Lily and Dunkin
For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7's, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.
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.
* 2017 Southern Book Award Winner—Juvenile Category
* Voice Award from the Palm Beach County Action Alliance for Mental Health
* NPR's Best Kids' Books of 2016
* Chicago Public Library Best Fiction for Older Readers 2016
* New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2016
* Amazon's Top 20 Children's Books of 2016
* Top 10 Audiobooks of 2016, School Library Journal
* YALSA 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults
* YALSA 2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
* ALA 2017 Rainbow Book List -- GLBTQ Books for Children & Teens
* Georgia Book Award, 2017-2018 Nominee
* Rhode Island Middle School Book Award Nominee, 2018
* Wisconsin State Reading Association's Just One More Page Selection, 2017
* Indie Next Pick Summer 2016
* Junior Library Guild Selection
* Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 -- Best Middle Grade & Children's
* 2016 Nerdy Book Club Award
* 2016 Rainbow Awards -- Best Transgender Book
* 2016 Spring Okra Pick -- the Best in Southern Literature
"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
“Gephart sympathetically contrasts the physical awkwardness, uncertainty, and longings of these two outsiders during a few tightly-plotted months, building to a crescendo of revelation…[A] valuable portrait of two teenagers whose journeys are just beginning.”--PW
"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, and inspiring.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle with You
Praise For Lily and Dunkin…
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780553536744, 352pp.
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
A transgender person is someone who does not identify with the biological gender assigned to him or
her at birth. Lily, born Tim, associates as a female and wants to start the hormone therapy that will allow
her to begin the physical transition to become a girl. When did Lily begin to think of herself as a girl?
Why is it best that she begin the hormone therapy now? Her mother and sister are very supportive, but
her father is not. Discuss why her father is resistant. How is Lily’s father finally convinced to support her
Throughout the book, members of Lily’s family and her close friend tell her how brave she is. How does
Lily exhibit this bravery when she stands up to the city in an attempt to save the tree she has named
Bob? Why is the tree especially important to her as she takes bigger steps toward becoming Lily? What
is her ultimate act of bravery?
Norbert suffers from bipolar disorder, a mood disorder that causes extreme lows and extreme highs.
The proper medication can control his mood swings. Why does he think stopping the medication will
help him on the basketball court? Why does his mother suspect that he isn’t taking his medication?
Who is Phin? Why is Norbert’s mother so concerned when he talks to Phin?
Lily is one of the first people Norbert meets when he moves to Florida. Why does Lily nickname Norbert
“Dunkin”? Why is Lily so disappointed when Dunkin wants to sit with the basketball team at lunch?
Cite evidence that Dunkin is uncomfortable when the basketball players call Lily names like “fag” or
bully her in the hallways.
Both characters are bullied because they don’t fit in with their classmates. Why are they hesitant to report
the bullying to school officials? How might schools intervene to help students like Lily and Dunkin?
Discuss the enormous courage it takes for Lily and Dunkin to share their secrets.
How does their acceptance of one another affect the way they act throughout the
rest of the novel? It won’t be an easy road for either of them. What are some of
the obstacles they are likely to face in the future?
How is this book about tolerance and understanding?