Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Luna


By Julie Anne Peters

Regan's brother Liam is actually a girl, inside.

Regan's known this and kept the secret, inside.

But now Liam's transitioning outside -- becoming "Luna."

One of the few YA novels with a Transgender (Male-To-Female) character!

"Luna" has also won a ton of awards, including being a 2004 National Book Award Finalist in Young People's Literature and a 2005 Stonewall Honor Book! Check out Julie Anne Peter's website for the complete list of accolades...

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

6 comments:

Denise said...

I loved Luna! Excellent book. Great characters.

hayden said...

** copied from my blog (revised) **

The strength of Peters’ novel lies not only in the subject matter, but also in its deceptively simple and straightforward presentation. The narrative style - i.e., short, clean prose - figures partly into this, but it’s really more about Regan’s perceptions of the world and of the people around her that I’m referring to. Peters vividly captures the adolescent mind - the intensity, the wild imaginings, the myopia, and the fierce devotion and loyalty - through Regan and her struggles between her support of her transitioning brother, her ambivalence toward her parents, and her personal life, which has been swept off to the side in favor of Liam. We’re given a pretty skewed view of events as they unfold (the novel’s told in first person POV), but as readers, we can still see past Regan’s biases, complaints, self-pity, and conflicted loyalties and see - really see - Liam’s painful transitioning process to Luna much more than Regan can (or at least do so much more quickly, with Regan catching up eventually).

The strongest element in the story, I think, is Regan’s family - her parents, in particular, and their backstories and relationships with their children. This is where I think Peters pulls off a very clever sleight of hand. While Regan almost successfully wins us over to her side of “parents are evil” observations, Peters challenges our antipathies with clues she strews all over the book through flashbacks and present events via details that seem trivial (only because Regan treats them as such), adding to the spiraling conflict till the decisive moment. While the characters seem to be at first very simple and easy to decipher, Peters pulls the rug from under our feet again and again.

The only one-dimensional character appears to be Hoyt, but even his flatness makes him more of a representative of a certain group of people as opposed to a unique character.

As far as weaknesses go, I could only point out Regan’s “lovable klutz” characterization, which feels overdone. A girl tripping over a garbage can and disrupting a Chemistry class - or knocking heads, literally, with her Lab partner - or crushing her Lab partner’s hand against her locker door - etc. - individually, they’re charming, quirky, and can break up the novel’s tone with sympathetic humor. Unfortunately, they tend to happen in clusters, with Regan causing one disaster after another (all accidentally) in a single scene. Regan’s characterization during these moments teeters on the edge of caricature, and I must admit that it does get wearing and annoying after a while. This is a minor quibble, however, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, Luna is both poignant and heartbreaking, beautifully written with a very sensitive eye to all those affected the most by a transgender teen’s need to live as she’s meant to live.

Shani said...

This is, by far, my favourtie book ever.

TGQ said...

A beautiful story that in a way shows all sides to the transformation of Luna. I enjoy the fact that it is in Regan's point of view because it shows the struggles of everyone around Luna, as well as her own. A very powerful book I'd recommend.

Shirley said...

Another one is Almost Perfect. I mentioned it in the general comments section for needing to be read, but it is male to female transgender and is a lovely story of acceptance and friendship told in an honest, genuine view.

Lee Wind said...

Shirley, thanks for letting me know about "Almost Perfect!" It sounds great, and I'll be posting on it soon.
Namaste,
Lee