|Photo taken from Fantastic Fiction|
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
"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, reveals herself only at night. For years, Liam has transformed himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be with the help from his sister's clothes and makeup in the secrecy of their basement bedrooms. 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 a groundbreaking novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance."
Regan's older brother Liam seems like your typical model teenage boy: Straight A's, awesome side job, cool car, well-dressed, and quite approachable. However, during the night, he would dress up in women's clothing and revel in the femininity of his appearance as Luna, his considered 'real' personality. Regan is the only one who knows about Liam/Luna's situation, and try as she might, she can't shake off the fact that her brother is living a double life as it also consumes her daily living helping to cover up the truth, and being the only person that Liam/Luna can talk to about being transgender.
First off, the plot. I loved that it discussed something as hugely misunderstood as transgender, and that the author did not shrink from laying the truth bare about these individuals - the daily struggles, the inner turmoil, and the oppression from other people. The general misconception that they are automatically 'gay' was also touched upon, and although there were a few story-related questions bugging me by the end of the novel, it was very enlightening to read such an honest portrayal of a person in this situation. It also sent a message to teenagers, transgender or not. The message is acceptance. Acceptance of who you really are. In this case, since this is primarily Regan's story, it taught her not just acceptance of Liam's situation, but acceptance of herself as well. A lesson that the youth are very likely to overlook.
The characters were very complex but likable, especially since they are obviously flawed and damaged. Regan is farm from perfect: Dislikes change, had a hard time taking responsibility for her own actions, isolates herself from other people, and - although fairly unnoticeable - ashamed of her brother's situation. Liam on the other hand, is conflicted, while Luna is self-centered; but living in secret, what other choice does she have? However, the character I am most concerned, intrigued, and irked with was their mother. She was a mystery and I'm still confused about her intentions as regards to Liam's gender orientation.
The writing was very poignant, emotionally-charged, and lyrical. Although Regan's point of view was used to narrate the story, I did not have any difficulty distinguishing the different characters' personalities from each other. The voice was distinct and solid. I also admired that this book had some very funny moments, even during times of intense drama. A sense of humor was never taken for granted in the writing of this novel, something you would not normally expect in a story of this intensity.