Garden, N. (1982). Annie on my mind. NY: FSG.
The story is told from Liza’s remembrances of her growing relationship with Annie. They meet at a museum and have a sword fight of sorts before partaking in other silly activities – but hiding behind the silliness, the foundation of a meaningful, trusting friendship is being built. However, their bond intensifies at a rapid pace, and they are found in an indelicate position while cat sitting for Liza’s teachers. Although the girls are not found to be at fault for anything – according to Liza’s school board – her teachers are fired for influencing Liza in her sexual preferences. Liza struggles with deciding if she should continue her relationship with Annie because of causing harm to the two teachers. Liza is finally honest with herself and admits that she is gay and that she truly loves Annie. In the end the girls are working things out and plan to get back together. Nancy Garden’s writing felt so honest in this novel. Sure, a kid nowadays probably would have a smartphone to look up the definition of homosexuality and a laptop to find gay role models, but Liza’s confusion and her budding relationship with Annie all came across as sincere. Garden did not turn Liza and Annie into martyrs; she gave them dreams and desires, just like everyone else. I would recommend this novel to kids 9th grade and up.