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Lily and Dunkin

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  7,367 ratings  ·  1,324 reviews
Author Donna Gephart crafts a dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder.

Sometimes our hearts see things our eyes can’t.

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,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Shira Glassman by the end of the book everyone gets it right but there was indeed an awful lot of misgendering in the book, mostly because of the narrative structure…moreby the end of the book everyone gets it right but there was indeed an awful lot of misgendering in the book, mostly because of the narrative structure (Dunkin is one of the two POV's of the book and Lily doesn't come out to him as trans until very close to the end.) Her identity is respected by the narrative but because of the dual first person POV her sections are a lot of "I"/"me" and there's no opportunity TO use correct pronouns for her. Her mom, sister, and best friend are supportive throughout and use the right name and pronouns, if it helps. But if you're sensitive to misgendering or deadnaming I'd pick a different book.

Edited to add: yes, there are a lot of misgendering reviews and I suspect these are from cis people who don't have trans friends or family and managed to read the entire book and still not understand. I find those REVIEWS distressing, because while Dunkin misgenders Lily because he wasn't told she was a girl, those readers most certainly were!(less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  7,367 ratings  ·  1,324 reviews

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karen wrote a superb review for If I Was Your Girl, a YA romance featuring a trans teenager. In said review, karen states that the reader's enjoyment of the book in question should come after the acknowledgement of how important the work is because it's filling a gap that desperately needs representation (to grossly and ineloquently paraphrase)

I've been sitting on this review for months because of that very conundrum. I understand this is an important work because it addresses topics generally n
Paul Orsino
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adore this book. Lily and Dunkin have incredibly honest and true voices.

I truly believe that reading this has made me a more empathetic and understanding person.

This book will change the lives of readers, we need to make sure it finds its way into their hands.
Nancy Kotkin
This is a book about a transgendered kid and another kid afflicted with bipolar disorder. That is an awful lot to take on in one middle grade novel and, as a result, both characters suffered. Neither character was fully realized, but the friendship between the two major characters was especially weak. For most of the book, Lily pines over Dunkin while Dunkin snubs Lily in favor of more cool and popular, albeit demanding and mean, friends at school.

My biggest concern about this book is the way bi
Lily and Dunkin is a thoughtful and heartwarming story of two teenagers going through transgender and bipolar disorder. Tim/Lily has to deal with his unmatched physyial body while Norbert/Dunkin has to deal with his mood swing and his gigantic body. They're new to each other and don't always picture together because they have their own lives and their own close people. But in the end they're helping each other out and be best friend forever.

This book shows me the meaning of a family, friendship
Hal Schrieve
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bad-trans-rep
Content warning: some spoilers, reference to author’s weird obsession with young trans girls’ genitalia and to sexual assault committed against main character

Basic boring and bad things about this book include:

⁃ all dialogue scenes are long and bland; there is no banter that is funny
⁃ The same points are hammered on again and again for hundreds of pages : again, Lily’s dad thinks hormone blockers are too expensive and she should be a boy. Again, Dunkin is afraid of his mental health issues.
1 star

I originally picked this book up because I had heard that it was a middle grade with a trans girl MC and my interest was piqued because we really don't see enough of that in children's literature. However, I was wary going into it because this is a book written by a cis author. And to me, this book really solidified why we shouldn't let cis people write trans PoVs.

But let me start at the beginning. What is this book about? Lily and Dunkin follows... Lily, a trans girl, and Dunkin, a boy w
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lily and Dunkin is a brave book. The author takes on the challenge of having her reader walk in the shoes of not one, but two characters whose experiences and true identities are attempting to break the surface.

The story is raw, emotional, funny and at times unforgiving with it's honesty. There were moments when I literally could feel my heart expanding, pushing up against the walls of itself, to grow bigger.

I know that I am a better human because I have experienced Lily and Dunkin. Donna Gepha
Krista Regester
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
My best friend wrote an A+ review on this book and it captures exactly how I feel: so go ahead and read that here! ...more
Alex Flinn
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because, in addition to dealing with the important topic of transgender teens in a middle grade novel, it also dealt effectively with bipolar disorder. I have two relatives with bipolar disorder (or, rather, one -- my cousin committed suicide at what seemed to be a great point in his life), and as well as a child who is on medication for another condition. It is often frustrating to deal with someone who obviously needs to be on medication yet repeatedly doesn't take i ...more
Franki Sibberson
A great story. Great characters. Thinking it's perfect for middle school --seems like one of those books that fits somewhere between middle grade and YA. ...more
C. L.

On one hand, kudos for representation. On the other... I can't speak for the transgender side of the story, but the bipolar one? As a bipolar person, it kind of bothered me. The author was supposedly writing about her son's experiences -- and everyone's experience is different -- but it didn't ring true for me, in what could potentially be a damaging way. The symptoms Dunkin experiences are more in line with schizophrenia than classic bipolar. So to define bipolar as hearing voices and bloc
Alright ladies and gents, buckle up because this is going to be a wild ride of me professing my undying love for this book and probably making no sense.

