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Annie’s a shy fifth grader with an incredible memory and a love of making lists. It helps her keep track of things when they can seem a little out of control, like her family, her friends, and her life in a new place.

Annie has:
1. An incredible memory (really, it’s almost photographic) that can get her in trouble
2. A desire to overcome her shyness
3. A brother who is mad at her because he thinks she is the reason they had to move to Clover Gap, population 8,432.
4. A best friend who she is (almost) certain will always be her best friend.
5. New classmates, some of whom are nicer than others.
6. A rocky start finding her place in her new home.

Summary: Annie’s Life in Lists

annie's life in lists book review graphic

Annie’s Life in Lists has been on my TBR since the day it debuted! I was so intrigued by the concept of a book written completely in lists and also by the sweet description.

Annie is a shy fifth-grader with a remarkable memory for people, their idiosyncrasies, and life’s moments in general. Things change for Annie after her knack for remembering seemingly leads her family to moving from Brooklyn, NY to a tiny town called Clover Gap.

Now, Annie and her family have to adjust to a new town that is vastly different from the city living they’re used to. Her parents also have to cope with financial insecurity and Annie and her brother struggle to make friends — each for different reasons. In honor of Annie’s love for lists, it’s only right that my favorite things about this book be in list format.

The Good

What I loved:

  1. Annie. Annie is the sweetest, cleverest, and most insightful young protagonist I’ve read in a while. Yet, she is utterly believable; never for a second contrived. She is truly the star of this book and I felt like I was in her mind as I read all the lists. Her way of observing the world and her astute comments make this book a joy to read.
  2. Annie’s family. I really do enjoy reading about parents with unconventional jobs in middle-grade literature. Annie’s mom is a freelance graphic designer (ding, ding!) while her dad is an engineer. Her relationship with her brother, Ted, especially her list of 10 ways to annoy your big brother made my heart so happy.
  3. The way author Kristin Mahoney handles families going through financial stress. Annie’s parents are concerned about their finances, and the way that affects Annie is so true-to-life, as anyone whose parents ever had money issues growing up would know.
  4. The strong themes of standing up for yourself, making room in friend circles, and letting friendships evolve. I love a good book about friendships, and the new friends Annie makes, as well as the sensitive way she approaches friendships is heartwarming.
  5. This book hits a bunch of other issues: racism, love for nature and small towns, and the value of honest communication in all relationships.
With an endearing protagonist, Annie's Life in Lists by @KMcMahoney tackles coping with a move, handling the evolution of friendships, and finding home in a new place. Click To Tweet


I LOVED this book! Annie’s Life in Lists is a uniquely written, sweet portrayal of a young girl finding her voice and loving it. With an endearing protagonist, this book tackles coping with a move, handling the evolution of friendships, and finding home in a new place. I’m officially a Kristin Mahoney fan and can’t wait to read her next middle-grade novel, The 47 People You’ll Meet in Middle School. If you like quirky books — like books written entirely in list format — about family and friendships in a small town, Annie’s Life in Lists is for you.

If you like quirky books -- like books written entirely in list format -- about family and friendships in a small town, Annie's Life in Lists is for you. Click To Tweet

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Annie's Life in Lists

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Have you read this book? What did you think? What are your favorite quirky books? I’d love to know!

– Afoma


  1. My daughter (another Annie) has struggled to find a book that she could really get into reading until now. She has been engrossed by this book in list style format and is asking me for more just like it. Do you have any recommendations? I love your review!

    1. Hi Natalia! I’m happy to hear your daughter is enjoying ANNIE. It’s tough to think of another list book; I’m yet to find one like that! But I will keep an eye out and use this comment thread if I run into one. Feel free to share if you find any as well.

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