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Lily and Dunkin: 02/02/17
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart is really two stories in one. There's Lily, a transgender teen who is desperate to start hormone therapy before puberty starts. And then there's Dunkin, is self medicating his undiagnosed bipolar disorder with coffee and sugar.
The chapters trade points of view between the two. In Lily's chapters, we see how she's struggling for acceptance at home and at school. Her father is dragging his feet in signing the papers for the hormone therapy. Lily can't start unless both parents sign off on it as she is a minor.
Dunkin meanwhile is dealing with trying to be accepted at the new school. A group of bullies who happen to be athletes and want him to join their team. Dunkin meanwhile has an invisible friend, Phineas, who gets in the way of things. The way to keep Phineas under control is with strong coffee with lots of sugar.
Dunkin — nicknamed by Lily — is the only person besides Lily's mother who accepts her for who she is. Although he's also duped into thinking that she is her own sister — when Lily is forced to attend school under her given name and assigned gender — a boy named Timothy.
While this book does go into more of the technical details of what's required to help preteens with body dysphoria avoid the puberty they don't want so that they can grow into the bodies they do want, Lily isn't as convincing a character as Dunkin is.
How Dunkin tries to cope with his dipolar disorder, how Phineas manifests, how he can't remember what really happened to his father — all come with the raw emotion of someone who has experienced these things first hand. In the afterword, the author explains Dunkin's half of the story was inspired by her son's experience.