Gephart, D. (2016). Lily and Dunkin. NY: Delacorte.
With humor and great sensitivity, Gephart juxtaposes the efforts of two eighth-graders—one struggling with gender dysphoria, one with mental illness—to establish new identities for themselves. Determined, gentle, and self-aware Tim was “born with boy parts” but identifies as a girl, preferring the name Lily; already “out” to her family and best friend Dare, Lily is both excited and terrified about reactions to a more public transformation. Meanwhile, newcomer Norbert hates his name and keeps deep secrets, even from himself. Their friendship develops slowly as Dunkin, desperate for acceptance, gets swept up by an intolerant basketball-playing crowd.
Commentary and Text Connections:
Gephart sympathetically contrasts the physical awkwardness, uncertainty, and longings of these two outsiders during a few tightly-plotted months, building to important revelations in this comtemporary realistic fiction novel. Strong, supportive women accept these teens as they are, while their fathers struggle mightily. Transgender and bipolar disorder are both addressed in this novel aimed at middle school aged students.