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.
I started reading When The Moon Was Ours and knew right away, on the very first page, that this was going to be a book I’ll not only love, but that will stay with me for a long time, a book I’ll revisit many times and never not love to pieces.
Right away, on the first page, with the first few lines, this wonderfully strange feeling of heaviness starts pressing down on your heart and you just wait for the moment your heart will break under it. When the Moon Was Ours wraps you into a blanket of sadness, making you fear what’s to come because you know all too well what this world is like, but at the same time giving you hope that wonderful, magical things are possible.
This was the first book I read by Anna-Marie McLemore but it definitely won’t be the last. A writing style reminiscent of Laini Taylor, that made me fall in love with this book no matter what the story was going to be like. A few words in and I felt at ease, both wanting to devour the whole book all at once and wanting to cherish it for as long as possible at the same time.
I’ve always been a huge fan of magical realism but Anna-Marie McLemore easily moved in as a new favorite of mine in the genre. When I first heard about When the Moon Was Ours, I knew this was going to be a book for me, but I was still not prepared for this beautifully magical story. I was utterly delighted by her use of magical aspects to make the book this most wonderful thing that it is.
What When the Moon Was Ours excels at is diversity. I’ve never read a book about a transgender character before and I know every book coming after this one will have a hard time, because I’ll always be thinking back to this one. I am glad I got to read Sam’s story and to learn what it’s like through such a unique book. I love how Anna-Marie McLemore balances both the heavy truth of how hard it is to go through what Sam is experiencing, and the hope that you’ll find your way and your place in the world. Besides its LGBTQIA themes it also features multicultural elements, making it even more special and outstanding than its overall premise already is.
When the Moon Was Ours is a very personal story for Anna-Marie McLemore and you can tell. It feels like she put her heart into it and makes us feel it with every single page. Only a few books ever made me feel this kind of sadness, making it so easy to love it for all the things it’s able to make me feel.
When the Moon Was Ours does not only tell the most beautifully sad story, but also an important one, one that I hope many will read.