Two years ago, my classmates and I talked about current gender roles in one of my social science class. The teacher asked the class if it was okay for boys to play with dolls, girls to ask out boys, and so on. For both questions listed, the majority of the class let out a resounding “No”, even though no one could really say why. (Best explanation: “It’s weird, okay?”) Even though this class is in twenty-first century America, where women can vote and girls do better than boys in most academic subjects, defined gender roles are still alive and well. If some teens can’t even comprehend a boy playing with Bratz dolls, then they probably can’t wrap their heads around a girl born in a boy’s body, or vice versa.
Which is why Luna by Julie Anne Peters is more important than ever.
Reagan’s brother, Liam, is really her sister, Luna, born into the wrong body. As the only person who knows Liam’s secret, Reagan’s life revolves around supporting him and helping him to keep it a secret. But Liam is finally ready to transition completely and permanently into Luna, his true identity. But now Luna is ready to reveal herself to the public in a world that hates her and Reagan is not sure she can handle it, especially now that she might be able to have a life of her own when the new guy, Chris, takes a liking to her.
This book definitely doesn’t patronize. It deals with some pretty heavy stuff, broken up only by the romance between Reagan and Chris. But for a subject like transgenders, it’s necessary, and it puts transsexualism and gender roles in a new light. Not only does Luna explain transsexualism, but it also shows the struggle teens go through when they are shadowed by siblings, outcasts in school, and living in dysfunctional houses, which are situations many teens are in every day. It’s time people saw things like TG’s and TB’s as normal and for them to really think about gender roles and if they even serve a purpose.
Even though I like the light and comedic teen romances and YA fantasy, it’s much more important for teens to read books like Luna, and I think every teenager should read this book at least once, no matter who they are. (And for that matter, they should recommend the book for their parents, too).