Review: Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Published February 1st, 2006 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st, 2004).
Literary Awards: Colorado Book Award for Young Adult (2005), National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature (2004), Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2007)
Regan’s brother Liam can’t stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister’s clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam’s family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen’s struggle for self-identity and acceptance. (Goodreads)
This book tackles tough transgender topics that are still relevant today. It offers the reader a lot to think about. Two of the best themes represented were gender specific language (example: pretty & handsome) and gender role expectations. While Luna tackled these issues, the narrative was from Luna’s sister rather than the trans character. It could have been a completely different story told from Luna’s perspective. Without the transgender sibling, the story would have read like any other tomboy/shy girl meets a cute guy in science class story. Clueless and distant parents rounded out the mix. Even with its flaws I was impressed. The ending was a bit lackluster, leaving me wanting more, but maybe that was intentional.
Characters. I really enjoyed the character of Liam/Luna. She really did have to play 2 different roles. She played her boy role during the day and in front of her father and at night and with her sister Regan she was able to shed the falsities and become who she really was. The parents were so darn clueless and distant that it really bothered me. I don’t think the story would have worked as well with involved parents though. A cute guy and a best friend were thrown into the mix as well.
Setting. Average family household & high school.
Plot. Luna wants to be who she truly is on the inside but she is frightened of what everyone else will think. She is depressed because of this and relies on her sister Regan a bit too much in the process.
Conflict. Transgenderism + transgender topics (see above).
Resolution. Overall I am happy the characters reached the point they did within the story, but I really wanted to know what happened next. An epilogue would have been greatly appreciated!
Writing. Fast paced, easy to read.
Rating. 4/5 stars.
Recommended to anyone who is transgender or knows someone that is transgender. Also a great diverse read.