This book got under my skin in a big way.For starters, all characters in this novel felt flat to me all stereotype and caricature no real depth In short, they were unlikable because there was nothing earnestly human about them their imperfections were forced rather than fluid Regan s self deprication, for example and their conflicts were heavy handed Liam Luna is portrayed as an object in this novel, nothing , and is extreeeeemely underdeveloped Regan is supposed to be Luna s closest confidante and deeply connected to her in all ways and yet her narrative allows us little to no insight into Luna s traumas, therefore rendering said traumas to feel completely shallow and insincere It really frustrated me to read yet another text about gender and sex see What Happened to Lani Garver that creates an inside outside dichotomy, always placing the LGBTQ character on the outside, alienated from the narrator and therefore the reader The reader is placed in the position of observer, totally removed from the experience of the character who is at the center of the plot, positioned in the head of the narrator who is watching as though on the other side of a glass wall I get it, narrator having a transgender brother sister friend is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard for you and let s just all wade through how hard it is for you and why can t your brother sister friend just be normal and who is s he anyways and oh my gosh why does she have to get bullied and take over my life and blah blah blah How about a text that renders the transgender character as than just a plot point for the crappy development of an obnoxious oh my gosh I m so ugly and stupid but oh wow this gorgeous boy is talking to me which means I must actually be beautiful and awesome and oh wow this sexist teacher thinks I have potential so I m secretly really awesome at school and oh by the way my brother sister friend is just making all of that soooooo much complicated protagonist Gag.And yes, I get it, Peters wanted to explore the difficulties of loving someone whose identity is not easy the tension between being for yourself and being for someone else the burden of carrying your own trauma as well as the traumas of someone you love and those intentions are great and honorable and all that The problem is just that this book lacked all nuance and subtlety and just read like trashy, predictable teen lit.I was left feeling as though this book posed itself as an insightful text into a sister and by extension, a family grappling with her brother s grappling with his sex, but the way Peters developed her characters only alienated me from their experiences Plus, I thought the narration was overwrought and convenient, as was the resolution Sigh Maybe my expectations were too high, but this read like a book for people who don t really want to know what it s like to be trans, but to know what it s like to know someone who is People who want to get close but not too close to understanding.I don t want to think about why how this became a finalist for a national book award. Although Luna is a well written book on a topic that demands wide spread exploration, its narrative ultimately promotes the wrongness and or otherness of trans characters by focusing on a cis hetero and ultimately much less interesting main character.Luna is one of those books I read a long time ago long enough that I can t, in good conscience, review the prose, because I don t remember it though, perhaps that is telling in and of itself I read Luna while I was in high school and coming to terms with being queer, myself, mostly because when you re queer and looking for representation, you generally have to settle for whatever you can get your hands on This was before the Tumblr age, when LGBT sections in libraries were virtually nonexistent and this sort of book was viewed as being sort of taboo though I suppose it still is , and I remember the subject matter in this book being treated in the exact same way this is a freaky and taboo situation where a narrator s sibling doesn t happen to be cis Crazy stuff, kids.Maybe it s obvious from the way I wrote that, but I m not particularly happy with the way trans issues are dealt with in this book, if only because the one thing that stuck with me from this book was the overall tone of it all There were things in this book that I carried around with me for years, until I finally became involved with real trans issues and finally shelved them The fact that the narrator of this book is a cis hetero one who refuses to use her sibling s preferred pronouns throughout most of the narrative and views her sibling s trans ness as alien and unrelateable is something that stuck with me long after I put the book down Luna is by far the interesting character, and her struggles as she comes to term with her gender identity are very relatable and engaging The fact that you, as a reader, are forced to hang out with Regan instead is almost as insulting as it is disappointing it means that you re by default forced into this unsavory position of siding with her as she misgenders Luna and feels ashamed of her.What all of this really points to is a cis hetero author who thinks of Regan as automatically being relatable than Luna someone for whom trans issues can only be viewed through the lens of otherness, as something that occurs outside of them And that s why I don t really think of this as an LGBT book I think of it as a bare bones pamphlet for cis hetero folks, queer literature that isn t written for a queer audience I don t think I would read this book again, because I remember being mildly offended by it when I didn t know shit about trans issues, and didn t have a personal stake in trans representation in media Now that I do, I worry that it would be bad enough to make me legitimately angry.
