1982 book by Nancy Garden
, written primarilly for young adults but enjoyable by people of all ages. Annie on My Mind
is a classic of homosexual romance fiction, controversial because it targets the same audience as Judy Blume
, the book has been banned many times and was even the victim of a book burning party in Kansas City.
The novel neatly follows the standard formula of "How I found out I was a lesbian" fiction. Two girls are succesful at school (at least one in a non-academic way) but don't really fit in with their peers, they meet and become best friends, fall in love (with a full chapter devoted to the first kiss), then the world finds out, they are forced apart from eachother, but in the last chapter find the strength to get back together in spite of all the adversity. Annie on My Mind probably wasn't the first to follow this format, but it was one of the first, and it is one of the best.
Liza Winthrop is the protagonist (and sometimes narrator), her lover is Annie Kenyon (the books namesake) and the antagonist is Mrs. Poindexter, the well-intentioned but old-fashioned schoolmaster of Liza's anachronistic private school in Brooklyn Heights. The book plays up the romantic cliches of New York City, but is also realistic about the city's less appealing qualities. It's hard not to like the characters, especially Annie and Liza, and it's not hard to understand where everyone is coming from, whatever side of the conflict they are on.
Well-written but not terribly gripping or inventive, Annie on My Mind is mostly of interest to young people who are unsure of their own sexuality or of how to deal with the sexuality of their friends or family. It's also a good romance novel for people who don't like romance novels. It's been my experience that most people who've read a bit of young adult gay fiction almost always put this towards top of their list.