Title : When the Moon was Ours
Author : Anna-Marie McLemore
Publication date : October 4th 2016
Publisher : Thomas Dunne
Genre : Young Adult | Magical Realism
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.It’s high seas adventure full of magic, secrets and feelings!
“He wanted to give her every light that ever hung in the night sky. He wanted to give her back what she thought she’d lost years ago.”
*I was provided an e-Arc of this book by the publishers in exchange of an honest review*
Oh my! I don’t even know where to begin with this book. My thoughts are so scattered and I have SO MANY FEELINGS about it that I don’t even know how to form into coherent sentences. Well, what I can already tell you is that this book was a few firsts to me. First book with a transboy. First introduction to magical realism. And what an introduction indeed. I adored “When the Moon was Ours” more than I can even begin to express and I lowkey want to throw it at everyone’s face (or is that highkey?). Anyway, I’ll stop rambling here and try to do a proper review. But no promises.
Even at the beginning, when I was still deciding whether this book was for me or not, I immediately fell in love with the writing style. The prose is so so beautiful and has a whimsical vibe to it which adds a lot to the story as a whole, it almost feels like a whisper, I really don’t know how to explain it, it just relies so much on metaphors and the like that it makes the whole experience almost soothing, even though the events aren’t. It is written in Dual POV going back and forth between Sam and Miel and because this a heavily character driven story, that is crucial in understanding what they’re feeling at certain points as well as what goes through their minds as certain things happen.
The story broke my heart. Not that it was a sad ending or the like but it’s more about internal struggles that both main characters as well as some side ones go through, which shows that sometimes internal battles weigh as much as -if not more- than any other kind. It is also very settle. in my humble opinion, this book embodies the metaphor of secrets because each character had their own darkness to deal with, something that kept dragging them down and it is not before all of that was revealed that a certain problem was solved and all of that was ultimately related with them coming to terms with who they really were and that was made even more impactful with the setting of the book, it being a very old fashioned little town.
As I mentioned before, this was my very first immersion into Magical Realism and I only have one thing to say, WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG? I’m completely won over by this genre and all it took is this little jewel. I am just in awe in front of how the author was able to weave some “supernatural” elements into the story and still making it seem so real, because let me tell you, I had no problem believing that a girl could grow roses out of her wrist, or that a woman could take lovesickness out of a body. Oh and how I adored all the magic !!
I am not saying that it is flawless, because I was bit bothered by how a certain person’s real identity was discovered by Miel because of how obvious it was all along BUT this is just the kind of book that makes you look through all the minor issues and doesn’t leave you any other choice but to give it full marks. A hundred stars for how many emotions it packs.
So, through the book the characters got through so much development that it is actually impressive, not only as people but also in their relationships with each other.
First of all, we have Miel. She is such a sweet and strong girl who’d do anything for the people she loves, going through hell and back just to protect them and their secrets (read: Sam), but here’s the thing, she has a past that she cannot escape no matter how hard she tries, a past that led her to being the orphan that came out of the water tower and seeing her finally being at peace with that while putting together the missing pieces was remarkable, such a raw and heartfelt Journey.
Oh and Sam! He was my favorite to be honest! It was so interesting to read about a trans character that was in denial, he kept making excuses for himself and hiding behind “Bacha Posh” which is a tradition found in Pakistan -among other places- in which families that have no male presence get one of their daughters to be the boy of the family (I suck at explaining things but that’s about it). And he did that for his mom, or he convinced himself that that was what he was doing while everyone around him knew him for who he really is. And what was the most heartwarming is how his mom knew it all along and let him come to the terms with it on his own timing and when he finally came out to her she had this “Do whatever suits you” attitude about it.
Let’s not forget about the other characters. Aracely for exemple was a huge one for me, I really liked how she was “the Wise one” which made me forget more than once how young she was. Also, the Bonner Girls gave me the creeps, and they still do. Cold sweats I tell you!
At the end, I read the Author notes which is weird for me because I normally never do that but I didn’t regret it one single bit, because I realized that the story was inspired by the author’s own life which gave me a whole new kind of appreciation for it. I highly recommend and truly think that everyone should get their copy when it comes out.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read When the Moon was Ours? If so, what did you think of it?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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