Annie on My Mind | Nancy Garden

A smart New York teenager discovers her sexuality—and inadvertently becomes the center of a controversy at school—in this romantic lesbian love story.

Awards & Honors

• YALSA 100 Best Books, 1950-2000

Booktalk

“En garde! Stand and fight or I’ll run you through!” Annie threatens, brandishing a sword.

“You will not live to tell the tale of this day’s battle!” retorts Liza.

Is it the middle ages? Is it a play? It’s the first meeting of high school seniors Annie and Liza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Liza is an aspiring architect and student council president at her private school in Brooklyn, while Annie is a talented singer who lives in Manhattan with her father and grandmother. Together they explore their imaginations and discover the magic of New York. When their friendship becomes something more, it’s scary and exciting. But neither girl is prepared for what happens next in Annie on My Mind.

Garden, Nancy. Annie on My Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982.

April 29, 2009. Tags: , , . Classics, GLBT. Leave a comment.

Forever | Judy Blume

In this groundbreaking story of first love and sexual exploration, high school seniors Katherine and Michael promise to love each other forever. That’s a long time when you’re 17.

Awards & Honors

• ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults, 1996

Review

“You’re delicious,” Michael tells Katherine after their first kiss. No boy had ever told me that, thinks Katherine. Her relationship with Michael is one of many firsts. Katherine has never experienced such intense feelings, and she wants to be with Michael all the time. Still, she knows she should wait until she’s ready to have sex with him—and when she is ready, she’s determined to be responsible about it. But Katherine’s parents think the relationship is too serious. Can she and Michael survive a summer apart?

Judy Blume’s controversial novel, crafted with straightforward language and not a hint of judgment, was one of the first YA titles to depict a sexual relationship between teenagers that doesn’t end in pregnancy, tragedy, or total humiliation. Though its explicit nature may be inappropriate for some younger teens, that same honesty is exactly what makes Forever so valuable.

Blume, Judy. Forever. Englewood Cliffs: Bradbury Press, 1975.

April 7, 2009. Tags: , . Classics. Leave a comment.

The Outsiders | S.E. Hinton

Ponyboy and his friends are Greasers, tough kids from the poor side of town who try to stay out of trouble as best as they can. But it isn’t easy with the rich, preppy Socs always harassing them—and when Ponyboy’s involved in a deadly fight, his whole world begins to change.

Awards & Honors

• New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, 1967
• Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book, 1967
• Media and Methods Maxi Award, 1975
• ALA Best Young Adult Books, 1975
• Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1979

Review

Life isn’t simple for Ponyboy Curtis. His parents were killed in a car crash, and now he and his brothers have to prove they’re responsible enough to stay together as a family. Darry, the oldest, has lost his spark since becoming man of the house, and Sodapop has dropped out of school. Fourteen-year-old Ponyboy likes movies and books—interests his brothers just can’t understand—and is the youngest member of their gang of greasers. One night, Ponyboy and his friend Johnny get to know the girlfriends of two rival gang members, and it’s not long before the violence between the groups spirals out of control.

Written when the author was still in her teens, this YA classic speaks to its audience from an authentic insider’s point of view. The sense of loyalty between Ponyboy, his brothers, and the rest of the gang is palpable and real. A dramatic story of friendship and choices, The Outsiders remains relevant decades after its first publication.

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. New York: Viking Children’s, 1967.

April 5, 2009. Tags: , , . Classics. Leave a comment.