Monday, October 3, 2016

ARC Review: When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Written by: Anna-Marie McLemore
Published: October 4, 2016 by St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves. 

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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgallet widget in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I loved Anna-Marie's debut and so I was so excited to have a chance to read an advance copy of her next book. And once again, Anna-Marie has written an absolutely gorgeous read full of magic and great characters.

This book is magical realism at its finest. Despite the fact that I typically prefer my magic to be more overt, I love this kind of magic. The kind of magic that is subtle and interesting in a way that adds depth and mystery to the world. The magic hear does just that, creates a setting that feels beautiful and interesting with unexpected magic. Plus the magic is tied to the characters in a way that pulls you in to them.

And these are some really fantastic characters too. You can't help but empathize with both Miel and Sam throughout this book and their struggles. This very much feels like a character-driven as we alternate between the two characters and seem them navigate in the world and the magic they have. You feel their fear and uncertainty at the same time you sense their confidence. They're interestingly complex which is always a good thing. You also get the feeling that they care so much for each other. Throughout the book their relationship, their friendship developing into more, is a part of the book and their development. And while it didn't take away from the book for me, it wasn't a something that I loved. But you know me and my romancephobic tendencies.

The great thing about these characters and this book though is that it's a subtle coming-of-age story. There is usually some aspect of that in YA but here it was a big part of the plot and themes of the book. This is a book about acceptance. It's about being comfortable with who you are even if it's not typical and portraying that to the world. This made for not only a compelling story but also a deep connection to the characters.

Plus if you have read Anna-Marie's debut you know that her writing is absolutely beautiful. She has this lyrical style that pulls you into the world and the plot of the book in a way that is totally immersive. It takes a little while to get used to but when you are into it, you are loving he beauty of the worlds and where they are taking you. It took me longer to read than I expected because this is one of those books that forces you to slow down and take in all the words.

On the whole I really liked this book. It's a book with great characters with good development and an interesting coming-of-age story; its gorgeous writing will have you falling into a world of magic.

I give When the Moon Was Ours by Anna--Marie McLemore 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you enjoyed this authors debut or are looking for a lyrical read or something with magical realism than check this one out. Or if you are a fan of contemporary coming-of-age stories with diverse characters and/or want to read some more fantasy pick this one up. Anna-Marie's books are perfect for contemp fans who don't read a lot of fantasy. Not to mention it's a beautiful read.

Have you read When the Moon Was Ours? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

P.S. Be sure to check back later in the week! I'll have more on this book and an interview with the author for my stop on the blog tour.


  1. Great review! You had me at magical realism. :)

  2. I've never read anything by this author, but I've seen a lot about this book! I have a hard time with lyrical writing though, so maybe this is one I should pick up on audio. This does sound magical. Great review :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  3. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Weight of Feathers, but I’m kind of excited about this one. The author is such a talented writer, and magical realism is hard for me to resist.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  4. I'm gonna be reading this one very very soon! I'll finish my re-read of CK tonight, so hopefully tomorrow!

  5. This is on my very near to do list. I still haven't read Weight of Feathers, but I can't imagine not loving something this poetic and magical. I love that you really get a good sense of Sam and Miel caring for each other. It's the worst just being TOLD that two characters care, but not really buying it. And I'm a little less romancephobic than you are. ;P I'm incredibly excited to read Anna-Marie's style. The few excerpts are most definitely lyrical, and I'll forgive anything for good writing. Which makes it even better when the plot and characters are good too. Lovely review!

    Sarcasm & Lemons

  6. Multicultural, transgender character, magical realism, beautiful writing...I can't wait!