Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 2012

Format: Fiction

Rating: 3.5

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book?
Happy Families is about a family, especially two teenagers, struggling to accept the father’s trangender lifestyle.  This is an important topic and I’m glad to see it well addressed in a YA book.  Most novels tend to focus on teens struggling with gender issues.  This time the teens are struggling to understand what it all means for their parent.  I found the confusion and general unease to be very authentic.  The teens just aren’t sure how to reconcile their experience with the father they’ve always known with the woman he knows inside.  I’m also glad to see the family in therapy.  The author did a great job portraying this as a long and difficult journey for the entire family.

What didn’t you like about the book?I normally like books written in multiple perspectives but this one was confusing.  And the flashbacks added to the jumble.  I also really didn’t understand the non-primary relationships.  There was a weird connection between one of the kids and another girl and it seemed to come out of nowhere.

To whom would you recommend this book?  ANyone who likes family dramas will like this one.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, an additional purchase for high schools

Where would you shelve it and why? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Not unless you need insight into transgender issues.

Sharon Colvin
Chelmsford Public Library
June 18, 2012


About Sharon Colvin

Sharon Colvin is past chair of the Youth Services Section of MLA and a Youth Librarian in Chelmsford, MA.
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