Parents' Guide to

Lily and Dunkin

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Sensitive story of misfits striving to be their real selves.

Lily and Dunkin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

Lots to offer

The premise of the book centers around the 2 main characters, Tim (who identifies as Lily) and Norbert (nickname Dunkin). The book alternates between their perspectives, each telling the stories of a confused transgender girl and a boy who suffers with bipolar disorder. Each of the characters want to do what is right, but each struggles with how they can be themselves when it sometimes seems like the world is against them. Mentions both male and female anatomy "penis", "boobs" and a few tame curse words. Portrays the awkwardness of middle school accurately. Valuable to teach empathy and understanding.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (7 ):

This compassionate, skillfully told story focuses on two teens dealing with major challenges, but the themes -- authenticity, connection, and courage -- will resonate with anyone in middle school. In Lily and Dunkin, Donna Gephart -- inspired, in part, by her son's struggle with mental illness -- writes with keen understanding of how difficult it can be for teens to reconcile their inner selves with the persona they present to the world. Lily is very clear on who she is, but she's unsure of how to get everyone else to see her the way she wants to be seen. Dunkin, on the other hand, is less certain of when his medication helps and when it might be interfering.

Dual narratives are nicely balanced, sometimes showing the different ways the two characters regard the same incident. Dunkin's story feels messily real, but Lily's seems a bit too simplified and polished. She has a remarkably strong support system, and even her father's adversarial position is rooted in love and concern.

Book Details

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