Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, LGBT
Edition: Kindle (288 pages)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (Oct. 4, 2016)
Date Read: 2/18/2017
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
This is one of those books that you anticipate for a really long time because you’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it. And it’s also one of those highly anticipated books that live up to your expectations, thankfully. Well… it lived up to mine, anyway!
Miel is our main character, and as you can see from the synopsis, she can magically grow roses from her wrist. Beautiful, fragrant roses. But not everyone sees the roses as something beautiful. Sam, though… our other main character, and Miel’s best friend, has no problem with the roses growing from Miel’s wrist. They have a close bond with each other, unlike anything they’ve ever had with anyone else, and I absolutely adored this relationship between them. They were the perfect match for one another. I felt I could relate more to Sam’s personality than Miel’s, but I still loved Miel just the same.
“Giving someone else a little of who they were hurt more than giving up none or all of it.”
Although we have these perfect (to me) characters, we also have the Bonner sisters, who are perfect in everyone else’s eyes… but are in no way perfect on the inside. They are mean, cold hearted, and just down right cruel. I didn’t like them as people, but I did enjoy them as characters, if that makes sense. I like stories that have all different types of characters and personalities… that’s what makes it fun! And that’s exactly what I got with When the Moon Was Ours. All of the characters worked so well together to create a great, interesting story.
When the Moon Was Ours is magical realism at its finest. A perfect example of non-fantasy having magical elements, and I really loved that about this book. It gave the story life, as if it was living and breathing like you and I. And I was pulled right into this world McLemore had created.
“Someday, Sam and Miel would be nothing but a fairytale.”
The one thing that bothered me about this standalone novel, was the writing in the beginning. It was almost as if the author was attempting to be nonchalantly poetic, but it ended up being more confusing than anything. It took me a minute to wrap my head around the writing, but once I did, I was hooked. And that’s all there is to it!
Labeled as LGBTQ+, I knew I wanted to read this book, even though I was totally unaware of the reason behind the label. Well, come to find out… all the readers whose reviews I read on this novel did a very (and I mean, VERY) good job at not spilling the beans! (Thank you, non-spoilery reviews!) The twist was fantastic and totally unexpected! The LGBTQ+ representation was done very well, and I applaud McLemore on this aspect of the story. Kudos, kudos, and more kudos!
A bit odd and different (in a good way!), When the Moon Was Ours is a really, really good story that a reader can learn a lot from. If you haven’t read it yet, you really need to. It’s one of those stories that just NEEDS to be read. As much as I wanted to give the book five stars, it just didn’t reach that point for me, due to my issues with the writing in the beginning. But it absolutely is worth the four stars I gave it… and it could be worth more to you! Why don’t you read it and find out?!