“Husky” by Justin Sayre— Change and Acceptance


Sayre, Justin. “Husky, Grosset & Dunlap, 2015.

Change and Acceptance

Amos Lassen

Twelve-year-old Davis is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in an old brownstone with his mother and grandmother in Brooklyn. His favorite activities are watching people Prospect Park as well as visiting his mom in the bakery she owns, and listening to the biggest operas he can find as he walks everywhere. When we meet him here, he is having a rough time because he is trying to understand his sexuality. He is really worried that people only see him as a husky kid and the girls that he has been friendly with have begun to spend time with Sophie and Ellen, the girls that he thinks are “mean” and with the cool guys at school. As if that is not enough, his mother has begun dating again and his relationship with Nanny, his grandmother seems to be going in a different direction. He knows that he is a good “kid” yet he worries.

Schoolmates have begun calling him names and there is an incident that results in him getting support from unexpected places. He also gains eventually finds that his friends and family will love and support him through the changes that we will go through. This is Justin Sayre’s first novel and it looks at adolescence tenderly and with humor. Today’s middle graders will be able to identify with the “drama between Davis and his friends as their friendships grow and change, as well as the tension that arises when Davis tries to assert some independence from his grandmother”. We feel the truthfulness in the way that Husky’s feelings are portrayed here. What I found so fascinating here is that the words “gay” and homosexual” do not really appear until the last pages of the book.

Davis lives his life admirably but he does have problems transitioning to middle school where the rules of boyhood and girlhood are strict and enforced. Author Sayre shows that Davis does not have a sense of guilt about “unspeakable” desires, rather he is confused as to where in the world he fits and finding others that will be there with him. Sayre seems to fell what Davis feels as he goes through this rough stage in his life. I love that Davis’ journey into finding himself is natural and not forced. We relive this with Davis and remember how it was for us.

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