A Newbery Honor Book • Winner of the Stonewall Book Award • A National Book Award Finalist
"A gentle, glowing wonder, full of love and understanding." –The New York Times Book Review
Cover may vary.
It's the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug's best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn't particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there's something more important to worry about: A ghost is haunting Bug's eerie old house in rural Vermont...and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they're trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light--Bug is transgender.
About the Author
Kyle Lukoff is the author of many books for young readers. His debut middle-grade novel, Too Bright To See, received a Newbery honor, the Stonewall award, and was a National Book Award finalist. His picture book When Aidan Became A Brother also won the Stonewall. He has forthcoming books about mermaids, babies, apologies, and lots of other topics. While becoming a writer he worked as a bookseller for ten years, and then nine more years as a school librarian.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
"This book is a gentle, glowing wonder, full of love and understanding, full of everything any of us would wish for our children. It will almost certainly be banned in many places, but your child almost certainly needs to read it." –The New York Times Book Review
“A tender portrayal of a kid who is just coming to understand who he is.” –TIME
★ “This coming-of-age and coming-out story takes a needed departure from other stories about transgender youth....A chilling, suspenseful ghost story balances the intimate, introspective narrative style.…Haunting and healing.” –Kirkus, starred review
★ "Smart and thought-provoking.... Through Bug’s journey to self-realization and self-acceptance, and the wonderfully nuanced understanding of gender he comes to, Lukoff provides a tender rumination on grief, love, and identity." –Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “Equal parts unsettling, heartwarming, and satisfying…a nuanced and compelling exploration of gender, friendship, and family.” –Booklist, starred review
★ "Lukoff’s three primary themes—gender identity, grief, and ghostly hauntings—work in elegant harmony despite the load. Lukoff navigates Bug’s journey of identity and discovery with grace, welcoming...A hopeful examination of grief and gender, and a good ghost story to boot." –School Library Journal, starred review
★ “Lukoff combines gothic horror vibes with a slow-building trans awakening…The spooks and mysteries are an added bonus that sets this narrative apart from similar titles.” — BCCB
★ “While gender identity remains prominent throughout, Lukoff also combines pitch-perfect adolescent angst, evolving friendships and spooky encounters to create a welcoming story accessible to young readers of all backgrounds.” — Shelf Awareness
"When we talk about wanting to see a diverse range of books for kids, this is precisely what we should be thinking of.... Smart. Original. Necessary. ” –Betsy Bird, Fuse8
“Bug’s first-person, present-tense narration gives readers a close look at his sense that things don’t quite fit….and his gradual understanding of why that is.” –The Horn Book
"A much-needed book about the acceptance of a transgender boy who finds the support he needs from his family, his best friend, and eventually his friends at school." –School Library Connection
Boston GlobeBest Book of 2021 TIMEBest Children’s Book of 2021 Washington PostBest Children's Book of 2021 New York Public Library Best Book for Kids of 2021 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book for 2021 NPR Best Book of 2021 PWBest Book of 2021 Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021 Kirkus Best Book of 2021 School Library Journal Best Book of 2021