Differences of Boy Meets Boy and Luna

In my opinion, “Boy Meets Boy” and “Luna” are more obviously different. I think one main struggle that Luna must face in his coming out story that Paul does not face is self-struggle. Paul does not struggle with who he is or letting everyone know that he is gay, whereas Luna has a very hard time allowing herself to be her true self around and in front of others. I think this has part to do with the type of household and neighborhood they were raised in. Paul was raised in a majorly populated homosexual community and by parents who understood his sexuality; whereas Luna could not even tell her parents nonetheless her community what her true identity was. Paul’s experiences with being gay were more personal struggles that many heterosexual’s face. In my opinion, this is because Paul is very secure with him and knows who he is and isn’t persecuted for it from those around him. Luna, on the other hand, had to face internal and external hardships throughout her coming out story. For example, Luna is discriminated by her family, especially her father. Her father who questions if Luna is gay but does not even thinks that Luna would be transgender.

Another main difference between the two is the story line of the two characters. Paul shows us the hardships of love and romance. Because Boy Meets Boy is a utopian novel, he is living in a world where he is accepted for who he is. Paul does not have to face any type of discrimination from others about his sexuality. In Luna, the readers see more rustic and truthful struggles that come along with coming out.

I think these two different types of views are very important for readers. They show that no two stories are the same and everyone will have different struggles. Some, like Paul, will be easily accepted and face challenges that heterosexual couples also face. Others, like Luna, will have to endure the discrimination from many angles of life, such as family and society. I think reading the two have made me realize that there is not one set of struggles that people who are coming out have to deal with, struggles come in many different ways.

The Normalization of Difference

Boy Meets Boy and Luna are more obviously different because in one text, difference is normalized and in the other, the setting is a society where difference is looked down upon by a predominantly heteronormative culture. In Boy Meets Boy, a majority of the characters are LGBTQ, or are allies of this group, thus making heteronormativity obsolete. In addition, they are members of an idyllic, utopian world that applauds and accepts this seeming difference. Those that are opposed to LGBTQ rights (Tony’s parents) are looked down upon and are villainized, when it is typically the person going through the coming-out story that is seen as outside of the heteronormative framework (i.e. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit). It is interesting to note that Tony’s parents do find some level of acceptance at the end of the novel.

In Luna, this difference is ostracized by heteronormative figures. Luna/Liam’s father is very much representative of the forces that hold Liam back as he is trying to transition. The father also is resentful of the fact that Liam and Regan’s mother is working again and has established her own successful wedding business – further showing that the father does not approve of any forces that go against heteronormativity, similar to Tony’s parents or Jeanette Winterson’s mother. It is important to note that despite his seeming position of power (heterosexual, patriarch), the father thinks he does not exhibit this because he is not the breadwinner of the family and is working a job that he does not enjoy, and is trying to wield control over the only thing that he can, which is the sexuality of his son. The father needs to be open-minded about his son’s attempted transition, when in reality he has no idea about it/ can’t even process it.

A similarity of that I found between the two books is the outrageousness of the two “trans” characters, Infinite Darlene and Luna. Infinite Darlene does exhibit more confidence because of the utopian society that they live in, while Luna struggles more because of the more realistic one that is depicted in Luna. We definitely see a stark difference, a juxtaposition of reality and utopia in the two novels.

Similarities and Differences

I think that Boy Meets Boy and Luna are obviously different because of the narrator. The narrator of Boy Meets Boy, Paul, is a gay boy, whereas, the narrator in Luna, Regan, is a straight girl. Also in the case of Boy Meets Boy, there seems to be more acceptance of LGBT individuals, even though their is the narrative of Tony. Even within Tony’s narrative, we see a positive ending. Boy Meets Boy normalizes LGBT narratives and there isn’t a struggle with the narrator’s identity. In Luna, however, there isn’t much acceptance of LGBT people, and for this reason, she keeps Luna’s life a secret from her parents.

What is similar in both of these texts, is that the narrator deals with the struggles and drama of people close to them. With Paul, he deals with Tony’s struggle with his parents and Kyle’s questioning bisexuality. In Luna, she deals with her sibling, Liam/Luna, as they decide to transition to a woman. In both cases, regardless of the protagonist’s, sexuality or gender, they are affected by the people closest to them.

