Luna by Julie Anne Peters

lunaI found this book while browsing the Barnes & Noble teen bestsellers online. I had never seen or heard of it, but was drawn by the mysterious cover and the National Book Award Finalist badge. I’ve never read a book about a transgender person before, and the minute I sampled the first page, I was sold.

Luna is the story of Liam/Luna, a high school senior and boy genius who has always known he was meant to be a girl. The story is narrated, however, by his younger sister Regan, Liam’s only confidante. At night, Liam transforms into Luna, playing dress-up in Regan’s bedroom with her make-up and clothes. Regan loves her brother and does everything to protect him from the cruelty of a world that doesn’t understand him, but it costs Regan her relationships with her parents and friends. When Liam begins to discuss “transitioning,” Regan doesn’t get what it means at first. She doesn’t know how to feel when she realizes that Liam’s dream is to become Luna full-time.

I was amazed by the pain and struggle to find acceptance that most transgender people must endure. My heart really went out Liam, and to Regan who had to keep his secrets. The only reason I give this book 4 and not 5 stars is because there were several loose ends when the story was over that I would’ve wanted to see tied up. I wanted Regan to work things out with the family she babysat for, would’ve liked to see her open up more to her love interest, Chris, and we never really did learn much about Regan’s dreams or plans for her future after high school. Although Regan is the narrator, we walk away knowing far more about her brother than about her. Overall, this is a well-written, true-to-life, and heart-wrenching story that explains and helps draw a powerful bridge of compassion for transgender people.

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