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Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Happy Families (edition 2013)

by Tanita S. Davis

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824326,575 (3.17)None
In alternating chapters, sixteen-year-old twins Ysabel and Justin share their conflicted feelings as they struggle to come to terms with their father's decision to dress as a woman.
Title:Happy Families
Authors:Tanita S. Davis
Info:Ember (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 240 pages

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Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis


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Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis is about a family being torn apart by the father's secret identity as a trans woman named Christine. Their perfect world is shattered and he's forced to slink away to save the family from the horrible embarrassment.

Truth be told I never got far enough into the book to meet Christopher or Christine. Instead I had to contend with the oh-so-perfect and über talented twins: Ysbael and Justin. Two chapters of their successful hobbies and their religious faith and I was ready to throw the book out my window.

As it was a library book, I chose instead to return it unfinished. ( )
  pussreboots | May 11, 2015 |
A little preachy at points, but a much needed addition to the trans lit tradition. Justin and Ysabel are twins and Dad has another side of him in Christine. I think Davis (whose A La Carte I love) creates a believable story and explores some of the issues with having a family with many facets. Maybe not a Printz, but it better get a Lambda nod for sure. ( )
  Brainannex | Oct 25, 2013 |
I loved the descriptions of making lampwork beads. I know that's far from the point of this Issue Book, but it was still my favorite part. Solid plotting, interesting story.

I got very involved in the story, enough so that I was annoyed with the parents not telling the kids enough. Silly parents. I had some trouble distinguishing the twins' voices.

( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Twins Ysabel and Justin have a pretty good idea about where their lives are headed. Ysabel is an artist and aiming to show her glasswork in some upcoming shows and ultimately go to art school. Justin is master of the debate team and his five-year plan includes getting in to Stanford. But nothing could prepare them for the curveball their dad throws them: he's a transgender person, enjoys dressing in women's clothing, and he's moving out. When Ysabel and Justin are forced to spend their spring break with him, they'll meet some other transgender people and start to heal their family.

This is a sensitive and realistic portrayal of a family going through some tough changes. Whether or not teen readers are dealing with this same issue, teens will find much to identify with here, as Ysabel and Justin react to the changes and start to reach out for help. The dual perspective didn't quite do it for me - neither voice was strong enough for me to tell them apart. But this is a valuable addition to the YA books being published that address GLBT issues.

Readalikes: From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson, Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher, and the adult nonfiction books She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Dress Codes by Noelle Howey. ( )
  abbylibrarian | Jan 2, 2012 |
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In alternating chapters, sixteen-year-old twins Ysabel and Justin share their conflicted feelings as they struggle to come to terms with their father's decision to dress as a woman.

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