Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 949
takes a boatload of emotions and makes them easily digestible
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
WHAT I LOVED:
It’s honestly easier to begin with what readers won’t get from Without Annette so they can adjust their expectations. If they want a happy ending for Annette and Josie and/or a bisexual narrator, they aren’t going to find what they’re looking for. I’d even say the book is as sad as the cover looks: pretty darn sad. Without Annette is focused on the sad reality of how two people in a relationship can grow apart from one another, especially when surrounded by new people in a new place.

Josie is entirely comfortable in her identity as a lesbian girl, which is nice even in a book that’s about the slow, unstoppable decay of her relationship with her first love/best friend Annette. Though her friend Penn’s confession of feelings for her shake Josie up a bit, is entirely certain of her identity. If you’ve ever been confessed to by someone whose gender you aren’t attracted to, you’ll relate to Josie!

But there’s still so much more the book is about! Ultimately, it’s about how Josie grows–wait for it–without Annette as well as the friendships she makes at her fancy new boarding school with people like her roommate Roxanne, Penn, and some of Penn’s other guy friends. Coming from a small Minnesota town where she and Annette were pretty much the only queer girls, so much of her life has been tied to Annette that Josie is bereft of her sense of self once Annette drifts toward a group of popular girls and decides she and Josie have to hide their relationship.

So yes, Josie grows into a new person–and so does Annette as she enters a downward spiral that sees her drink to excess just like her abusive mother and become bulimic. If seeing Josie rise up as Annette falls isn’t enough to make you sad, dorm mother hen Lola No comforting Josie toward the end of the book is sure to make you cry.

WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
Without Annette is a strong novel on its own merits, but it might have been further strengthened if made a dual POV book split by Josie and Annette. Annette’s head is an impenetrable place from Josie’s point of view. To see Annette’s downward spiral and experience her complicated feelings for Josie from her own point of view might have turned this heart-wrenching book into one that actually tore your heart from your chest.

Additionally, more page time and development for Annette, Becca, and their group of Soleets (essentially the popular crowd) was necessary. One character named Marina offers tantalizing tidbits about her difficult life situation, but we get more about her life than we get of her. If it meant getting more complex characters, I’d happily sacrifice the book’s mystery subplot regarding a shrunken head and a dead kid from decades ago!

FINAL VERDICT:
Without Annette takes a boatload of difficult emotions and makes them easily digestible. Though set in a boarding school for high school students, teens soon to start or newly in college away from home will also relate to Josie’s struggle to define herself. Having a book like this my freshman year of college could have done so much to help me settle in and change my experience!
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Imber (Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The locks are failing. The...
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo...
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in...
The Big Game
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super...
Race to the Sun
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect...
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisonment, hunger strikes, suffrajitsu — the decades-long fight for women’s...
Catherine's War
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that...
Dangerous Alliance
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older...
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are on rival little league...
The Fountains of Silence
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco...
Dinosnores (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Honk SHOOOOOO! Honk SHOOOOOO! . . .” ...
Good Day, Good Night
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Now in a sturdy board book format, perfect for little...
TBH, This May Be TMI (TBH, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Told entirely in text messages, the second book in this...
Creep
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
The haunting tale of a family that moves into...
Girl at Heart
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher,...
The Last of the Firedrakes
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She never felt like she belonged…until magic pulled her...

Latest Member Reviews

Roll With It
 
5.0
"Ellie and her mother live in Nashville; her father left when she was young and has another family. Ellie loves..."
From the Desk of Zoe Washington
 
4.0
"Zoe lives in Boston with her mother and stepfather. Her best friend, Trevor, lives next door, but as summer starts,..."
Race to the Sun
 
5.0
"Nizhoni Begay struggles a bit. She manages to embarrass herself on the basketball court, watches out for her younger brother..."
That's What Friends Do
 
4.0
"Sammie and David have been good friends ever since the girls in her class started avoiding Sammie because she didn't..."
Catherine's War
 
5.0
"Catherine is living at the Sèvres Children's Home since both of her parents were taken. It has a progessive school,..."
Speed Demon
 
5.0
"Tim has recently moved to town and is starting ninth grade at Hilton Prep. During gym class one day, his..."
Dangerous Alliance
 
3.7
"Lady Victoria 'Vicky' Aston has a good life. Her older sister is married to a charming Viscount; her family estate..."
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
"Gina and Stacy are twins who play for rival baseball teams. This flows off the field into intense and sometimes..."
Dinosnores (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
"DINOSNORES is another absolutely charming and delightfully ridiculous board book from Sandra Boynton. Here, the dinosaurs get ready for bed,..."
Good Day, Good Night
 
4.0
"GOOD DAY, GOOD NIGHT follows a bunny on his journey from sun-up to sunset, as he travels around town, plays..."
TBH, This May Be TMI (TBH, #2)
 
4.0
"TBH, THIS MAY BE TMI is the second in a contemporary middle grade series, though it can easily function as..."
I've Loved You Since Forever
 
5.0
"This gorgeous board book celebrates the parent-child bond in an absolutely stunning way. I'VE LOVED YOU SINCE FOREVER suggests that..."
My Baby Loves Christmas
 
5.0
"Babies and toddlers will love the colorful celebration of Christmas in this delightful board book. MY BABY LOVES CHRISTMAS is..."
Riverland
 
4.0
"RIVERLAND is a riveting and complex middle grade magical realism novel. Eleanor and her sister, Mike (nickname, everyone except their..."
All You Need Is a Pencil: The Totally Sick Sick-Day Activity Book
 
5.0
"THE TOTALLY SICK SICK-DAY ACTIVITY BOOK is exactly what the title describes. There are crossword puzzles, places to doodle, word..."
Animazes
 
5.0
"ANIMAZES shows the migration patterns of fourteen different creatures. It shows that there are several different paths these creatures can..."
Christmas Cheer for The Grouchy Ladybug
 
3.5
"CHRISTMAS CHEER FOR THE GROUCHY LADYBUG talks about everything exciting Christmas has to offer. There's snowflakes, fires, bells, presents, stockings,..."
Baby Loves the Five Senses: Hearing!
 
4.7
"BABY LOVES THE FIVE SENSES: HEARING teaches everything you need to know about how hearing, the ears, and sound all..."
 
5.0
"In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki is disgusted when he finds out that his pen-pal Charlie is a girl. Still, they..."
Under the Snow
 
5.0
"When you see snow, you think of how pretty it is or how cold it is. UNDER THE SNOW opens..."