Too Bright to See

Finalist, National Book Awards 2021 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9780593111154
Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Kyle Lukoff. (Photo credit: Mike Funk) author photo
Kyle Lukoff

Kyle Lukoff is the author of many books for young readers. His debut middle-grade novel Too Bright To See received a Newbery honor, the Stonewall award, and was a National Book Award Finalist. More about this author >

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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.

Judges Citation

Too Bright to See raises the familiar within the unfamiliar in its ghostly story of recognition. Kyle Lukoff patiently reveals Bug’s growing discomfort with scripts of girlhood and reflects the process of self-knowledge. Introspective narration murmurs of Bug’s transgender identity. Readers cheer, they weep at the liberating moment when Bug sees and names himself to himself. Lukoff’s warmth, clarity, and unquestioned acceptance in this welcome coming-out story will haunt us far into the future.


Kyle Lukoff, 2021 National Book Awards Young People’s Literature Finalist, reads from TOO BRIGHT TO SEE