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Karen's Young Adult Book Reviews
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Annie on My Mind/The Curious Incident of the Dog....


Annie on My Mind


Liza meets someone she admires. Most of the time, she is alone. She has to deal with the issue of how she feels about Annie. She is attracted to Annie and feels it is not real. Eventually, Annie reveals she feels the same, and they both have to decide what to do. At first they just touch and kiss. Liza attends a very conservative school and when she and Annie are caught lovemaking in her lesbian teachers house, she is taken before the school board to remove her from her position as student council president. Liza feels ashamed, guilty, and confused, especially after the two teachers are suspended because the school feels they have made a wrongful impression upon the students. Liza eventually goes away to school and does not answer Annie's attempts by letter to contact her. She has to make a decision to submit to the guilt and the feelings that she has that homosexuality is wrong or most importantly does she care what others think or how she feels about Annie.


Garden's depiction of a teen-age homosexual affair would be a very controversial issue. An issue that any parent would not want their children involved in.  This book gives insight to the reader as to how feelings can blossom between the same sex. The characters are believable and the love between them is depicted as real. The way that they have to justify their love confuses them because of what they feel and what others think. Garden's writing causes the reader to feel compassion on the two characters and outrage at others who judge their love as wrong and shameful. She definitely captures and keeps the readers attention by the suspense in finding out how Liza and Annie will face their feelings, Liza’s school, their families, and their life.


This is one book that was beautiful and touching and was highly rated by teen readers.  They believed the characters were likeable presented as real teen girls who just happened to fall in love with the same sex. They also noted that the tension created was enough to keep you reading (



Nancy Garden. 1992. Annie on My Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.


                                                                   Sources Book Reviews.


Book Reviews,  Accessed June 25, 2005.



The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time


Christopher has autism and is unable to understand like others. He finds his neighbor’s dog dead. His mother has died, according to his father. His attends a special school and is in the process of studying for his A level math test. His teacher encourages him to write a book. He feels that finding out who murdered the dog would be a good detective story and an excellent topic for his book. His dad and neighbors discourage him from asking questions, but he is determined anyway. His father takes his book away from him and disposes of it in the trash can. When Christopher attempts to retrieve it, the book is no longer there. He thinks his father has hidden the book and is determined to find it. He eventually did find the book along with letters from his mother. He finds out that his father has lied to him and his mother is alive. His father also admits he has killed the neighbor’s dog because he was mad at her for dumping him. He becomes extremely frightened of his father and makes an attempt to find his mother. Because he has such a photographic memory, he does eventually find his mother. He has to slowly learn to trust his father again after he and his mother return from London.


Haddon presents a very emotional approach in this novel. He depiction of an autistic child and his inability to cope without others and the outcome of the story give readers a hope that children may be able to cope and survive better than you may think. The realism in the story has readers filled with compassion for Christopher. It is sometimes sad and sometimes funny. Haddon keeps the reader in suspense about what will happen to Christopher and will he reach his mother.


One reader states that “Haddon has taken an original idea and executed it superbly. It should go down well with geeky teenagers, but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a "cross-over" book which will also appeal to adults (

New York book reviewer Jay McInerney comments that “Haddon manages to bring us deep inside Christopher's mind and situates us comfortably within his limited, severely logical point of view, to the extent that we begin to question the common sense and the erratic emotionalism of the normal citizens who surround him, as well as our own intuitions and habits of perception (

A teen reader comments that “Mark Haddon’s novel was something you just cannot put down until you turn the very last page. It’s a fast-paced plot, with twists and unexpected turns that keep you wanting to read on and on about Christopher’s journey toward realizing the truth about himself and those around him” (

Haddon, Mark. 2003.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. New York: Doubleday.


                                                         Sources Book Reviews.


Lee, Stephanie. 2005.  Book Reviews. L.A. Youth Book Club.  Accessed June 25, 2005.


McInerney, Mark. 2003. The Remains of the Dog.The New York Times Book Review Desk.  Accessed June 23, 2005.

Created by K. Braswell for LS5623 at Texas Woman's University.