[I apologize if my choice of pronouns when talking about the characters in this novel seems inconsiderate.]
Julie Anne Peters’ novel, Luna (2004), falls under the general literary category of young adult fiction. Young adult novels are characterized by their dealing with identity struggles linked with coming-of-age. Luna is representative of that genre, as it tells about the struggles of two siblings, Liam and Regan, who are brought up in a family and evolve in an environment that are not tolerant of their respective identities. Even though the issues Regan faces—such as not getting along with her parents, being rejected at school, coping with a high-school crush—can be considered as common to most teenage narratives, Liam’s struggles set him apart and give the novel a much deeper meaning and purpose. Liam struggles with the unveiling and acceptance of his trans identity. Despite belonging to a genre considered as “light” and lacking seriousness, because it is destined for a young and unexperienced readership, Peters’ novel uses the assets of this genre to raise awareness towards LGBTQ issues. It makes us realize the difficulties queer adolescents can encounter in this most difficult period in life, through a vivid depiction of Liam’s experience.
The most pivotal stage in Liam’s experience is his transitioning, and it thus seems important to observe how the novel stylistically stages Liam’s transitioning process. This device is particularly clear at the end of Chapter 3, where, after a domestic fight over breakfast, during which Liam is deeply hurt because he feels disfavored by his father, Liam makes Regan ditch school and takes her to a café instead. While sipping their coffees, the siblings have an interesting conversation about Liam’s transitioning, and Peters manages to make this transitioning process tangible through concrete elements in the text. Through the shift in pronouns, the reader experiences the shift in Liam’s identity. From the beginning of the chapter, the narrator, Regan, uses the masculine pronoun “he” when referring to Liam. That is, up until the end of page 21, when Liam starts talking about the women’s clothes and accessorize he was trying on earlier, in Regan’s room. Noticing Liam’s lightening mood, Regan observes: “he brightened a little” (21). Then, after Liam is finished with his speech about clothing and hairstyle, the narrator noticeably transitions to the feminine pronoun, “she,” at the beginning of the next paragraph: “once she started talking hair and clothes, we’d be here forever” (21). It is interesting to see how transition is linked with physical attributes. Even by simply talking about women’s clothes and accessorize, Liam starts transforming, and becoming his (or her) true self. This echoes the fact that, throughout the novel, Liam is only himself/herself in the confined space of Regan’s room, when he can dress as the woman he is.