Published by Dial Books
Summary: Bug’s house has always shown signs of being haunted, and when Uncle Roderick passes away, it seems as though there is one more ghost, this one with a message for Bug. Bug is also struggling with the idea of starting middle school with an identity that never feels quite right. Moira, Bug’s best friend, is suddenly interested in clothes, makeup, and new friends, but none of that feels right to Bug. Possibly guided by the spirit of Uncle Roderick, Bug makes a surprising discovery–he is a transgender boy. It seems as though Uncle Roderick suspected that this might be the case and has guided Bug to learn his true identity so he can start middle school as himself, taking on Uncle Roderick’s middle name, Thomas, for his own. 192 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: I reviewed Alex Gino’s George (now called Melissa’s Story) back in 2015, and I believe that’s the last time I’ve read a middle grade novel with a transgender main character. So it’s an understatement to say the need is there, and Kyle Luyken has done a beautiful job with this story that will be embraced by any kid struggling with identity. It’s also a bit of a spooky ghost story, which is always fun, and which adds an interesting dimension to Bug’s slow realization of who he is. Currently #16 on the Goodreads Newbery list.
Cons: I was hoping for at least one middle school girl character who wasn’t interested in clothes, makeup, and hairstyles.