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

whenmoonwasoursWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published by Thomas Dunne on October 4, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, LGBT

Pages: 288 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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.


If you haven’t heard of Anna-Marie McLemore yet, I’m sorry to say you’re living life wrong. After her debut, The Weight of Feathers, completely blew me away last year, I knew she would always be an auto-buy author for me. Needless to say I was frothing at the mouth for When the Moon was Ours. Miel and Sam’s story of bonds, secrets, and strangeness was such a poignant piece and I cannot say enough good things about it.

If you adore absolutely beautiful writing than McLemore’s work is definitely for you. Her way with words is truly unbelievable and her stories are poetry in motion. It’s so lyrical and eloquent that it will take your breath away, and this style works so well in conjunction with magical realism. It’s not a sub-genre I reach for frequently but the small fantastical elements make each moment so engaging. Who knew roses, moons, and pumpkins could be so captivating?

Done right, characters will always hold such a special place in my heart, and Sam and Miel will stay with me for a very long time. The two of them are such flawed, realistic characters, trying to figure out who they really are and making so many mistakes along the way. Their connection was so strong and ridiculously touching, and yes it gave me all the feels. I even thought the development of the Bonner sisters and their place within the story was done exceptionally well.

At the center of this story are secrets. Whether it be Miel’s past, Sam’s identity, or a host of other hidden things, this narrative deals with how what we keep inside impacts our everyday life. Secrets directly inform our choices and McClemore’s deft hand truly shows that we are not alone in this. This compelling story will peel back your layers and really make you think long and hard about your decisions. It’s truly inspiring!

Overall When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore was an excellent story, with such earnest, honest truths. It holds so much emotional weight and such gorgeous prose. Miel and Sam dug deep beneath my skin, touching my soul, and these characters are truly a work of art. I honestly think every single person should read this book and there really is something for everyone. With all of that said, my words could never do this story justice.

So have you picked up When the Moon was Ours yet? Have you read McLemore’s debut too? Are you a fan of magical realism in stories? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

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