Except for the common theme about queer teenagers, the two young adult novels “Luna” by Julie Anne Peters and “Boy meets boy” by David Levithan are obviously different in terms of settings – that is, how supportive of LGBTQ community the people in the two societies are. Boy meets boy take place in a utopian town where people do not question gender identities of the characters, and that is why the romance between gay teens happens as natural as any relationship between straight couple can. On the other hand, the gender norm is a constraint in Luna’s world and even her parents suppress her gender expression to the point that she has to live a double life and has suicidal thought.
If we take a closer look at the two novels, we can see some unexpected similarities between the two. The common ground is the unconditional love exists among characters – they express sympathy for one another and help the queer individual overcome disapproval of parents. Though Regan has never been through what Liam/Luna has, plus Luna has caused so many troubles for Regan, she stands by Luna side – cover her secret, share her girly hobbies, and lend Luna her room for dressing up at night.”Yeah, I loved her. I couldn’t help it. She was my brother (p3)” The sibling love that Regan give Luna is the hope and the shelter for Luna whenever she is in crisis and feel like she cannot continue to live on. Thanks to the time Regan stops the suicidal attempt of Luna, Luna knows that she is not alone and finally finds strength go against parents’ expectation and reveal her identity as a female. Similarly, we can see how much Tony’s friends love him when they all come to his house and persuade his parents to let him go to the dance party. Unlike others whose parents do not question their gender identities, Tony is unfortunate to have religious parents who are unsupportive of his, but his friends always have him in mind and are willing to set aside their business to all come to make sure that he is not left at home that night. Regan and Tony’s friends represent individuals wholeheartedly care for queer individuals who struggle to fight the discrimination of the society. They do not endure the same pain, but their empathy gives strength to those who do and assure them that they are not alone in the battle.
Those caregivers support people in need so that they can be patient for the silver lining to come after the rain – which means that if they do not give up on their life when facing oppression, one day they can find a way to let their identity shine and change the mindset of conservative people. Each novel provides distinct perspectives on the LGBTQ+ community. Luna is a real picture about how it feels like to be a trans in the society where people try to persuade transgender individuals to live as what their anatomy describe them instead of dressing up or using the pronoun they want. The audience of this novel can be either people of within the community or people yet to have a thorough understanding of the group. Trans people can relate to what Liam has to cope with, but they will also see that there are people who they can count on apart from the unsupportive majority. For people who are not familiar with queer terms and stories, the narration raises awareness and promotes empathy toward transgender. If people have never read a story of this sort, there is a possibility that they can adopt the gender-binary mindset due to the lack of information. It is likely that Luna’s narration serves as a lens through which readers can be more sensitive on how they treat people of LQBTQ+ community in real life, and to know infinite reasons why people in this community deserve to live how they want.
Boy meets boy, though having idealized setting, plays no less important role in supporting the LQBTQ+ community because it represents the voice of the community while there are not many projects about this subject on the media at the time of publication. It does not paint a false picture – it instead takes a revolutionary step to sketch what future can look like. “There isn’t really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They got all mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best (p1)”. It is more like a miraculous realism than a fiction because such supporting place can exist if people are willing to. The point of this novel is not to remind LGBTQ+ what they already know happen in their lives, but rather to use a delighted narrative to ease the pain, to suggest an optimal solution to the problem, and to focus on pure affection. Through multiple pieces of romantic stories that everyone can relate to (the feeling and the thing that we do when we have a crush on someone, dating, and relationship), Levithan shows us that regardless of sexual orientation, human feelings are very much alike. When people open their mind and do not make a big deal of gender identity and labels, life is much easier for everyone and only love remains in the picture frame. So why not?