Two Diverged Worlds

Boy Meets Boy as we have said in class, one could argue, is a utopian novel. Within the dynamics of our society to be comfortable is to be straight. Boy Meets Boy creates a society where people have the ability to be fully accepted based upon their gender expression and sexuality. Luna, however, brings the reader to reality, showing the painful and tumultuous coming out story, especially in a society with preconceived identity roles. That is not to say that these young adult novels are dissimilar, I want to make the claim that these novels are similar in respect to the way in which the main characters create a world for themselves to exist in.

Paul, the narrator and self-assured character in Boy Meets Boy, tells the reader about the world he goes to, called “elsewhere” (Levithan, 113). “Elsewhere” (Levithan, 113), Paul describes as if “it’s almost like meditation, but instead of blanking myself out, I try to color myself in” (113, Levithan), and so going to this elsewhere, Paul knowingly creates a world for himself where he sees his friend Tony happy, where things with Noah aren’t complicated. He creates a world where everyone is able to be the person they want to be even though Paul has the luxury of that for himself. Liam, a transgender girl who is actually Luna, has a similar world to that of Paul, but Luna is in a conscious state. Liam, as his sister Regan (the narrator) describes, emerges at night as Luna and I don’t mean to discredit Luna as this alter ego, Luna is the true Liam, and Luna is the rawest form of a person. However, Luna can only be truly herself at night when no one but Regan is able to appreciate her true self. Throughout the day, though, Liam creates a covert world, the only place where he can think. Regan says here while talking about her mother and Liam “she found her escape by looking outside herself, while Liam escaped within” (Peters, 137), the “within” is the covert state in which Liam exists in every day until night inevitably comes, and Luna prospers.

The difference, though, with these two stories is that Boy Meets Boy is so ingrained and cemented in a town that is extremely accepting of all identities and even though Paul goes to “elsewhere” in times where he does not know how to interrupt his feelings or experiences, he still has the comfortability and familiarity to be himself outside of his mind. Liam lives in the reality of this world, he has a continual struggle to be her­­­­­­­­–Luna–and that is the difference between the hope of one society as to the actuality of the other.



Language in Luna and Boy Meets Boy

The most noticeable difference between Luna and Boy Meets Boy is the writing style and language the authors use, both from a narrative stand point and when referring to LGBTQ themes. In Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan seems to go out of his way to use that reflects the age of the narrator, a high school sophomore named Paul. Paul’s internal monologue is young; the sentences are short and concise, the language itself is simple. On his first date with Noah, Paul describes the surface of the pond where they ride in a paddleboat as being “like a wrinkled blue shirt, with small buoy-buttons, marking the distance of the water” (Levithan, 66). There’s no flowery language about the reflection of the sun like you might find in other YA novels, no use of excessive details, just a simple metaphor. In Luna, Julie Anne Peter’s narrator Regan seems to be telling the story of her sophomore year in hindsight, perhaps as an adult. Her language is more adult and any insertion of ‘teenage slang’ sounds forced and out of place. In a conversation with her father about her transgendered sibling, Regan is asked if Liam steals computers and sells them. After reassuring her father that he does not, Regan thinks to herself “what did Dad think Liam was? A stoner? A dealer? He was so not what Dad imagined” (Peters, 121). The use of the emphasized ‘so’ here serves to remind us that Regan is a teenager; the reader can immediately hear Regan’s exasperated tone. But such slang feels out of place in a book where three lines down, the narrator’s hand is described as being ‘melded to the doorknob’ (Peters, 121). Luna does an excellent job of describing the life of a sister watching her sibling transition, but the language sometimes removes the reader from the narrator. We forget how young she is and grow angry at how irrational Regan behaves.
But one thing that Levithan and Peters both do with ease is capture the complicated feelings of being young and LGBTQ, especially with their trans characters. Both Luna and Boy Meets Boy feature transwomen on opposite ends of their transitions. Liam is just beginning her transition into Luna and Peters captures the excitement and fear that she feels. Most of Liam’s character arc is defined by self-loathing and doubt; he won’t even keep a mirror in his room because he’s afraid of accidentally seeing himself. But as he transitions, his confidence begins to grow. After a trip to the mall, Regan describes Luna as ‘yammering away a hundred miles a minute’ and not noticing any stares directed at her. This reminds me of Infinite Darlene, who has more or less completed her transition. She exudes confidence, practically radiates it. In her spin off story The Quarterback and the Cheerleader, we begin to see some of the cracks in Darlene’s armor. She wonders that if by creating the person she wanted to be, ‘she missed out on creating a person that someone would want to fall in love with’. Both Luna and Infinite Darlene show the complicated feelings of being young and trying to figure out who they are and are written in a way that seems natural.

