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Luna Paperback – February 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-"Yeah, I loved her. I couldn't help it. She was my brother." Regan has always been there for her transgender brother, Liam, sacrificing her needs for his, but when he announces that he is ready to "transition" into Luna permanently, Regan is not sure she can handle the consequences. She has been his confidant all her life, letting Luna dress in her room, buying underwear for her when Liam couldn't, and giving support. However, when the attractive new guy in chemistry class shows an interest in Regan, she wishes her sibling would just go away and give her a chance to live her own life. Liam realizes that in order for his sister to be free, he, too, must free himself to become the woman who lives inside him. Told from Regan's point of view in the present and in flashback, this novel breaks new ground in YA literature with a sensitive and poignant portrayal of a young man's determination to live his true identity and his family's struggle to accept Luna for who she really is.
Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-12. Peters tells two stories in this groundbreaking novel--one about Regan, and the other about Liam, Regan's transgender brother, who is the son his father expects by day but a young woman, Luna, by night. Fiercely protective of Liam/Luna, Regan has put her life on hold; she worries about her brother's female self being discovered and the family's reaction, and she fears that her brother may someday give in to despair. While Regan wonders if she will ever be able to have a life separate from the needs of her sibling, Liam seriously begins to consider a permanent change. Peters isn't putting forward a political agenda here. Rather, she's bringing the circumstances surrounding a difficult situation to light, and her sensitively drawn characters realistically encompass a wide range of reactions--from tentative acceptance by a best friend to Mom's feigned ignorance and Dad's total disbelief. The subject matter and occasional rough language will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, but this book belongs in most YA collections. Cindy Welch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316011274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316011273
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the last 20+ years, I've been writing books for young readers. My YA novel, Luna, the story of a transgender teen beginning her transition from male to female, was a National Book Award finalist and an American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. (Thank you award committee members.) My other books about gender queer youth include Keeping You a Secret, Far from Xanadu (retitled, Pretend You Love Me), Between Mom and Jo, grl2grl: short fictions, Rage: A Love Story, She Loves You, She Loves You Not..., It's Our Prom (So Deal With It), and my newest book scheduled for 2014, The Double Life of Swanee Durbin. Also check out my book about bullycide, By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead.

I'm a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, PEN America, the Authors Guild, and the Colorado Authors' League. I live with my partner, Sherri Leggett, in Lakewood, Colorado. (We're celebrating our 38th anniversary this year.

More information about me and my books can be found on my Web site:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Claire Hennessy on June 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a story dealing with a topic not often dealt with in YA fiction - transgender teenagers. Regan is fifteen and her life is dominated by her older brother, Liam (Lia Marie, and later Luna, at night). She has drifted apart from friends her own age because of him, and in order to try and help him she has offered to let him use her room at night, to try on girls' clothes. The only thing she has that's *hers* is her babysitting job for a family she sees as perfect and normal, in sharp contrast to her own, with her drugged-up mother and domineering father.

Regan is a sympathetic character, a girl who tries so hard to be there for her brother when he needs her, but also someone who resents how she has to be everything for him, his sole confidant, and who alternates between feeling sorry for him and for wishing that he could just be normal. She also has her own dilemma, involving an infatuation with a boy at school. "Luna" is Regan's story as much as it is Liam's.

Liam/Luna's story is dealt with effectively as well, with flashbacks of their childhood showing early signs that he really did want to be in a girl's body. The separation of gender and sexuality is also made quite clear, and the idea of constructed gender roles is also dealt with (though not as much as I'd like to have seen it discussed - but the perfect amount for a YA novel). It is by no means a definitive transgendered-teen story but it shouldn't have to be, either - it's merely the story of one girl in a boy's body, trying to break free.

A worthwhile read that will hopefully challenge readers' ideas towards gender and sex while telling a compelling story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. M Nelson on July 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Luna is the first young adult novel written about a transsexual teen. Luna/Liam is a girl that was born in a boy's body. The only one who knows the truth is Regan, Luna/Liam's younger sister. Regan has spent so much of her life protecting and worrying about Liam that she really hasn't developed and identity seperate from that role. She has no friends, and she is a loner and an outcast at her school. And she is frightened and freaked out when Luna begins to go public with her secret. Luna is well-written. The anguish and fear of the characters is palpable and real.

