Award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.
Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you're in the eighth grade.
Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he's called home for the past 13 years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.
One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.
"Lily and Dunkin is a delight. Here's a book for anyone who's ever struggled with being different - or anyone who's ever loved someone who bears the burden of difference. Donna Gephart's book is about trans children, and bipolar children, and their parents, of course, but what it's really about is friendship, and the redeeming power of love. Crucial, heart-breaking, and inspiring." (Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There and Stuck in the Middle with You)
"Gephart clearly has a lot of heart, and she tells their stories with compassion." (Kirkus)
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A fun book for children and adults
I decided to read the book because I saw that one of the characters had Bipolar. Since I have an interest in mental health issues, I gave the book a go. I was pleasantly surprised. Lily and Duncan are both is middle school, and each has a serious problem with to contend with. Lily is a transgender girl who wants to come out. Duncan has Bipolar and wants/needs friends. The book switches between each character as they try to face the difficultly of middle school. Lily is bullied, both verbally and physically. And it is Duncan's new friends that are doing the bullying. Lily has to decide is come out is worth the risk of bodily harm, and Duncan has to decided who his friends are. From that alone, this book was good. But in addition, the author had adults in the book who were important to plot and fleshed out well.
The narrators did a good job on the book as well. I never fell out of the book because one of the narrators lost the flow of the plot. When listening to the book, often narrators make a difference. These two did a good job.
In the end, I would recommend this book. Although it is meant for younger readers, it is not dumbed down. Adults will find the story fulfilling and complex.
- Lara Weinheimer "Chronically ill, and often, can only listen to books. But I am an avid listener."