Dear Mothman

Abrams/Amulet. Mar. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419764400.
Gr 5 Up–Sixth-grader Noah is struggling after his best friend Lewis’s unexpected death. No one seems to understand his deep grief, and now that Lewis is gone, no one knows that Noah is really Noah, not the name he was given at birth. The only connection Noah can find is to Mothman, a mythical cryptid that was a subject of fascination for Lewis. Noah begins leaving letters out for Mothman at night, writing of his isolation, sadness, and quest for understanding. When Mothman begins leaving scribbles in the notebook overnight, Noah’s curiosity grows. As he slowly begins making friends, he introduces them to Mothman as well, and to his own true self. A book that so honestly depicts a transgender, autistic character is a rarity, and Noah’s story is truly beautiful. His letters to Mothman, interspersed with first-person prose and occasional sketches, speak to a boy struggling to find himself after the one person who truly knew him is gone. Mothman may be symbolic to Noah’s own journey, but the magical realism aspect of the book adds another, deeper layer as Noah begins to find his own strength and share who he is.
VERDICT A triumphant coming-of-age story about gender identity, strength, and friendship, as well as the different ways that people discover who they are.

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