This book is so important because it is the first of its kind. I never really knew that much about transgender people before, and although I am a huge supporter of GLBT people, I did not understand transgenders, and I was uncomfortable about the subject. This book showed me that Liam/Luna was just as normal as any other person...they had just been born in the wrong body, and there is nothing freakish or weird about it. On the contrary, it was agonizing to read how desperate and hopeless Liam felt trapped in a body that was so horribly wrong for him. This book is groundbreaking, and needs to be read not just by young adults, but everyone who feels weird about the idea of a transsexual. They do not ask for this pain, they do not want to scare people. They just want what is in their hearts and minds to match their bodies.

Much thanks to Julie Ann Peters for tackling a very hard subject and presenting it with heart, dignity, and hope.

~Anna M. Nelson, Young Adult Librarian, Seabrook, NH
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Tibbetts VINE VOICE on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Think Joan of Arcadia, only God dresses up like a girl after dark. Okay, so Luna's not exactly God, but there is much wisdom to be gained from this encounter. Luna is Liam, Regan's older brother, and, well, sister. Or as Regan says, "half brother, half sister," which is hilarious when she says it. Because the thing about Luna the novel is that Peters tells the story of Regan and her transgender (TG) brother, Luna with wry, engaging humor that immediately puts the reader at ease with this unusual situation.

Luna/Liam's story is told through the eyes of Regan. Luna is about to come out of her cocoon. Because Regan has lived with and loved her brother all her life, she's grown accustomed to his girlish ways. Through flashbacks she realizes that she's always known that even as a kid, Liam was never comfortable in the role of boy. Her sorrow is that she's losing her brother, Liam. Even though she's the younger sister, Regan's life has revolved around keeping his secret. For that reason she also feels a sense of dread about Luna's emerging strength. Her fear for Luna is that she'll be ridiculed or humiliated. As much as Regan wishes for a life of her own, without Luna, she's never done anything to make that happen, revealing her own dependence on her brother as Luna grows stronger. In this way, their lives are remarkably intertwined and the notion of their inevitable separation is heartbreaking, yet compelling.

Regan's humorous outbursts and observations -- especially of their parents -- betray her genuine perplexity with the whole situation, while lending a sense of normalcy to the raw emotions swirling through their lives. Understanding Luna -- and therefore any TG - through Regan's eyes becomes an oddly spiritual journey, challenging readers to think beyond outward appearances and stereotypes, to look deep into the soul of another individual and love the person inside enough to let her go.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Peggy Tibbetts
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Luna is a gem of a book, very unique in character and style. The book outlines the life of a boy who knows he is really a girl in a boy's body. He is a Transgender. And to be even more poignant, the story is told from the perspective of his sister, who is 2 years younger.

Julie Anne Peters goes to just the right lengths to accurately describe both the emotional and environmental situations. Some of her most eloquent statements are made with regard to the manner in which Liam/Luna's transmogrification, transition, metamorphosis affects those around him/her as much as it affects him/her and sometimes even more. The one who truly empathizes and suffers the pain almost as much as Liam/Luna is his sister Regan. She is Liam/Luna's confidant, his/her enabler, and his/her instrument to the realization of his dream. Despite all this good, Regan suffers most terribly with the knowledge of her brother's suffering.

The writing technique that the author uses is particularly fascinating. She does some most effective flashback sequences that are truly artistic. In addition, she is quite adept at writing the text and the subtext (what is going on in the character's mind and how it differs from what comes out of their mouth) that her paragraphs are like little sparkling emeralds in a field of rock and dirt.

In addition, the story moves along well. The reader has no time to get bored or complacent. And the messages departed along the way show all too well, how society makes life very difficult; not just for the normal, but also for the extremes, and not in any rational proportion. Just as life plays itself out; sometimes advantageously, but more of the time, unfairly. As we all know, life is not FAIR, but sometimes we surely wish it were.
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