Eager to escape Annette’s complicated home life, Josie and her girlfriend Annette apply to a boarding school called Brookwood and use their acceptances as tickets out of their hometown. Josie expects that going to Brookwood together will allow her to grow even closer to Annette, but when they arrive at the school, Annette falls into a crowd of girls that Josie doesn’t fit into and wants to keep her relationship with Josie a secret. As she deals with growing distance from Annette, Josie meets new friends of her own, goes on late-night adventures, and begins to discover who she really is.
Josie’s story is emotional; however, there were moments that could have been very moving but instead seemed to fall a little flat. In addition, some loose ends about minor characters could have been tied up more neatly. Despite these shortcomings, however, Without Annette is a powerful and important story that gives needed representation to complex lesbian relationships and champions learning, changing, and being true to oneself.
Jane B. Mason