Goodreads ratings
3.76 / 5

"Annabel" Summary

By Lauren Oliver

young adult | 35 pages | Published in 2012

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium.Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A haunting and emotional tale of a child born with both male and female characteristics, navigating the complexities of identity and acceptance.


"Annabel" is a captivating novel written by Lauren Oliver. This thought-provoking book explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and the power of love. With its compelling storyline and well-developed characters, "Annabel" takes readers on an emotional journey through the life of the main character, Annabel Greene.

Brief Synopsis

The story of "Annabel" is set in a small town called Jenkinsville, where Annabel Greene is born into a family overshadowed by secrets and misfortune. The town is known for its strict social norms and expectations, which greatly impacts Annabel's life. Annabel's parents struggle with their own issues, and her father's alcoholism adds to the family's turmoil.

Annabel's life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Owen Armstrong, a boy who helps her find her voice and embrace her true self. Together, they navigate the challenges of adolescence and the complexities of their personal lives. As their relationship deepens, Annabel discovers her own strengths and learns to confront the secrets that have haunted her family for years.

Main Characters

Annabel GreeneThe protagonist of the story, Annabel is a young girl struggling to find her true identity in a judgmental society. She is quiet, observant, and has a passion for photography.
Owen ArmstrongOwen is a rebellious and confident boy who becomes Annabel's love interest. He encourages her to break free from societal expectations and embrace her authentic self.
Annabel's ParentsAnnabel's parents play a significant role in shaping her life. Her mother, a former beauty queen, is obsessed with maintaining appearances, while her father battles alcoholism.

Summary of Different Story Points

Chapters 1-5: Introduction to Annabel's Life and Struggles

In the early chapters, we are introduced to Annabel's life and her struggles with her family's secrets and the pressures of conforming to societal expectations. We learn about her passion for photography and her desire to break free from the constraints of her small town.

Chapters 6-10: Annabel's Encounter with Owen

Annabel meets Owen Armstrong, a charismatic and rebellious boy who challenges her to question the status quo. Owen encourages Annabel to explore her passions and embrace her individuality. Their friendship blossoms into a deep connection, providing Annabel with a newfound sense of freedom and self-expression.

Chapters 11-15: Uncovering Family Secrets

As Annabel's relationship with Owen strengthens, she begins to unravel the secrets that have plagued her family for years. She uncovers the truth about her father's alcoholism and the impact it has had on her family's dynamics. Annabel must confront these painful truths and find a way to reconcile with her past.

Chapters 16-20: Rediscovering Identity

Through her experiences with Owen and her exploration of photography, Annabel begins to rediscover her true identity. She learns to embrace her passions, confront her fears, and stand up for herself. Annabel's journey of self-discovery is fraught with challenges, but she emerges stronger and more confident.

Main Events

  1. Annabel meets Owen Armstrong, who becomes a significant influence in her life.
  2. Annabel uncovers the truth about her father's alcoholism and its impact on her family.
  3. Annabel confronts her mother's obsession with appearances and societal expectations.
  4. Annabel embraces her passion for photography and finds her voice through her art.
  5. Annabel learns to confront her fears and stand up for herself, ultimately breaking free from the constraints of her small town.

Themes and Insights

"Annabel" explores various themes that resonate with readers. Some of the key themes include:

  1. Identity and Self-Discovery: The novel delves into the journey of self-discovery and the search for one's true identity. Annabel's struggles and growth serve as a reminder that embracing one's authentic self is a powerful and transformative experience.
  2. Conformity and Societal Expectations: The book highlights the pressure to conform to societal expectations and the toll it takes on individuals. It encourages readers to question these norms and find the courage to chart their own path.
  3. Family Dynamics and Secrets: "Annabel" explores the impact of family secrets and the complexities of relationships within a family. It emphasizes the importance of open communication and the consequences of burying painful truths.
  4. The Power of Love and Friendship: The novel portrays the transformative power of love and friendship. The relationship between Annabel and Owen serves as a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment.

Reader's Takeaway

"Annabel" is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that explores the themes of identity, self-discovery, and the power of love. Through Annabel's journey, readers are reminded of the importance of embracing one's true self, challenging societal expectations, and finding the strength to confront painful truths. This book serves as a powerful reminder that our true identity lies within us, waiting to be discovered.


Lauren Oliver's "Annabel" is a beautifully written novel that captures the complexities of adolescence and the search for identity. With its well-developed characters and compelling storyline, this book offers readers an emotional and inspiring journey. "Annabel" reminds us of the power of self-discovery and the importance of embracing our true selves, despite the pressures of society.

Annabel FAQ

  1. What is the genre of Annabel?

    The genre of Annabel is young adult fiction.

  2. Who is the author of Annabel?

    The author of Annabel is Lauren Oliver.

  3. What is the main plot of Annabel?

    Annabel is a prequel novella to the Delirium series, focusing on the character Annabel, who is Lena's mother.

  4. Do I need to read the Delirium series before reading Annabel?

    It is recommended to read the Delirium series before reading Annabel to fully understand the background and context of the story.

  5. How many pages does Annabel have?

    Annabel has approximately 50 pages.

  6. Where can I purchase a copy of Annabel?

    You can purchase a copy of Annabel from bookstores, online retailers, or as an e-book.

  7. Is Annabel suitable for young readers?

    Annabel is suitable for young adult readers, but may contain mature themes and content.

  8. Are there any sequels to Annabel?

    No, Annabel is a standalone novella and does not have any direct sequels.

  9. Is Annabel part of a series?

    Annabel is part of the Delirium series, serving as a prequel to the main trilogy.

  10. Can I read Annabel as a standalone book?

    While Annabel can be read as a standalone, it is recommended to read the entire Delirium series for a complete understanding of the story.