Reality vs. Utopia

In most young adult fiction, we see the recurring pattern of a main character overcoming some sort of coming of age obstacle. In both Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Luna by Julie Anne Peters, the coming of age struggle exists though instead of focusing on the struggle of the narrator, we are exposed to the struggle of the person closest to them. Published within a year of each other, both novels possess major LGBTQ characters, a little love story and desire for a sense of belonging. These two stories are obviously similar for their ability to fit into their genre.
A surprising difference between these two texts are the realities they are set in. In Boy Meets Boy, is set in a society that is utopian to when it was written. It shows the opposite of heteronormativity by showing very little negativity and disapproval of the LGBTQ community. The acceptance in this community is clear when it becomes apparent to the reader that Paul never really “came out”, he simply liked boys and there were no further questions, taking the “coming out” out of what the reader expects to be a coming out story. There are no specific moments speaking of him being harassed for his sexuality, instead there is a transgender quarterback.
On the contrary, Luna is set in a household where gender norms are assumed and the gender spectrum is not widespread. In the very beginning of the book, Regan reveals about her Father, “He wasn’t too crazy about Mom’s job. Specifically, her elevating her own status from Wife and Mother to More Significant Other.” (Peters, 7). Though she says her Dad wasn’t being sexist, when their Mom says she will be home late too cook dinner, Regan is assigned the duty. She complains and when Liam offers to cook he is shut down by his father instantly, saying it is not his job (10).
These different settings are important to explore because Luna can be seen as the current reality. Some people have open minds, others closed by the hands of their upbringing and fear of the unknown. Boy Meets Boy can stand as a hopeful future, where sexuality can have such fluidity that people don’t assume and we stray from labeling.

One thought on “Reality vs. Utopia”

  1. I enjoyed how you compared the two realities that these stories are set in. I would agree that it is a hopeful reminder that the future can be such that very few people take issue with sexual fluidity. While I think this is something that as a society we should strive for, I also think it would be difficult to shed our psychological need to label and categorize others. I think this is a psychological phenomenon that is not easily escapable. We tend to put objects and people in categories in order to better understand our world, a tool that makes interacting with others and our reality much more efficient. I would be interesting, however, to learn if there are ways to control this inclination to categorize and label.

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