Too Bright to See

 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
213 0
Too Bright to See
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
April 20, 2021
ISBN
978-0593111154
Buy This Book
      

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.

Editor reviews

4 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.5(2)
Characters
 
N/A(0)
Writing Style
 
N/A(0)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
A beautiful love letter to transkids
(Updated: February 25, 2022)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
N/A
Writing Style
 
N/A
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Bug isn’t doing great. Uncle Roderick just died, middle school is about to start, and things with best friend Moira are weird. Moira wants to do makeovers, go shopping for dresses, and decide which boys are cuter, none of which appeals to Bug. The home Bug lives in is always a little haunted, but lately, the haunting is intensifying, and Bug would rather solve that mystery than perfect an eyelash curl. Whoever the ghost is clearly has a message for Bug, and it’s not what Bug thinks it is.

TOO BRIGHT TO SEE is a beautiful love letter to transkids. Bug initially believes he is a girl, the seemingly default option almost everyone else believes too. Bug’s journey in discovering he is a boy and not a girl is done with the kindest and gentlest tone. That isn’t to say Bug’s journey is easy or all sunshine, however. Bug is in deep grief over his uncle when the story begins and is surrounded by scary, awkward, and uncomfortable changes, like his mom being stressed about money, his best friend getting serious about making big changes before middle school, and the increased haunting activity. Bug is worried he won’t have any friends if Moira drops him and that he and his mom might have to move if her business doesn’t pick up. When the hauntings pick up and he starts to realize it might be Uncle Roderick, he then has the added stress of trying to figure out what his message is.

Kyle Lukoff’s writing is stunning. I was immediately drawn in by Bug’s voice, and there are so many beautiful moments of dialogue. Though this novel is only the shorter side at under 200 pages, every sentence is packed with clear thoughtfulness and care. There is an especially beautiful scene when Bug realizes he is transgender, and all the pieces he’s being trying to figure out come together. Something clicks in place, and Bug’s joy is bright and shining. I also appreciated the care given to the time following Bug’s realization. Though he knows his mom is supportive of other LGBTQ+ people, he still has a moment of doubt where he isn’t sure if that applies to him as well. He also wonders if Moira will understand and if any of the kids at middle school will bully him. The concluding chapters do a wonderful job wrapping everything up.

TOO BRIGHT TO SEE will fit perfectly on shelves with MELISSA by Alex Gino and KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES by Kacen Callendar.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
An emotional journey to self-discovery
(Updated: February 26, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
N/A
Writing Style
 
N/A
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
The story is told first-person through Bug’s eyes, which makes sense since the main issues are happening within Bug's mind. Bug was close to Uncle Roderick, but he’s recently died after spending his final months in hospice. Memories of him constantly arise in Bug's thoughts, and there are troubles dealing with his death. Also, Bug is starting middle school in the fall and might want to try a different image before meeting new classmates. Bug isn’t interested in make-up, new clothes, and boys and doesn't understand how to fit in with girl friends. Revelations about herself steer the plot, as Bug discovers she’s transgender.
This book tells a ghost story, although it’s not really about ghosts. The plot has eerie moments, but it’s not a spooky narrative. Bug’s house has been haunted ever since his mom and uncle moved in, but he’s never seen an actual ghost. He can sense cold areas in the house and sees objects that have been moved. Bug starts to have strange dreams and wakes up to find his bedroom a mess, but he isn’t sure what it all means. His best friend Moira gets freaked out about the idea of ghosts, and always asks Bug if any new ones are around. Bug finally figures out a ghost is trying to communicate with him but has no idea what the message might be or why it's chosen to speak to him.
Moira is a remarkable best friend. She tries to help Bug prepare for middle school, while Bug isn’t always open to her efforts. Ghosts frighten her, but she hangs out with Bug at his haunted house. She still comes over even after some creepy and alarming things happen during a sleepover. Her patience and understanding, even when she doesn’t understand, are remarkable and display admirable qualities of friendship for young readers. She’s amazingly accepting when Bug’s revelation comes to light.
What didn’t work as well:
The book doesn’t have a hook in the beginning to engage a wide range of young readers, and the ghost angle isn’t at the forefront in the beginning. Opening with Uncle Roderick’s death, Bug’s subsequent grieving, and increasing differences with her Moira make the early part of the book depressing. The story is much more engaging once Bug figures out a ghost is trying to make connections. The second half of the book is an emotional ride to discovery.
The Final Verdict:
An emotional journey to self-discovery. The book may not appeal to all young readers, but it’s a book that will enlighten all who read it. It’s an inspirational adventure, and I recommend you give it a shot.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account