Book: Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Published September 2008 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|248 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
I’ve heard some really good things about Luna, and figured I’d read it. I have mixed feelings about it, though, and it’s mostly because of the characters and (to me) the reliance on stereotypes and lack of nuance.
It was really frustrating to read Luna’s story through Regan’s eyes. Regan came across as really selfish and whiny, and I felt like she was the stereotypical “it’s so hard and it’s such a burden to have a sibling who’s different, woe is me because I have to keep their secret, and if people find out that my brother is transgender, I’ll never have my own identity because I’ll only be seen as the sister of someone who is transgender” sibling.
Instead of feeling for her, and how hard it has to be to be your sister’s confidante and secret keeper, I instead spent most of the book feeling like she needed to get over herself. Considering how close they were supposed to be, all I can tell you about Luna is that she is very stereotypical female. That’s not a bad thing, but we get no insight into Luna as a person and how much Luna is struggling to be accepted for who she is. Luna is going through a lot, and Regan’s selfishness and need to be a martyr really took away from Luna’s story.
I felt very much removed and distanced from what was going on, and even the flashbacks we get are more about Regan than they are about Luna.
I also thought that Luna needed a lot more development, and she wasn’t very nuanced to me. I did mention that Luna was a little too stereotypical- very into make-up and clothes and shopping, but not all females are. I’m not sure if the lack of nuance is because of the filter in which we see Luna, or if there’s just a lack of character development. Maybe both. Either way, this book is not about Luna and her transition, it’s about how Luna is ruining Regan’s life and how much better Regan’s life would be if Luna were “normal.”
Looking back at what I just wrote, it’s definitely clear to me that my feelings aren’t as mixed as I thought. I wanted to read more about Luna, not Luna’s spoiled brat of a sister, and I wish we saw more of Luna. Both Luna and Regan narrating could have been interesting, but given how stereotypical the characters were, I don’t know if Luna narrating even a few chapters would have made a difference. Luna felt more like an object than an actual person, which was really disappointing because Luna’s story seemed much more interesting than Regan’s.
1 star. Regan was too frustrating and hard to care about, and her selfishness really took away from Lu0a’s story.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Luna by Julie Anne Peters”
Excellent review. I read this book when it was first published, and shared many of the concerns you brought up here. I would have given it maybe 2.5 stars, but definitely not higher than that! Especially because, as you point out, we see very little of LUNA. yes, your review is spot-on!
Thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one who had the same concerns about the book.