Boy Meets Boy vs. Luna

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.

Boy Meets Boy vs Luna

When comparing the novels Luna and Boy meets Boy, it is important to recognize that they are two novels that strongly support the LGBTQ+ community but also highlight the fact that they were bringing light to different communities. The most important difference is that Luna shows the problems of a transgender person that can often be thrown into the shade. In the novel Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan creates an environment that is a utopia for the homosexual community but does not accurately depict the lives of homosexuals in present day community. From birth, being a homosexual to the protagonist Paul was not out of the ordinary as seen when he states, “I just assumed boy were attracted to other boys” (page 8). There was no disturbance of the real world in the life of Paul. This creates a false representation in the current world because not all members of the LGBTQ+ are accepted to the world and blind to the fact that any relationship that differs from heterosexual relationships is deemed as unnatural. Luna, however, goes into a deeper understanding of the problems that are usually shadowed. In the novel, Regan describes her brother being transgender as, “He likes guys. We both do. That doesn’t make him gay. It makes him as straight as me because inside he’s a girl” (Anne Peters, 122). This is important because even though there is an increase of awareness for the LGBTQ+ movement, there are not as much recognition for groups other than gay and lesbian members. There is a need for novels like Luna because it is relatable and proves to readers that there is an increase in need for gender fluidity. There are limits that remain against transgender because breaking societal norms is already controversial so introducing many sexualities that change one’s body type is extreme to the conservative values that dictate this country today. There is much more need to change America and novels like Boy Meets Boy can show how the world can still remain the same with homosexual relationships or may do the opposite and make it seem that the problem is solved. Novels like Luna show the struggle and may lead to the changes that will normalize all relationships.

Queer Representation

Boy Meets Boy and Luna are obviously more similar because they are both young adult novels that depict the lives of two queer protagonist. Boy Meets Boy tells the story of a young gay teen who falls in love with a guy from his high school at a record shop. Luna on the other hand tells a story about the daily struggles of transgender teen who has not shared her truths with her closes family and friends. Both novels also follow their everyday lives looking at the triumphs and tribulations that queer youth negotiate on a daily basis. These stories are remarkable because they prioritize the identities of queer youth in young adult novels, while also normalizing their experiences, which has been unseen in the young adult genre and within literature as a whole. While these texts are very similar, they are different in the way that they set up the lives of the main characters. In Boy Meets Boy the main character Paul is very established in his queer identities which goes against the dominant narrative of queer people always trying to discover themselves and who they truly want to be. Paul was already solidified within his sexuality and had a solid foundation within his friends and family that supported his decisions and validated his feelings. On the other hand, Luna focuses on a the main character who constantly has to negotiate their identity because of their environment. I also think that Luna differentiates from Boy Meets Boy because it touched on the thoughts and feelings of those around Luna, instead of focusing simply on Luna and her experiences alone. I think that the book shows how Luna is impacted by her surroundings, but also how her surroundings are impacted by her. For example, when Luna began behaving differently in front of their parents, Reagan was scared for the future of her sibling and thought to herself, “Why test the water? You’ll only drown.” (Peters, 58)  This clearly depicts the anguish and fear she feels for her sister because of Luna’s gender. I believe that both novels are important because there is not one specific queer experiences. It is important for audiences to see that exploring and expressing one’s queerness can be a pleasant experience, as shown in Boy Meets Boy. I also think it is important to shed light on the more challenging experiences of a queer existence which is shown throughout Luna. When a person comes out as queer they never come out one time because it is an ongoing process. There are also varied experiences of coming out and existing in a queer body within society. Ultimately, I think these two books are important because they diversify the narrative of queer youth while also prioritizing their experiences.

