternity burning in hell for following my heart. It’s amazing how a $6.95 paperback novel can change your perspective and change your life. I’ve been writing reviews on this site for this reason. In my own way, I want to pay it forward. Even if it only reaches one person and helps him/her feel less alone in this terrifyingly brave process of coming out, then it would make every minute that I spent working on this website worth the time and effort. Our world deserves more love. We all deserve more love.

And everything is going to be okay. Promise.

SOUNDTRACK
1. Great Good Fine Ok – Say It All
2. Citizen Cope – One Lovely Day
3. Little Brutes – Make Our Own Way
4. Betty Who – You’re in Love
5. Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm
6. Jesse Rubin – This Is Why I Need You
7. Chelsea Lankes – Secret
8. Emily King – Distance
9. David Gray – Back in the World
10. Christina Perri & Ed Sheeran – Be My Forever

CHEERS!
This book would be best read with a coke.

Georgia Beers – A Little Bit of Spice

Spice.jpg

Andrea Blake’s life has order. Everything is meticulously laid out and planned, from her house in its quiet neighborhood to her career path at Hagan’s, the largest supermarket chain in the Northeast. Andrea knows what she wants. 

Enter Kendall Foster, the distractingly attractive woman in charge of sales for her family’s local microbrewery, and somebody who wants very much to get her beer into Hagan’s shelves. A decision that happens to be Andrea’s.

The physical attraction is immediate and hard to resist, but Andrea doesn’t need a complication like Kendall in her life, not when she’s rocketing toward predictable security. But Kendall is fun. And smart. And oh-so-sexy. Can she convince Andrea that her rather flat, flavorless life could be way better with just a little bit of spice?

REVIEW
“But there was also a very large independent streak in Andrea’s soul. She wasn’t quite sure of where it had come from, but she relished in it, held tightly to it, and guarded it with everything she had. Losing herself in somebody else was not in her plan. She did not want to be one of those women who looked to her significant other before answering a question. One of those people who couldn’t make plans without consulting another person. She liked being in charge of herself, of her life, having to answer to nobody. She was the only person she wanted to be in control of her world.”

Girl, I totally understand where you’re coming from.

A Little Bit of Spice made me squirm a little, but in a good way. Andrea may be my long-lost literary twin. My sister from another mister. My imaginary doppelganger. But really, I think that the sentiment expressed is something that everyone can identify with in one aspect of their life or another. I don’t believe that any of us enjoy the feeling of losing control or becoming an accessory to their partner in any relationship. But isn’t it so easy…  almost too easy, to lose parts of yourself when you’re head over heels in love? Andrea keeps everyone in her life (close family included) at an arm’s-length distance, but Kendall proves to be too hard for her to resist. It’s an interesting dynamic between the two main characters. Andrea is in a position of power, as she is the ultimate decision-maker on Kendall’s sales bid, but she’s powerless to the attraction that she feels towards Kendall. What a conundrum… And add beer to that equation. Yeah, these two definitely don’t have a prayer.

You know what I’m really diggin? These cameos that lesbian authors are putting in their books. Melissa Brayden, MJ Duncan and Georgia Beers… They all do it, and it makes my heart happy because it feels like the stories they’ve created never really end after the last page. My recommendation is that after finishing A Little Bit of Spice, read the next one she wrote, Rescued Heart.

When I picked up A Little Bit of Spice, I knew it would be a long, sleepless night for me. Georgia Beers never lets me down. I really enjoyed reading it. I’ve read five of her books, and I’ve become more familiar with her style after finishing each one. The prototype that she uses to build her main characters: gorgeous, strong, independent, athletic, smart, and capable… This is who we lesbians in real life refer to as our “unicorn”. The unicorns in Georgia Beers’ stories take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get together. Seriously, I’m in agony for half the novel. Be ready for a slow burning fire that bursts into a raging fireball in the end. And careful…. Your literary eyebrows might even get singed.

SOUNDTRACK
1. Musiq Soulchild – Just Friends (Sunny)
2. Yuna feat. Usher – Crush
3. Miguel – Adorn
4. Mandalay – Beautiful
5. Goapele – Closer
6. John Legend – Ordinary People
8. Lori Carson & Paul Haslinger – I Want To Believe
8. Maxwell – This Woman’s Work
9. Mandalay – No Reality
10. Sade – By Your Side

CHEERS!
This book would be best served with….

LINDEMANS FRAMBOISE LAMBIC

**Sneak Peek**

“Losing herself in somebody else was not in her plan. She did not want to be one of those women who looked to her significant other before answering a question. One of those people who couldn’t make plans without consulting another person. She liked being in charge of herself, of her life, having to answer to nobody. She was the only person she wanted to be in control of her world.”