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Without Annette

3.3  ·  Rating details ·  224 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A gorgeously written, witty, and poignant YA novel, about a girl who must forge her own path in the wake of a crumbling relationship.

Josie Little has been looking forward to moving halfway across the country to attend Brookwood Academy, a prestigious boarding school, with her girlfriend, Annette, for ages. But underneath Brookwood's picture-perfect image lies a crippling
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Scholastic
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Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Eh. I love a boarding school novel and was inclined to be generous to this one because of that, but it just underwhelmed. There was too much going on and none of it was given enough time to develop. So many possibly great supporting characters who crowded the page so that none of them could really be seen.

The relationship between Josie and Annette didn't feel like it had any depth, but was more based on convenience and familiarity than any deep feelings. I kept thinking that one or both of them
Apr 13, 2016 added it
Shelves: queer
Oh this book was so aching in the best kind of way. When Josie goes off to boarding school with her girlfriend, Annette, everything is supposed to be perfect. They'll escape their small Minnesota town, and more importantly, Annette's alcoholic mother. But boarding school is not only far, but an opportunity to reinvent yourself and when Annette starts to want to be herself, away from Josie, their long-term relationship is threatened.

I loved the lore and microcosm of a boarding school setting. The
Jill Miller
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was intended for a much younger audience. The story took me back to my high school/college years, in both pleasant and painful ways. But the universal themes of love, friendship, loyalty, and finding one's own path in the world should resonate with about anyone.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I sort of suspect that I liked this one more than it deserved, but hey, I've never claimed impartiality. Throw queer characters in a boarding school with some decent writing and I'll be super happy.

Here's what I loved: Josie's agency and sense of self. She's not always confident, but she knows who she is and isn't really interested in changing that. She knows she loves her girlfriend. A boy kisses her, and it doesn't turn into some complicated love triangle or question about her sexuality: she k
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to snag an advanced copy of "Without Annette," and I finished it in three short days. "Without Annette" tells the story of two girls, best friends, from small-town Minnesota who move to Connecticut for boarding school. But they're not just best friends, they're girlfriends. Josie and Annette are trying to escape the suffocation that is being lesbians in a small town as well as Annette's alcoholic, abusive mother. When they get to Brookwood Academy, though, nothing goes as plan ...more
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
This book was weird, seeming to head in two different directions that completely contradicted each other. It was part boarding school mystery (that reminded me a bit of The Secret History) and part relationship drama, and I feel like the boarding school mystery outshone Josie's struggle with Annette. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting from this book.

I think one of the biggest problems was that Annette wasn't a developed character and their relationship wasn't fleshed out either. I love g
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
3.5 stars. I'm somewhat torn on this one. It starts a bit slow and cliched: two best friends go to boarding school--one fits in, one doesn't--and they start to grow apart. This story has the added element that Annette and Josie are also romantically involved, though they are keeping it a secret at their new school. None of the characters are particularly well-developed--I found my self wanting more information and explanation throughout the book.

That being said, there are some surprisingly emoti
Amy's Book Reviews
Grade: F

One Word: dreadful

Who doesn't like a good boarding school book? Key word GOOD.

The best thing I can say about WITHOUT ANNETTE is that the writing wasn't terrible, meaning I didn't stop multiple times to wonder why an editor let such a poorly written sentence/chapter/book go to publication. Jane B Mason started with an interesting premise, lesbian girlfriends accepted at the same boarding school, far from their podunk town in Minnesota, hoping to have the freedom to be out and share a room
*Warning: Spoilers*

Without Annette is a beautifully haunting tale of a relationship that could not withstand the influences and peer pressure of high school. In this we have our MC Josie Little, the loving and caring girlfriend of Annette Anderson. She loves her so much that she tried saving Annette from her mother by having them apply to some boarding school called Brookwood.

Now, if you were looking for a meaningful book on a drifting or fading relationship, or if you were looking for a book wi
Best friends--and more--Josie Little and Annette Anderson have left their small Minnesota hometown far behind for a boarding school in Connecticut. Brookwood Academy is nothing like the schools back home, and Josie prepares to revel in the freedom and the challenges the school has to offer. After all, classes are sure to provide more intellectual stimulation, and she and Annette will be able to be open about their feelings toward each other. Then too, she is pleased to have removed her friend fr ...more
Rachel Helm
Jan 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
I read this FOR WORK and learned I can't even enjoy a teen novel about teenage lesbians.
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was a hardcover I got from the publisher as a staff reviewer for YA Books Central.
Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!
QUILTBAG: 4 (Annette and Josie are lesbians and so is an adult in the book)
Disability: 1 (Annette’s mom is a literal raging alcoholic)
Intersectionality: 1

Remember a while back when Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy inspired fury from readers who thought it would engage in bi erasure or lesbian erasure based on its original
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-challenge
Josie and Annette plan to have a perfect future at Brookwood, a New England boarding school. They’ll be roommates, and they’ll decorate their dorm just like home. They will be top of their class, with plenty of time for parties. They’ll be far away from Annette’s abusive mother, and they’ll be able to be open about their relationship. Of course, just like the students of the school aren’t the goody two shoes overachievers that would be expected, their time at Brookwood doesn’t quite turn out lik ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, ya, realism
Meh. This didn't have the boarding school magic or intrigue I was hoping for. The shrunken head/steam tunnel/Professor Mannering plot felt like it had nothing to do with the rest of the story. There was very little character development, and I didn't like any of the girl characters. Not a one. Even Josie, the MC, was a total drag--she was the one who wanted to go away to boarding school with Annette, and then she complained about it the whole time she was there. It's nice to see a lesbian relati ...more
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-constructed, moving, emotional story of what happens when love tries to control destiny, especially when you are still a teen trying to find yourself.

