Review: Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis.

Posted May 23, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Rowena’s review of Happy Families by Tunita S. Davis.

Main Character: Justin and Ysabel
Series: None
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Teenage twins Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are lucky. Ysabel’s jewelry designs have already caught the eyes of the art world and Justin’s intelligence and drive are sure to gain him entrance into the most prestigious of colleges. They even like their parents. But their father has a secret—one that threatens to destroy the twins’ happy family and life as they know it.

Over the course of spring break, Ysabel and Justin will be forced to come to terms with their dad’s new life, but can they overcome their fears to piece together their happy family again?

I requested this book for review so long ago that by the time I picked it to read, I had forgotten what it was about. I’m so glad that I read this book. It was an eye opening story about a pair of twins who’s lives are turned inside out after their father comes out about being a cross dresser. Their father, Christopher Nicholas likes to dress up as a woman and when he’s dressed up as a woman prefers to be called Christine. Reading about Ysabel and Justin coming to terms with what this means for their family, their confusion over what happens from here on out felt totally real and I couldn’t put this book down.

I thought Davis did a fabulous job of telling this story. We get the story from both Ys and Justin’s POV and I thought it was great to get both of their takes on what’s going on since all of this affected the both of them. They’re both dealing with this differently so it was good to get in the both of their heads.

Both Justin and Ysabel are mad, embarrassed and confused as to where to go from here. They know the truth about their father and they’re forced to deal with it over Spring Break. They’re mad because they’re not ready to talk about it. They’re not ready to deal with it and I thought Davis did a great job of making the reader see that, understand that and my heart broke a bit while I was reading this book because it’s a tough situation to be in and I couldn’t imagine having to deal with learning something like that with my own parents.

The confusion going on between Justin and Ys was interesting because even though their Dad was still their Dad, they didn’t know if he was gay or if they had a Dad anymore since their Dad wanted to be a woman. My eyes ate up every word in this book because I’ve never been through this and it isn’t an easy thing for a teenager to deal with so I’m glad that this book was written, I’m glad that this book was published and I’m glad that even though I don’t know anyone who’s been through this or been through it myself, that I got a little peek into character’s who have gone through this because as they were being educated about all of this, I was too.

My heart went out to both Justin and Ysabel. They were characters that were real with real problems and dealt with their issues regarding their Dad and his new lifestyle realistically and I appreciated this book more than I thought I would since this isn’t usually the kind of book that I’m interested in reading.

It’s a good book and a great story. I’m glad that I requested this book for review.

..and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Random House.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit:

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10 responses to “Review: Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis.

  1. I’ve never heard of this, it sounds really interesting. I might pick it up in the future, since you liked it. Great review 🙂

  2. I don’t think I had heard of this book before, but it sounds really interesting.
    In college I had a teacher who liked to go give class dressed as a woman and he even gave us this BIG CHAT at the beginning of each of his courses about what it mean to him and in his case. It was very eye opening, and I hadn’t seen something like that in a book before – sure, the mother/father decides to come out of the closet yes, but not something about crossdressing.

    I’ll try to check this one out.

  3. I have this on my review pile, and you are making me way more inclined to pick it up soon. I haven’t read much about transgendered characters, but it’s always an interesting experience – plus, come one, it’s a unique storyline in publishing today. I’m glad to hear that it’s GOOD. I can’t wait to read it for myself.

  4. The cover is fantastic! I’m so glad to see books like this being published. I’m definitely reading it, thanks for reviewing it! I’m also looking forward to reading Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new trend in YA because there’s no better way to learn tolerance and acceptance than by reading books portraying difference.

  5. Rowena

    @Cindy: I came across it on NetGalley and I’m glad that I read it. I enjoyed it and so did people around blogland so I think you’d enjoy it.

    @Alex: I think because this was something that I’ve never dealt with and can’t ever see going through, it made me that much more interested in reading it and the way that the author wrote their story made me care about the characters too. It was a great read for me.

  6. {i’m following your blog}

    I am leaving this note to let you know that I am following you. If you aren’t already following me can you please return the favor and leave a comment on my most recent entry. Please and thank you! 🙂


  7. Rowena

    @John: I usually don’t have an interest in reading stories like this but I do now. I agree that it was an interesting concept for a story and I’m so glad that I read it. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    @Brie: I completely agree with that, I definitely learned a thing or two and I’m so glad for it.

  8. Thanks for putting the book on my radar Rowena. Wasn’t aware of this book either. Sounds pretty interesting and unusual.

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