Happy Families by Tanita Davis
Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are twins from a happy home. Their parents encourage and support their extracurricular activities. This cohesive family unit, also includes a set of grandparents that live close by. The story alternates between Ysabel and Justin. In the first few chapters the author gives the reader the opportunity to see the Nicholas family in the before, when their joy was second nature. In the after the twins are trying to understand their dad's secret, that he self identifies as transgender, this revelation forces the Nicholas family to rediscover their happiness which always came so easily.
Davis gives Ysabel and Justin their own personalities and developments them so one can not help but get invested in their stories. Caring about the twins means also caring about the family as a whole. The twins will be spending spring break with their dad. It is the first time Ysabel and Justin will be with their dad, since he stopped having to hide a part of who he is from his family. Through the twins, the reader learns how important family and faith are to the Nicholas.
I always enjoy Davis's straight forward approach as well as her ability to create realistic and engaging characters. Davis has written three very different YA novels, however they all have a common core, family. And the author excels at creating well round novels centered around families.
An excerpt via Random House
Happy Families is the antidote to the "I'm a Christian unless disease" by Ashley Hope Perez