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.
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Let me start out by saying that I loved this book. If that's the only bit of information you require, then read no further. If you would like to know why, then let me tell you.
As someone with a transgendered sibling, I was instantly drawn to the premise of this book. I went into this expecting a story like my own, with a sibling that did what she pleased no matter how it angered everyone, maybe even to cause such anger in everyone just to spite them for making her feel so different. Luna's story was not like that, and I'm glad. She was still a believable character in every aspect. Each person who goes through something like this, some form of alienation from peers and family, will react differently, and I appreciated the perspective of someone who tried to hide themself away until they felt ready to express who they really were, something that will probably resonate with most people, no matter what you've experienced. I adored Luna's spirit, and I despaired every time she hurt (though sometimes it was her own doing). The courage it took to be herself in the end is admirable, and the strength she had to walk away from a potentially damaging situation is something every struggling person can strive for.
The other characters were incredibly realistic as well. The parents were probably the closest to my own experience. I too had a father who used to be successful and really, really wanted a boy, and a mother who made the money in the family and sort of pretended nothing was wrong so she wouldn't have to deal with the backlash. The sister, Regan, while very unlike me in how we handled our siblings, was a wonderful, encouraging narrator. She was naive and stubborn at times, but she showed continual love for Luna, even when Luna did things that negatively affected Regan's life. It's the type of support everyone deserves, and the sort of family member someone like Luna desperately needed.
The story itself was incredible, and even though the narrator wasn't the main character (Luna is the main character), we still saw Luna's very real struggle and how she coped with her life. While hearing from Luna's perspective about the difficulties she faced would have been fascinating, I did appreciate the message this book chose to send instead. The narrative was more about how others/society need to come to accept transgendered people as, well, REGULAR PEOPLE instead of labeling them and othering them as something that isn't normal. That is a powerful message in a y.a. book.
My only complaint is the guy who reads this book. I understand the point/meaning of a guy reading a book that's supposed to be from a girl's perspective. It was a nice touch in this audiobook about a transgendered girl. While Brad Raimondo did a fantastic job with his interpretation of Luna, and most of the time he did a very good Regan, he made some of the other characters into caricatures. The dad was always a stiff jock type, the mom was an overworked busybody, and the girls in Regan's class all seemed stuck up. I suppose if we take into account that they're all supposed to be shown as Regan interprets them, then he did a fine job, but I felt there could have been a bit more depth to those other voices.
All in all, this is a wonderful book, and well worth the listen. Use your credit on something else and straight up buy this book. You need it.