A National Book Award Finalist
"A gentle, glowing wonder, full of love and understanding." –The New York Times Book Review
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A tween is haunted—both literally and figuratively!—by the past, present, and even the future in this touching novel. Eleven-year-old Bug has always felt like an outsider. He’s trying to get through the grief of losing his beloved Uncle Roderick to cancer when the big, slightly haunted Vermont house he shares with his mother starts really acting up. It’s alive with the ghost of Uncle Roderick, who’s almost certainly communicating a message to Bug about his place in the world…if he can just figure out what it is. Author Kyle Lukoff does a great job of making us feel Bug’s loneliness and struggle to define himself. But Lukoff also creates a wonderfully supportive world for Bug, with accepting friends and a compassionate mom—they make us feel the warmth of their embrace as Bug starts to realize that he is transgender. Don’t worry; that’s not a spoiler. The story of Too Bright to See isn’t only about Bug’s newfound understanding. It’s about his journey to finally enter middle school—and life—with confidence.
In this gently paced debut novel by Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother), 11-year-old Bug, a transgender boy, is having a difficult summer. His beloved uncle Roderick, a former drag queen who lived with Bug and his single mother for years, has just died after a long illness, and Bug's remote Vermont house, which has always been haunted, has gained a new ghostly resident one that seems intent on sending Bug a message. As Bug's mother struggles to pay bills and hold onto the white family's home, Bug's best and only friend, Moira, grows intent on giving Bug a feminine makeover before middle school starts, something that Bug grows increasingly uncomfortable with. As he investigates the ghost, he grows closer to the truth of his own identity. Lukoff makes smart and thought-provoking use of the ghost story framework to reflect narrator Bug's experiences as a trans boy, using genuinely creepy horror elements to portray dysphoria and societally enforced femininity. 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. Ages 10 up.)\n