Parents' Guide to

Too Bright to See

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Gender identity and death lovingly explored in spooky story.

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A Lot or a Little?

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

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Picking up pace as it develops, a frightening story addresses an intensely personal issue. In Too Bright to See, the metaphor of living in a haunted house is mirrored in the experiences of characters who don't feel at home in their own bodies. Gender identity is explored in a way that helps binary readers understand the nonbinary experience in an artful manner.

Though the haunting lacks the spooky suspenseful realism of a Stephen King novel, there are moments where the possibility of poltergeist feels real. The ending wraps things up a little too neatly, too. But what shines through in this story is the love that Bug's Uncle Roderick left as a legacy. The longing for acceptance, the tenderness that one outsider has for another, the desire to be set free of a burden that nobody asks for -- are a twinkle in Anita Life's heavily made-up eyes. Those wishes feel like a legacy that deserves to be passed on to the next generation of readers who might see themselves in this book.

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