Overall I did really like this book There were a few things that could have been better but it was good Firstly, I thought this book was interesting and it kept my attention throughout This book is really simple in terms of language, story and writing style and that simplicity had its pros and cons A pro was the fact that it was so simple that it was really easy to understand and I think that is good because younger readers can grasp everything very easily Another pro to the simplicity was that it was a quick book to read and the last pro is that because the story was so simple, it is easy to just focus on Regan and Liam Regan and Luna The biggest con for me, was the fact that the simplicity took away from deep emotional insights from Luna I got the emotion behind why she wanted to transition but I feel like I needed emotion and heartbreak I liked the fact that it was from Regan s POV A book from Luna s POV would have been very different could have been worse or better I think a perfect book would have been one with multiple POV s I didn t particularly like Regan that much She seemed really selfish to me but her insight gave us a view into that of a person with a transgendered sibling I didn t mind the representation of Luna I know a lot of people say that it s a bad representation because not all transgender girls are like Luna but it s important to note that Peters was just giving one example of a transgender girl If she had numerous transgendered females and they were all the same then I would have a problem with it The ending was a bit abrupt I would have liked it to have been fleshed out or something else like a prologue about what happened to Luna and Regan A little closure would have been nice I would recommend this book and I would read another book by Julie Anne Peters Out of sight, out of mind My philosophy of life in a test tube. This book is an amazing step forward in YA literature Other reviewers have given you the premise of the plot, I just wanted to add that I thought it was BRILLIANT that it was told from the sister s point of view Within the largely conservative area I live in, not a lot of people would be interested in this book had it been told from Liam Luna s point of view But as it comes from the sister, it s a safe vantage It s the perfect vehicle for introducing a LOT of people to an issue they might not have understood, nor something they would have wanted to understand I do think, looking at it analytically, that this book is useful as an advocacy tool than one of the fictional self help sorts At any rate, it s a giant step forward in YA lit for transgender issues And it s a well told, well written story to boot. DNF at 47%.When I first started this book, I thought I would like it I was disappointed that the book wasn t from Luna s point of view, but I thought maybe it would be a good book to get my family members, maybe reading about Regan s journey of discovery with regards to her sister would help them.Except then Regan turned out to be a brat.She keeps talking about how she has no life because of Luna, but honestly all I see is a spoiled brat who can t step away from her own innane high school drama long enough to realize that what Luna is going through is a lot bigger than having to miss a date to babysit Or losing your job because you went on the date.When she determined it was entirely Luna s fault that she lost her job, I knew this book and I were done Regan was the idiot She needs some perspective. This book sort of bothered me in many ways It wasn t because it dealt with transgender issues I was pretty excited to read a book about a trans teen especially since I haven t seen or read a lot of YA literature that dealt with that It was because of the way it was handled.Peters is a believer of authentic voices, so she portrayed the narrator as the sister of Luna a 16 year old boy, Liam, who is struggling with keeping her true identity a secret Unfortunately, this placed most of the focus on the sister, Regan It was all about Regan how tough it was to keep the secret, the pressure it placed on her, how afraid she was when Liam experiments with revealing Luna in public Although these pressures are very real, I had wanted to read about the experience of a trans teen, not that of a trans teen s sister Many times I thought it took away the focus from Luna, which was slightly disappointing It also made Liam Luna seem selfish and needy, always asking much of Regan Regan, of course, asked for barely anything in return except a normal life.One major thing that bothered me spoiler alert Regan is asked to babysit on the weekend, and having no social life, she agrees Of course, this is when the hot guy asks her out As repayment for all that Regan has done for her, Liam offers to