Annie on My Mind
Goodreads ratings
3.99 / 5

"Annie on My Mind" Summary

By Nancy Garden

lgbt | 234 pages | Published in NaN

This groundbreaking book 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. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City. Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

Two teenage girls fall in love and face discrimination in this groundbreaking LGBTQ+ novel.


"Annie on My Mind" by Nancy Garden is a groundbreaking young adult novel that explores the themes of love, identity, and acceptance. First published in 1982, the book has become a classic in LGBTQ+ literature, resonating with readers of all ages. Set in New York City, the story follows the relationship between two teenage girls, Annie and Liza, as they navigate the complexities of their feelings for each other in a society that often struggles to understand and accept their love.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

"Annie on My Mind" is set in the vibrant and diverse city of New York. The novel opens with the protagonist, Liza Winthrop, a high school senior at Foster Academy, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is here that she meets Annie Kenyon, a girl from a different school. The story unfolds as Liza and Annie develop a deep and meaningful relationship, while also facing the challenges and prejudices that come with being in a same-sex relationship in the 1980s.

Main Events

Chapters 1-5:

  • Liza and Annie meet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and their friendship quickly develops into a deep emotional connection. They navigate the complexities of their feelings for each other while also dealing with the expectations of their families and society.

Chapters 6-10:

  • Liza and Annie attend a dance together, where they share a kiss. This moment solidifies their romantic relationship, but it also leads to a series of events that challenge their love and their identities.

Chapters 11-15:

  • The girls' relationship becomes public knowledge, leading to backlash from their families, friends, and the school administration. They face discrimination and prejudice, and the threat of being separated becomes a looming reality.

Chapters 16-20:

  • Liza and Annie find solace and support in their growing community of allies and friends. They also find the strength to fight for their love and their right to be together, despite the obstacles they face.

Chapters 21-25:

  • The novel builds towards a powerful climax as Liza and Annie confront the prejudice and discrimination they have endured. They find the courage to stand up for their love and for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

Main Characters

Liza WinthropThe protagonist of the story, a high school senior at Foster Academy. Liza is introspective, artistic, and compassionate. She grapples with her feelings for Annie and the challenges of being in a same-sex relationship.
Annie KenyonA charismatic and free-spirited girl who captures Liza's heart. Annie is confident, caring, and unapologetically herself. She encourages Liza to embrace her identity and their love, despite the obstacles they face.

Themes and Insights

Love and Acceptance

The novel delves into the deep and profound love between Liza and Annie, highlighting the universal themes of love and acceptance. It explores the emotional and psychological impact of societal expectations and prejudices on individuals who defy traditional norms in matters of the heart.

Identity and Self-Discovery

Liza's journey towards self-discovery and embracing her identity is a central theme of the novel. It portrays the challenges and triumphs of coming to terms with one's true self, especially in the face of societal pressures and norms.

Prejudice and Discrimination

"Annie on My Mind" confronts the harsh realities of prejudice and discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ individuals. It sheds light on the impact of societal judgment and discrimination on personal relationships and emotional well-being.

Friendship and Community

The novel also celebrates the power of friendship and community in providing support and understanding. Liza and Annie find strength in their growing circle of allies, highlighting the importance of solidarity in the face of adversity.

Reader's Takeaway

"Annie on My Mind" offers readers a poignant and powerful portrayal of love, identity, and the human spirit. It serves as a reminder of the enduring strength of love and the resilience of the human heart in the face of adversity. The novel inspires readers to embrace their true selves and stand up for love and acceptance, while also fostering empathy and understanding for those whose experiences may differ from their own.


In conclusion, "Annie on My Mind" by Nancy Garden is a timeless and compelling novel that continues to resonate with readers due to its raw and honest portrayal of love and identity. Through Liza and Annie's journey, the novel invites readers to reflect on their own beliefs and values, while also championing the universal themes of love, acceptance, and the pursuit of happiness. With its enduring relevance and emotional impact, "Annie on My Mind" remains a seminal work in LGBTQ+ literature, leaving a lasting impression on all who encounter its story.

Annie on My Mind FAQ

  1. What is 'Annie on My Mind' about?

    Annie on My Mind is a young adult novel about two teenage girls, Liza and Annie, who fall in love and navigate the challenges of their relationship in a society that is not fully accepting of their love.

  2. Who is the author of 'Annie on My Mind'?

    The author of 'Annie on My Mind' is Nancy Garden, a prominent writer of young adult fiction with a focus on LGBTQ+ themes.

  3. Is 'Annie on My Mind' suitable for young readers?

    Yes, 'Annie on My Mind' is suitable for young readers, particularly those interested in LGBTQ+ literature and stories of young love and self-discovery.

  4. What themes are explored in 'Annie on My Mind'?

    The novel explores themes of love, identity, acceptance, and the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in a society that may not fully embrace their relationships.

  5. Is 'Annie on My Mind' a banned book?

    Yes, 'Annie on My Mind' has faced challenges and attempts at censorship in some school districts due to its LGBTQ+ content, but it has also been celebrated for its representation and impact on readers.