Nothing ever happens here ISBN: 9781474966238
Published by Usborne, 2020
From the very beginning of this novel, we know there is something difficult going on in Izzy's family. They are close and loving, even though Izzy's older sister, Megan has become a difficult teenager, and younger brother, Jamie is a bit of a pain. But Izzy in year eight, shy and somewhat withdrawn, has a best friend, Grace, who is the polar opposite, and they make a dynamic duo between them. It is chapter four before we discover what the problem is. Dad has decided to transition from male to female after a lifetime of believing that he is a she. Mum has accepted the situation and there is no way that the family will split up, but Izzy finds it very hard to understand as she and her dad have always been close. Her angst about other people finding out, her worries about what this means for the family, and her great need for Grace's support make for an unhappy time, even though she and Grace have both been given major roles in the schools' performance of 'Guys and Dolls'. Bullies at school don't help, and as the story develops, one of them is particularly despicable. There is lots of discussion in the family, with everyone trying to understand, but little seems to help. Gradually, Izzy begins to see how important the transition is for her father, but it is only when 'she' does a TV interview along with a pastor who believes that transitioning is 'an abomination' that Izzy sees her father acquit himself with such verve that she becomes proud and accepting herself. There is so much in this lengthy and meaty book about how families cope, how they can come to terms with a situation that seems in the beginning impossible to accept and how they learn to love each other again in a different way. But I had to wonder what happens when a family isn't this close and accepting - what happens then to another Izzy who is shy and diffident except when on stage. There are no easy answers, but one feels this story is a good way to learn how to accept the unthinkable. Very well written and believable. While there is no picture, the book is available through Amazon and book shops.