To me, “Boy Meets Boy” and “Luna” are more obviously different for a few reasons. The first reason why I think they are different is because Paul in “Boy Meets Boy” does not struggle with being gay while Luna faces many obstacles to being transgender. To clarify, I see Luna in her story as being the main character of the novel, paralleling Paul’s role as the main character in “Boy Meets Boy.” Despite the fact that “Luna” is told from Regan’s point of view, I think it is much more accurate to claim that the story is more about Luna’s life than it is Regan’s.
Paul does not struggle being gay and does not face any outward struggles with his sexuality as he was able to run for the third-grade class president as an openly gay candidate and win over the support and admiration from his classmates. His family also never gave him any grief for being gay either. Luna, on the other hand, struggled with the fact that she was born in a boy’s body despite being a girl on the inside. I believe his internal struggle is seen most clearly when Regan comes home to find Luna in her closet in a failed (thank god) attempt to commit suicide after football practice. Luna begs Regan saying “Help me die. Pour these down my throat, okay?” Luna struggles to bring out her true self and is often met with resistance from her father who expects him to act like a boy and try out for various sports.
Luna’s struggle with her father is seen clearly when Regan recalls the incident at Luna’s sixth birthday party where her father freaks out that Luna’s only friends are girls. Tensions flair even more when Luna becomes upset that she didn’t get the barbie or bra that she asked for and she is pulled away and yelled at by her father for wanting “girl things.”
Where as Luna, the main character, faces burdens in her novel, it is those who are close to Paul in “Boy Meets Boy” that struggle. Tony is the best example of this where his parents become increasingly worried about him after learning that he was seen hugging Paul in the woods. The tension culminates with Tony admitting he is gay and demanding that Paul be allowed to visit and for his parents to accept that. Although they ultimately allow for this, it isn’t before Tony breaks down emotionally that his parents give him some leeway.
Overall, the focus of “Boy Meets Boy” is that of a normal teenage love story that happens to be about a boy who is gay. There is no struggle or coming out narrative which allows the reader to get caught up in the everyday struggles of teenage love. “Luna” on the other hand, takes dark twists through suicide attempts and family conflicts, resembling a more typical struggle with being accepted.
Despite these differences however, both books share similarities in that the characters that struggle rely on the support of family and friends to get through these difficult times. In “Boy Meets Boy” Kyle struggles with the notion that he is bisexual and is ultimately lost until Tony reaches out and calls him to offer him support. We see how much this support helps him towards the end of the novel when he states “The last couple of days I’ve been talking to Tony. We’ve been talking a lot now, and the funny thing is that part of me is glad that all this happened, because if I become friends with him and I’m friends with you, then it’s like the good coming out of the bad. And the bad isn’t really that bad.” Tony understands Kyle’s struggle and with his support, Kyle is able to accept who he is and to salvage his relationship with Paul.
This support mirrors the support that Regan offers Luna when she first says that Luna can try on her dresses and nightgowns in her room in front of the mirror at night. This simple offer helps to enliven Luna and is one part of her battle in embracing who she is. The biggest hurdle that Regan helps Luna overcome is being able to go out in public as her female, her true self. By taking Luna to the mall and supporting her as she gets comfortable being out in public as a female, Regan helps Luna overcome a major threshold in her life.
What is important about these similarities is that it points out that support for others is a universal and critical component for others to overcome their struggles. It shows how important other people can be in our lives and how sometimes we can’t overcome our struggles without the support of others. The fact that the support of friends in “Boy Meets Boy” is seen through many examples, the last of which Joni overcomes her funk and supports Tony to go to the Dowager’s Dance, shows that support is necessary. After all, if “Boy Meets Boy”, a relatively easy-going carefree novel, emphasizes this point, then it does show that we need to be looking out for each other.