Josie is convinced that she can save her girlfriend Annette. The key is getting away.

This poignant tale is full 0f well-rounded characters, rich (pun intended) description, with enough mystery, romance, teen angst, and social conflict to add fun, depth and tears.

I agree with David Leviathan, you had to write this, Jane. And I'm glad
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: connecticut, lgbtq
I don't know, Josie and Annette's relationship didn't feel very realistic or satisfying to me. And I didn't totally understand the importance of the tunnels under the school and the shrunken head thing. And it would've been nice to have more closure with Annette's friends at Brookwood, I felt like those characters' arcs all ended very abruptly.
Hannah Martin
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was interesting enough to want to keep reading for a while once you start it, although the plot took a lot of weird turns. For the most part the characters went beyond typical stereotypes and it was easy to empathize with them, even when they were in the middle of underground tunnels looking for a shrunken head.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get past page 30. It was really boring and cringey and I'm pretty sure I would hate the main character in real life. I read ahead a little bit to the end and it seems very predictable and not really worth my time.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Not very original or captivating. Mediocre writing. Semi-decent character depth. Overall, pretty difficult to get through, and rather predictable.
Tegan Martin
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Very sad to have finished this but extremely happy to have read it.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
There is a lot of really great stuff in this book. Josie and Annette are from a small town in Minnesota and have landed scholarships to an elite east-coast boarding school. On the surface this is like a myriad of other books that tell the same story. The twist here, Josie and Annette are a couple, but have decided to keep their relationship a secret until they get more settled. Upon arriving at school Annette immediately falls in the popular Soleets while Josie flounders. Josie expected everythi ...more
Early Sol
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
In Without Annette by Jane B. Mason, Josie Little urged her bestfriend (aka girlfriend) Annette Anderson to leave their hometown and explore a better life (supposedly together) at a boarding school. She couldn't have begun to imagine how hopelessly wrong she was.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Dawson's Creek Jack and Jen style... This book felt very average to me ... very predictable. Two girls go to boarding school to "get away from their families." They also get away so that they can be together - one problem, Annette thought this was a good idea until she got to school and felt weird about PDA with Josie. Lots happen - buddy making out with Annette and then kissing on Josie - again like I said it's Dawson's Creek. Josie's roommate Roxanne shows her how to deal with her tough life b ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Weird good
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was very happy to find this book just when I needed it. So many YA novels about lesbian relationships focus on external conflict, not on internal conflict within the relationship. Just the fact that Without Annette exists is so important to me. Stories about messy, flawed, dysfunctional relationships between women are important to me.

Of course, this book isn't perfect. The biggest surprise to me was how little this book is actually about Annette and Josie. As their relationship deteriorates, t
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, lesbian, usa
summary: sixteen(?)-year-old Josie Little is set to embark on a great new adventure with her girlfriend, Annette. they're heading off to a fancy live-in high school in Connecticut, far away from their lives in rural Minnesota. Josie thinks Brookwood will be the perfect escape for Annette, safe from her abusive alcoholic mother. instead, Annette and Josie quickly drift apart, as Annette aligns herself with the "soleets" (social elites), hiding her relationship with Josie, and Josie finds herself ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I was initially interested in this one because of the LGBTQ aspect. It's a novel about two teen girls dating, but essentially in the closet, in a small mid-Western town. When an opportunity arises to apply to a prestigious boarding school in the Northeast the girls see it as a way to escape their small town and all the problems they see as coming with it. Quite unsurprisingly, the girls find out relatively quickly that, although some of the problems were endemic to their hometown, variations of ...more
Josie stumbles on Brookwood Academy through a bungled Google search and decides that she and her girlfriend will go there to escape Annette's mean drunk mother. Somehow this works. But when they get to the school, their relationship falls apart. Annette wants to keep them in the closet so she can be seen as "herself" and Josie can't see how that is shitty. As Annette gets farther into her friendships with the Social Elite, Josie becomes friends with a group of poker playing, steam tunnel explori ...more
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the plot of this book without necessarily loving all of the characters. Annette has an abusive mother and Josie wants to "save" her by taking her to a boarding school where they can enjoy the intimate relationship they both have together. Except...none of this happens. Once they get to the boarding school, Annette tries to blend in with the popular girls and largely ignores Josie except when she wants to make out with her. Josie, on the other hand, is left to make friends with Penn (a bo ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Josie and Annette are both accepted as scholarship students at a tony prep school, getting them out of their tiny Minnesota town and away from Annette’s drunken, abusive mother. They agree to keep their personal relationship secret for a while….just until they are settled in at boarding school. Unfortunately, Annette seems to be adjusting better than Josie and Josie is feeling left out and (surprisingly) homesick.
Considering the sex and alcohol, the mean girls, and Annette’s awful mother, thi
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Jane B. Mason grew up in a large family in northern Minnesota. She has written books for kids of all ages under many names and on many subjects, among them ghosts, Jedi, detective duos, princesses, twins, mean girls, and slam books.

Jane has lived in the midwest and on both coasts, but appears to have settled in Oakland, California, and writes almost every day at either a friend's dining room tabl
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“I opened my mouth to do some calm explaining. "I'm gay." is what came out.” 1 likes
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