Nancy Garden – Annie on My Mind


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.

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.

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

This book would be best read with a coke.


2 thoughts on “Nancy Garden – Annie on My Mind

  1. This is another one I’ve been meaning to read, but I’m so behind on my lesbian/queer fiction and I have a ton I already own and still haven’t read D;


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s