Teen Reader’s Choice Award Nominee Spotlight: Lily & Dunkin
“Lily Jo is not my name. Yet.”
This first line from Donna Gephart’s timely YA novel Lily and Dunkin will make you want to read on -searching for who Lily really is all the while discovering how to survive middle school and remain true to yourself.
Award winning middle grade novel author Donna Gephart is originally from Philadelphia and now resides in South Florida with her family. Considering herself a “professional nerd”, a love of libraries and reading led Gephart to writing children’s books. Now, she has become a popular speaker at schools, book festivals, and conferences.
Why should you read Lily and Dunkin?
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 thirteen 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.
Were we not all teens once experiencing that awkward stage of trying to fit in, yet trying to discover who you really are? Middle school readers will enjoy and relate to the authentic voice of their own age group in both Lily and Dunkin’s characters. Present day issues of transgender and mental illness are brought to the forefront in a non-exploitative way, showing us that we are not all the same and that is okay. Lily and Dunkin helps fill the void and the need for more YA books on these topics enlightening the reader through diversity, adversity and ultimately hope.
The reviews are in and they agree:
"Gephart has written a story that will speak not just to one specific community, but to humanity as a whole." --VOYA
"Gephart clearly has a lot of heart, and she tells their stories with compassion."--Kirkus
"A thoughtfully and sensitively written work of character-driven fiction that dramatically addresses two important subjects that deserve more widespread attention."--Booklist, starred
"This would be a fantastic addition to any middle grade library collection, and is highly recommended for all ages."—VOYA
"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. . . . Crucial, heart-breaking
To find out more about Donna Gephart check out: http://www.donnagephart.com/
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CCRSB Teen Reader’s Choice Award