Luna by Julie Anne Peters
ISBN-13: 978-0316011273
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2004
256 p.

GENRE: LGBT Fiction, Realistic Fiction

TEASER: Regan has been keeping the secret that her brother is really her sister her whole life, but now everything is going to change.

SUMMARY: Regan O’Neill has always known that her brother Liam was different. In fact, she is the only one who knows his deepest secret; Liam is really Luna, a transgender girl. As Luna’s desires to transition increase, both Regan and Luna’s love and courage will be put to the test.

CRITIQUE: Regan’s voice throughout this novel is exquisitely honest. She deals with her fears about Luna’s transition from the surgery and people’s reception of Luna. There are even times when Regan lashes out at Luna because of the burden of their shared secret. The burden of their secret is becoming too much for her to take. She is also faced with the problem of juggling a potential romantic relationship and constantly being their or her sibling. She is trying to grow up and experience high school but feels like she can’t do that and keep making sure that Luna is in a healthy state of mind.

There is also the added obstacle of their parents. One of the main themes in the novel is gender roles. This debate is seen through their parents. Their mother used to be the dotting mother and housewife but now ignores her family for her new job. She even ignores the entire scene when Luna comes out to her father and is threatened to be disowned. She does not stick up for her children and this outrages Regan. Regan misses her mother and wishes she could be supportive of her family and deal with her job. Their father is set in the traditional gender roles. He pressures Liam constantly to play sports and expects Regan to do the housework and cook dinners when their mother does not. This family is holding onto a broken facade throughout the majority of the novel. It slowly crumbles as Luna starts to transition.

Even though Regan and Luna face obstacles and the ending isn’t a perfect one, this was a very uplifting novel. It inspired hope that transgender teens are not alone and that there is support out there.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Anne Peters is an American author who was born in Jamestown, new York. She began writing later in her career. She claims she never wanted to be an author and was shocked when it happened. She says she hated reading as a teenager. Now, she has written nearly twenty books for young adults and children.

She has worked as a teacher, a computer programmer, a research analyst, and systems engineer. Other titles by Julie Anne Peters include Far From Xanadu, Keeping You a Secret, and Between Mom and Jo. She has a new book out title She Loves You, She Loves You Not…

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.julieannepeters.com/

READING LEVEL: 14+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some may object to the portrayal of a transsexual character.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: LGBT Studies

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Regan lashes out at Luna a few times in the book. Do you think she was too harsh?

It is revealed later on in the novel that Regan and Luna’s mother new about Liam all along. Do you think that makes it worse that she ignores her children’s problems?

WHY INCLUDED: This book deals with a subject that has only in the last decade been written about with compassion. There are a lot of people out there who don’t even understand what transgender means. It is my hope that by including novels like Luna in schools and libraries, we can gain a better understanding of transsexuality.

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