Nancy Garden, Annie on My Mind
The first YA novel to address homosexuality in honest terms
This groundbreaking 1982 YA novel was the first to address gay love in honest terms, without sensationalizing or punishing its sympathetic, well-drawn characters. Unsurprisingly, it has been the target of school censors and book-banners, though it has remained in print since its initial run. Annie on My Mind tells the story of Liza Winthrop, a prep school senior and aspiring architect, who by chance meets Annie Kenyon, a working-class girl of the same age, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their connection is undeniable, and the girls begin a deep friendship that soon evolves into love. Naturally, there are multiple obstacles in their path, including most of the adults in their lives, and Annie and Liza must decide how to reconcile their relationship with the expectations of others. Told alternately through a third-person narration and Liza’s unfinished letters to Annie, Garden’s romance is tear-jerkingly poignant and an ever-relevant argument, in the age of It Gets Better, for sexual tolerance.