02 April, 2017

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Every once in a while I pick up a children’s book and after reading it leaves a lasting impression on me. Lily and Dunkin is one of those books.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a transgender girl trying to fit into the eighth grade. Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbet Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved down to Florida with his mother. Both teens are going through a challenging period in their lives. Both of them have secrets they are good at hiding. One summer morning, the two of them meet and their lives change forever. This unlikely friendship starts out with uncertainty and as the story progresses the reader gets to witness the immense bravery, kindness and love that revolves around these characters.

Donna Gephart writes this story in the two distinct voices of Lily and Dunkin. We are able to see not just the amazing characters they each are, but also the inner turmoil and anxieties they go through. Donna Gephart has created an amazing book which moved me immensely and opened my eyes to the world of these extraordinary young people. I find myself having a better understanding and acceptance of the issues facing transgender teens and those who suffer from mental health issues. It’s also very humbling to learn that the character of Dunkin was based on Gephart’s own journey with her son.

Out of all the books I’ve read so far, this story with its intricately woven plot lines and vivid description, taught me of the importance of identity, the love and support of family and staying true to what one believed in.

A truly inspirational and moving story, but more suitable for older ‘tween’ readers!

Author: Donna Gephart

Recommended by Surani R, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson. 
Surani R enjoys reading biographies, travelogues, some non-fiction, and loves fiction that makes you laugh out loud. She also finds comfort in children’s fiction with thought-provoking stories. 

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