In-Class Writing: BMB and Luna

I think that Boy Meets Boy and Luna are more obviously different in the way they portray coming out stories. In the utopian novel, Boy Meets Boy, the reader is taken on the journey that is Paul and Noah, two gay teenage boys who experience your “typical” relationship problems. From the beginning of the novel, it is made clear that Paul has a firm grasp on his own true identity and has no problem expressing it or being accepted by family and friends around him. Paul and Noah endure bumps in the road, like when Paul kisses his ex-boyfriend, but through romantic determination, end up happily together. Since both boys are secure with their sexual identity and don’t face major discrimination from those around them, this relationship is not much different than any other heterosexual one. Every relationship, no matter the sexuality, experiences ups and downs, and Paul and Noah are examples of just that. Contrary, from what can be seen so far in Luna, it is clear it is not a utopian novel, but rather a complex coming out story filled with uncertainty and confusion for transgender Luna. Liam knows that she is meant to be a girl, but is surrounded by parents and siblings who are in denial of who Liam really wants to be. It is evident that these stories tell two very different stories of coming out narratives: one filled with internal struggles while another is filled with love and romance.

Although both stories have several differences, both fail to incorporate a certain level of intersectionality. In both Boy Meets Boy and Luna, the characters come from what can be assumed to be middle-class white backgrounds. Coming out stories are unique to each individuals and their given backgrounds in no way delegitimizes their experiences, but both narratives fail to address another possible story. In many cases, individuals not only face oppression from their sexuality, but also from race, class, and other identities. By incorporating additional identities, the reader can further learn how intersectionality plays a major role in coming out narratives.

Despite each telling a different kind of coming out story, both novels contribute an important message. When thinking of a coming out narrative, most think of a tragic story filled with heartbreak and isolation, but Boy Meets Boy disproves that and portrays another image that a coming out narrative doesn’t have to be some horrible life ending experience, but rather, can be filled with love and happiness. It would be unrealistic to only tell the utopian story of Boy Meets Boy, so Luna shows the unfortunate, but true, battles individuals of the LGBTQ+ community endure in order to be who they truly are.

Coming out Narratives

David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy and Julie Peter’s Luna are two young-adult fiction novels that explore different elements of sexual orientation, gender identity, and growing up in the LGBTQ community. The authors of these novels, however, consider these aspects of young adulthood in different ways. The most distinct difference in these two young adult fiction books is how the authors present heteronormative societies and coming out narratives. In Boy Meets Boy the main character and narrator, Paul, lives in a seemingly utopian world where heteronormativity may not actually be the norm. His own sexual orientation and the sexual orientation of his peers never seems to be questioned. Although some of his friends face certain conflicts with their identities, Paul never seems to question his sexuality. In fact, he had “always known [he] was gay” and his parents “eventually got used to it,” never questioning their son’s sexuality (8,10). Boy Meets Boy doesn’t really introduce a coming out narrative for Paul because it seems that this type of narrative was never necessary for Paul’s life. He was always accepted for his sexual orientation, despite being amongst a minority.  In this regard, Boy Meets Boy is somewhat unrealistic. It is not to say that every LGBTQ individual faces true hardships when coming out, or is exiled from their families, but often these types of stories are common. In this sense, Paul’s coming out narrative isn’t really a coming out narrative. Instead, Paul is simply who he is from the start.

In the book Luna, Peter’s describes a different type of society, where the characters face more difficulties and struggles around sexual orientation and gender identity than those in Boy Meets Boy. The society in which Luna, the main character, lives influences a different coming out narrative. As she transition from her male biological sex, Luna faces both internal and external struggles. She is misunderstood by her father and her peers, all the while trying to understand herself. Her coming out narrative is different from Paul’s because the society in which she lives is different. In this book Luna lives in a society where transgenderism is not the norm and is often questioned or misconceives, making Luna’s transition that much harder.

It is important to recognize however that both of these books do something important in context of their portrayal of heteronormative societies and coming out narratives. Where one may argue that Boy Meets Boy does a disservice to struggling LGBTQ teenagers, we may look at this book as a portrayal of hope. That one-day sexual orientation and gender identity will not need labeling or be misunderstood and we can just be ourselves. The same goes for Luna, however. Where one may argue that it is too difficult to read about Luna’s hardships, we may see this as a portrayal of all the individuals who go through times like Luna but end up okay. Both these books are significant to coming out narratives in different, yet similar, ways. They may go about it from different ends of the spectrum, but both may provide advice and hope for individuals that relate to them.