Before I dive into the review, I just want to say I didn't expect to love this book so much. I never thought it would resonate so deep into me, and that it would shake me to this extent. Thing is, it's almost everything I usually don't reach for: character driven, contemporary middle grade with young narrators. But since it dealt with some seriou
Wendy Darling
Book 3 for GLBT Book Month.

Audiobook narrated by Ryan Gesell and Michael Crouch (along with an author's note), who do an excellent job of portraying Lily and Dunkin. This is a pretty straightforward story; it's kind of cute at first, and transgender rep is definitely very much needed, particularly in MG. (I'm also curious about how some of the bipolar symptoms manifest, which I wasn't familiar with before.)

But neither kid's story ended up being as insightful or emotional or compelling as I'd ho
Gary Anderson
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I could hand one book to every educator and school board member in America and say, “I think you should read this,” it would be Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart. In the early pages, we learn that Lily is a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Named Timothy at birth because of the presence of “boy parts,” Lily wants her gender identification to be accepted by her friends and family, some of whom support her, while others struggle to see her for who she really is. Gephart handles this material masterf ...more
Kathleen Bianchi
Bought this for my 11yr old granddaughter and will be interested to discuss it with her after she gets to read it. I thought it was interesting and gave good insight into the transgender girl's feelings. The type of bi-polar disorder they were showing was not your typical one this one included psychosis it doesn't usually so I don't know if I would have chosen that one to present. ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
What a beautiful, honest, and powerful, yet tough at times, middle grade contemporary novel. I highly recommend giving it a try. If you're looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally captivating middle grade read, I can't say enough good things about this positive story. I need to read more by this author.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Lund
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED Lily and Dunkin’s simultaneous narrations of the same scene and the important struggles each separately went through in this beautiful story. It’s so critical for kids to see themselves reflected in what they read, and this book helps fill a gap in middle grade literature about transgender kids, mental illness, and acceptance. All characters were so rich and well developed, and Lily’s mom and sister ROCK with their immediate acceptance and embrace of her. Her dad’s journey is the one tha ...more
Aryana Parmar
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-caudills
I think this book was good, but I had a really hard time connecting with the characters and all the things going on. I don't know, not a bad book, but most definitely not for me. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Gephart, Donna. Lily and Dunkin
May 3rd 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Public library copy.

Tim feels like he is really a girl, and has felt this way from a very early age. His mother and sister support him, but his father is concerned that if Tim embraces his "real" self and dresses and acts like "Lily", he will get beaten up and made fun of. Lily is also mourning the death of his grandfather, and spends time in a tree that reminds him of his grandfather, but which is slated to be taken
Book Riot Community
A powerful, brave story about Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder.

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/category/all-the-...
Toni Rose Deanon
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Would you rather have a dead son or a live daughter? 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
Leigh Collazo

Hundreds more reviews plus ideas for librarians and teachers at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: I loved this book! It's a beautifully-written story of an emerging friendship between two eighth graders dealing with some pretty heavy secrets. Author Donna Gephart tackles some serious issues here--transgender identity, bipolar disorder, bullying, abuse, grief, homosexuality--with grace and sensitivity. I cannot imagine that someone could read this book and not come away more sensitive to transgendered and
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
I noticed this book a long time ago and put it on my watch list. And I tried to get it, for months. And here we are. I've got it. And man, it was definitely worth the wait and lived up to my (high) expectations. This is one of my favorite middle-grades I've read. It deals with some very, very complex and hard issues that aren't talked about in middle grade--gender identity, mental illness, (view spoiler), but I'd say it's appropriate for the upper bit of middle grade. The ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lily and Dunkin is a wonderful book about two middle schoolers who are trying their best to navigate the world and their problems. It is about two teenagers, each with different issues that make them stand out from the crowd. They run into each other outside of the public library one day before school starts, and seem to form a fast friendship. However, bullies, popularity, and middle school pressures make it hard for them to stay friends, at least in school. As the story goes on, the two charac ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Heart.

This book. This book is so incredibly powerful and well done. The publicity on this book should be way better.

I was wavering on whether to read it and then a local, youth librarian was reading it at our public library and called it "pretty good."

Pretty good? Pashaw. This book is a MUST read for young people, and if it doesn't melt any reader's heart, then he's dead inside.

It covers all the great topics in adolescent literature (and my favorite literature): bullying, family drama
Christina Hanson
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If there is only one book you read this year, you must read Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart. Dunkin just moved to Florida from New Jersey. While out and about one morning, he runs into Lily, and they instantly become friends. But both are carrying deep secrets: Lily is transgender and Dunkin is bipolar. Will they both be able to survive middle school, and will their friendship last as their secrets are revealed? This is such an emotional, enlightening, and excellent book!
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of middle grade books, not for any reason but I just don't happen to. This one was fantastic though and everyone should read it. The representation, characters and overall storyline is so well done. It's realistic, painful but just such a good and necessary read. ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This was okay, I just wished it was more fleshed out.
Alyse Liebovich
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made my heart burst.
Stealing the following from Gary Anderson's review: "If I could hand one book to every educator and school board member in America and say, “I think you should read this,” it would be Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart."
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