The thing I love about the YA contemporary genre is it’s spunk. The stories that come from this set often embody a take no prisoner approach that tells you how it is not often found in other genres. Steadman’s new novel Ann, Not Annie is the perfect model.
Ann, not Annie, is tired of her nominal existence and has vowed to turn things around by dating the hottest guy in school, Jacob Waters. Easier said than done since Jacob isn’t even aware she exists. The truth is, due to Ann’s lively temper she spends more time in detention with the rest of the school rejects than she does fantasizing about Jacob Waters wearing spandex.
Her best friend and devout alien believer, Lisa, doesn’t like the changes she’s seeing in her BFF. Neither does Danny Feller, a fellow detention inmate and resident lost boy who has started keeping an extra watchful and unwanted eye on Ann.
When a chance encounter in an empty hallway changes everything, Ann finds all her dreams coming true and she is well on her way to living the perfect life she’s always wanted. But appearances aren’t always what they seem and Ann is going to have to face not just cold hard facts, but also her past.
In this book it is all about the little things: the beautiful sketches that highlight the text, and the charismatic conversational tone of the story. While the book touches on some serious realities that affect many teenagers, the story has a humor and wit that makes the uncomfortable moments bearable and prompt discussion.
I experienced so many different emotions while reading this story: there was joy and laughter, heartbreak, and some very real tears. Told in the third person (with some interjections from the narrator), Steadman aptly draws you into Ann’s world so subtly that you don’t realize you’re hooked until it’s too late.
The characters are complex people, and as the story went on I began to feel attached to them, relating with Ann in her search for understanding and place in this world. This is a book devoted to the underdog, and is a great read for fans of The Breakfast Club (which also makes a cameo in the story).
This standalone book is one that begs to be reflected on. Ann , Not Annie causes the reader to pause and think about themes like personal identity, alcoholism, and what it means to be authentic. She draws heavily on Thoreau’s Walden, interweaving his powerful words that adds a deeper level to the story. (Overall 4/5 stars)
And now you have a chance to win your own copy! As part of the book’s release celebration Xpresso Books is giving away a free copy of the book to one winner (e-book or print ARC). This giveaway is open internationally until September 28th, so the more the merrier!
*Thank you to Xpresso Books and the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions stated here are my own.