cover image LUNA


Julie Anne Peters, . . Little, Brown, $16.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-316-73369-4

Peters's (Define "Normal" ) latest novel sensitively portrays the life of a transgender teen through the eyes of a sympathetic younger sister. Regan has always supported her brother and kept his secret, but when Liam decides to "transition" into Luna, the girl he knows he is inside, Regan faces new complications. Luna begins dressing like a girl in public, first at the mall, then at school and finally at home. Regan watches as strangers gawk, Luna's best friend runs out on her, and their father calls Luna "sick." Regan, too, gets angry with Luna, for "ruining my chances for any kind of ordinary existence," especially when Chris, a cute new student, begins asking her out. The tone is inconsistent—some overly dramatic moments strain credibility (in one harrowing scene, Luna is caught in a negligee by the parents of the kids Regan baby-sits) as do too many silly dating disasters between Regan and Chris. But the author gradually reveals the issues facing a transgender teen, educating readers without feeling too instructional (Luna and Regan discuss lingo, hormones and even sex change operations). Flashbacks throughout help round out the story, explaining Liam/Luna's longtime struggle with a dual existence, and funny, sarcastic—but strong—Regan narrates with an authentic voice that will draw readers into this new territory. Ages 15-up. (May)