babysit so that Regan can go on her first date Great Except Regan doesn t tell the family about the new arrangement She comes to the house, has the hot guy pick her up there, and Liam arrives after the parents leave Regan s plan is to return before the parents get back Obviously this does not work out, and she walks in the door right when the parents are interrogating Liam about trying on the wife s clothing.My problem with this was that first of all, Regan was incredibly irresponsible No wonder the parents flipped even if you completely put aside the fact that Liam was wearing the wife s clothing, the parents basically walked in the house to find some kid they didn t know As a parent, I would have been upset to find someone who wasn t the babysitter in my house, especially with no babysitter in sight, right So, she loses her job but blames it on Liam, who the parents of course think has some sort of disease and tells their mother she told them off props Anyway, I also don t think a 16 year old kid would risk his secret to try on the clothing of someone he was babysitting for Is that just me I just found that a somewhat unrealistic scenario in general, particularly because it is frequently mentioned that Liam has a secret stash of clothes Regan allows him access to hers Liam s excuse for this is I couldn t help myself This is where I started getting frustrated No you cannot help yourself for being who you are but I felt that sent somewhat of a condescending message It should be along the lines of This is who I am not I couldn t help myself It makes it sound like Liam has a lack of self control, some sort of drug that she just has to give into It s the same excuse people make when they try to claim that homosexuals are pedophiles oh they just can t help themselves It makes them sound like deviants It s wrong I thought that Peters should have done without that little passage, because it s not that she can t help himself , it s that she was born in the wrong identity This came up a few times in the story, and it really bothered me every time because I just felt it was the wrong language to use I was also confused by what the preferred pronoun usage was since it goes back and forth and if it does in this review, that is why.Don t get me wrong Peters did do some research I was still compelled, curious as to what would happen And Regan does learn in the end to truly accept and understand her brother It s definitely pro transgender, and maybe it would help some teens learn a little bit about gender identity issues in general even if I thought it was condescending heavy handed at times Through Regan, the reader can learn a little bit about transitioning and the concept of gender Hopefully, readers will be inspired to do some research on their own Even though I was not fond of the way the characters were portrayed I found Regan whiny at times my issues with Liam Luna s portrayal I addressed above , they were still fleshed out and felt for the most part realistic If you give this book to teens to read, be prepared to talk about gender with them. Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.comLUNA is the first book I ve ever read that deals specifically with transgender issues Although you get a feel for what the book is about by reading the back copy in effect, that Regan s brother, Liam, is a woman trapped in a man s body you don t get the full spectrum of what this actually means until you reach the end of chapter one Rolling over, I muttered, You re such a freakshow Her hair splayed across my pillow, tickling my face I know, she murmured in my ear But you love me, don t you Her lips grazed my cheek I swatted her away As I heard her slog across the floor toward my desk where she d unveiled her makeup caddy in all its glory a sigh of resignation escaped my lips Yeah, I loved her I couldn t help it She was my brother Liam is the type of boy who, even as a small child, wanted to by the Mommy when he and Regan played house For his ninth birthday, he asked for a Prom Barbie and a bra Now, as a senior in high school, Liam is consumed with letting out Luna, the name he s taken for his female self His dad, of course, is adamant that his son will finally play baseball His mother, lost in a world of uppers and downers, pretends not to notice when her son offers to fix dinner or do the laundry And Regan, the only one who knows her brother for who he is a sister named Luna is losing sleep and a chance for her own life by hiding the secret Something has to change, and it finally does when Luna decides to go all the way, to actually become Luna, the woman he knows he is But what will it mean for his family, especially Regan, who has spent so long loving her brother, protecting his secrets, being a part of his life It might just be time for Regan to have a childhood of her own, and for Luna to come out of the darkness, out of the shadow of the moon, and into the light LUNA is an emotional, heartfelt read that deftly deals with the issue of transgenderism in a way that makes it believable and important I had never really thought of what it must be like for someone who believes they were born with the wrong body, but after reading LUNA, my heart and support goes out to anyone who has ever suffered with this issue This is a book not to be missed.