I started reading this as part of my mental health booklist. But I’m of two minds about this book being on the list. I’ll explain in my review.
Annie’s Life in Lists
Mental Health Book?
Annie’s Life in Lists is a sweet read. You get to know Annie and her family through lists she makes in her journal. They are usually about things like her life, or her family. The reason I think this book ended up on mental health lists is because of Annie’s extraordinary memory. I know experts don’t believe there is such a thing as a photographic memory, but Annie’s is close. Annie’s memory is also one of the focuses of the book and it gets her in trouble and helps her throughout the book.
Now I’m of two minds about whether it deserves to be on a books about mental health list. Annie after a certain incident in the book Annie feels like she has to hide her great memory, like a lot of kids with mental health issues do, she also thinks her great memory is the reason for something bad that happens to her family, like a lot of kids with mental health issues do.
In many other ways, though she appears neurotypical, since Annie has to hide this element of who she is from her friends, and the list-making can be a known trait of other mental health conditions, I’m inclined to say Annie has something, maybe a minor form of autism or OCD. But definitely enough for this book to warrant a spot on the mental health list.
Annie’s a shy fifth-grader with an incredible memory and a love of making lists. The lists help her keep calm and keep track of things in an a world that grows more complicated by the day.
Things are happening that she can’t control them. She’s also not sure if these things are her fault. Like her family moving out of Brooklyn after she blabbed to the principal of her school about their address being different than what was listed. Her great memory got her in trouble when she was just trying to make small talk with the principal!
Now her family is moving to the tiny town of Clover Gap, Maine, and it may be all her fault, her brother hates her because he thinks it’s all her fault too. Annie also has to start over in a new class and make new friends, with one girl making things harder for her than the rest. Her brother doesn’t seem like he wants to fit in and still tries to avoid speaking to her.
Now her parents are worried about money. Annie turns to her lists to make sense of things, but as she and her brother both settle into Clover Gap, they realize things may not be as simple as they seem, and Annie may have nothing to do with the move. Are their parents keeping secrets? Will Annie finally find her place in the small town? Will her brother finally stop blaming her? Do her lists have the answers or will she have to finally find her voice and find the answers for herself?
I really loved the concept of all lists for a book. It took a little getting used to at first. I almost didn’t get past the first couple of chapters but I’m glad I did because it is a really sweet read about a girl with a unusual way of looking at things who comes out of her shell throughout the course of the book. I’d say it’s a solid 4 stars.
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