At first glance, I think David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy and Julie Anne Peters’ Luna are two very different texts. Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy is a utopian young adult novel. We see the idealistic world in which Levithan’s characters live through the eyes of our protagonist Paul, an exceptionally self-assured gay teenager, growing up in a town where, as Paul recalls in a memory of his coming out to his parents, coming out as gay is equivalent to just adding a word to your vocabulary. In Paul’s world, there is no coming out narrative, at least not like what we’ve come to expect, where coming out is preceded and followed by years of self-doubt and internal as well as external struggle. However, despite this utopian setting, through Paul’s words and thoughts we are still able to catch glimpses of the struggles caracters in young adult novels typically face—Tony struggles to gain acceptance from his strict religious parents, who find it abhorrent to have a son interested in the same sex. Joni struggles through navigating the landscape of the adolescent world of dating. Julie Anne Peters’ Luna brings these archetypal struggles to the forefront. The book’s namesake, Luna, is a transgender woman (biologically male, with the given name Liam), whose parents—particularly the father—would not accepting of Luna’s eschewing of gender roles or the gender binary. Luna must hide her true identity and is limited in freedom of expression to literally one small area of her house. In this way there are clear discrepancies between Luna and Boy Meets Boy.
However, like Boy Meets Boy, we again see the struggle faced by those in the LGBTQ community not through the eyes of those experiencing it, but through the eyes of our main character, Regan. In Luna, we are witnessing a coming out story from a third person observer, as we see with Tony in Boy Meets Boy. This tactic allows the reader to analyze these character’s struggles from a more objective (although not impartial) perspective. The reader witnesses the coming out narrative from the outside-looking-in. I think both novels thus offer an important alternative perspective from which we can analyze the role of environment and society on the personal experiences of members of the LGBTQ community during the incredibly formative period of adolescence.