Friday, March 27, 2020

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

The book follows Liza Winthrop, a straight-A student at Foster Academy, a conservative private school in 1980's New York City. When Liza goes to the Metropolitan Musuem of Art to study architecture, she runs into Annie Kenyon, a charismatic fun-loving girl from the other side of the city. The two immidietely connect and begin spending lots of time together. However, the two begin developing feelings for each other and struggle to come to terms with what the outside world sees about them and how they feel about each other. When a vicious homophobic assault is launched against the girls after they are caught in intimacy, they struggle to stay connected with each other and their families. However, they gain the assistance of two lesbian teachers who fight to help them live their lives freely and safely. Together, they learn that love will conquer all fear and that allies can be found in the most unexpected places.

I was soooooo happy when I found Annie on my Mind at the library. It's the most iconic piece of lesbian fiction written to date and I was eager to read it. I was also terrified- It's a book writen about lesbians in the 80's, would it be another sad ending? The answer, thank god is no! There is a good portion of angst and a hell of a lot of homophobia, but the ending. It's happy, they are still in love, and all is right with the world. This book tackles issues like identification, rule following, and societal pressure very well. It's an older book, so the setting isnt very modern. I'm happy to report that these charecters have personalites that click while also contrasting. Even though this is a romance novel, the girls have their own personalities and interests and exist without each other in a healthy way. Annie is outgoing and pushes Liza to have fun while Liza is the levelheaded protector of the two. All in all, a very good read. I would definately recommend this book to others, especially gay women who just want a happy ending.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Cerulean by Amy Ewing

Sera belongs to the Cerulean, a mystical group of women that reside in the City Above the Sky,a floating island that is tethered to each planet it chooses to connect too. The Cerulean have magical blood, blue hair, and silver skin. Their society is entirely matriarchal without any males existing on the island and their island is controlled by a deity- Mother Sun, who is said to be the protector of all Cerulean. When Sera is chosen to sacrifice herself to the tether so that the Cerulean may move to another planet, she throws herself off the island. But the sacrifice goes wrong and she survives, falling to the planet below her and being captured by one of the richest families in Kaolin, a deeply patriarchal soceity for a mystical creatures show. With the help of mystical creatures and the children of her captor, she escapes and seeks her way back to the tether in order to help the Cerulean move. Meanwhile, back in the city, one of Sera's mothers and her best friend seek to uncover the truth about her death and realize that the government of the Cerulean is hiding some dark secrets.

I first picked up this book because I recognized the author, Amy Ewing, who wrote one of my favorite series, The Jewel (10/10 would recommend-but to a mature audiance for depictions of violence and sexuality). I had high hopes for this book, but I was rather dissapointed.
1. The casual lesbian representation was on point!! Women got married in threes to have children and there were lots of general descriptions of lesbianism on the island. Even one of the main charecters down on the planet was a lesbian. This made me super happy. However, the main charecter comes to the realization that she likes boys when she falls to earth and sees a boy for the first time. I have nothing against boyxgirl romance, but THERE WAS NO CHEMISTRY. There was nothing in common between the two, no interests, conversations, moments, NOTHING, aside from some vague sexual desire which could have only been curiousity about males in general. Meanwhile, she was very emotionally intimate with her best friend Leena, and they have a history and inside jokes and a connection and. . . you get my point.
2. The world-building down on the planet was not very good. I had a hard time knowing where the charecters were at any given moment and the societal descriptions of Pelago were basically non existant. There was no explanation on the great fued between Kaolin and Pelago. The general soceital structure of Kaolin was only briefely introduced and not clearly explained.
All in all, a meh book- good fantasy, but the boyxgirl romance was very badly done.

Reviewed by Claire Skye, Grade 9
Glendale Central Library