Lily and Dunkin is a beautifully crafted novel describing the unlikely friendship between two middle school students, a transgender girl and a bipolar boy. Lily Jo McGrother who wants nothing more than to gain her father’s approval and get the hormone blockers that will prevent her becoming the person she doesn’t want to be, is stuck in a war between wanting the approval of society including her father and being the young lady she really is.
Dunkin Dorfman who wants nothing more than to blend into the crowd at his new middle school and play for the basketball team with all the “cool” guys, is struggling to overcome the obstacles hurtled at him by his bipolar disorder and simultaneously attempting to escape the cruelty his illness has caused him in the past.
These two driven thirteen-year-olds will stop at nothing to obtain their goals, even when the storms in life are raging against them day and night. As their lives slowly intertwine, Lily and Dunkin begin to learn and prosper, for better or for worse, and slowly take steadier steps towards becoming who they really want to be.
Lily and Dunkin is a powerful and raw novel that trapped me between its pages and stayed with me long after the last page was turned. It had the recognizable passion displayed in books similar to R.J Palacio’s, Wonder and Ali Benjamin’s, The Thing About Jellyfish, each exhibiting similar inspirational characters that impact the world around them in one way or another. Lily and Dunkin could greatly change our generation’s view on the LGBTQ+ society (see also: George by Alex Gino) and boost awareness about certain mental health conditions frequently found in adults and children alike. I truly believe that Lily and Dunkin is a novel with the potential to make a difference (however slight it may be) in each of its readers lives and is definitely worth the time to read. At the end of the day, I’m not suggesting it, I’m prescribing it.
Paige is a 13-year-old student at George Street Middle School in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Outside of school, Paige is involved in Highland dance and enjoys creative writing, drawing and spending time on her scooter. Paige is passionate about literature and is more than pleased to share her personal opinions on various novels so that other children like her can share in the joy of reading a good book.