Sunday, September 27, 2009

Luna. By Julie Anne Peters

Title: Luna
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
ISBN: 0316011274
Date: February 1, 2006

Critical Analysis:
This book had it all! A strong plot, rich characterization, a good theme and easy to follow writing style that would keep the reader engaged. This is a story of a teenage girl named Regan who has a transgender brother named Liam and her feelings and experiences relating to her brother’s sexual identity. Liam who is known as Luna when he dresses as a girl goes through many ups and downs while trying to decide on coming out to the world. Regan, who supports her brother, is very concerned on how the world will treat Luna and how her father with traditional views will react.

The plot is very convincing and strong and I feel Luna’s experiences may mimic others who are going through the same identity issues. While I valued the author’s focus on Luna, I really liked how the author scripted the story from Regan’s views. In this type of situation I really liked to see Luna’s world through Regan. I found Regan’s acknowledgements of Liam as her sister interesting and how she always knew he was a girl trapped in a boy’s body even more interesting. Regan’s emotional conflict presented much merit in the story because in my opinion some tend to forget how other’s behaviors can affect someone. For example, Regan had a slumber party when she was younger and Liam joined the fun of finger nail painting and dancing to Madonna without thinking how the other girls would react. It was upsetting to Regan when she had to deal with the other girls saying things like, “your brother is weird” or “what’s wrong with him?”!

The characters in the story were well represented and there was a good combination of negative and positive influences. I would have liked to have seen more of Luna’s views. Luna was a very interesting character but in my opinion never really peaked until the very end when Luna finally confronted his father and then left to go get a transgender operation in Seattle. I felt the theme of the story was well represented and would engage the reader to think more about attitudes of transgender persons and how society views them. The author’s writing style flowed well and kept me engaged. This book would be appealing to teens because of the realism this story has to offer. While this story did have some very dark moments, there were some very funny moments as well. I liked Regan’s love interest, Chris, and with all of her family’s chaos, he did not pass judgment. Good book!

Review Excerpts:
Horn Book (The Horn Book Guide, Fall 2004):
"Regan is the only one who can see her brother Liam's true self--a girl born in the wrong body. Night after night, Liam has slipped into her room to secretly transform into a girl with makeup and wigs; now he's taken a new name, Luna, signaling the greater change about to come. While this book is determined to educate, Peters succeeds in creating whole, complex characters confronting transgender issues. Category: Older Fiction. 2004, Little/Tingley, 248pp, $16.95. Ages 12 to 14. Rating: 2: Superior, well above average" Retrieved from Children's Literature Database (Accessed September 27, 2009).

Borders Original Voices Award, 2004.
Colorado Book Award, 2005.
Lambda Literary Award, 2004.
National Book Award, 2004.
Stonewall Book Award, 2005.
I found a wonderful teacher's guide for this book that includes discussion questions. You can access this teacher's guide by clicking on: (Accessed on Septmenber 27, 2009).

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