When the Moon Was Ours

When the Moon Was Ours

Book - 2016
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Winner of the 2016 Tiptree Award!
Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Stonewall Book Award Honor

"McLemore's second novel is such a lush surprising fable, you half expect birds to fly out of the pages... McLemore uses the supernatural to remind us that the body's need to speak its truth is primal and profound, and that the connection between two people is no more anyone's business than why the dish ran away with the spoon."
--Jeff Giles, New York Times Book Review

Anna-Marie McLemore's debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple "Best YA Novels" lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.

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 wantthe 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.

Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.

Publisher: New York :, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250058669
Branch Call Number: YA MCL
Characteristics: viii, 273 pages ; 22 cm

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Rebole
Jul 28, 2017

It's an absolutely beautiful story with a touch of a fairy tale. A story of acceptance, love, friendship, secrets, lies and letting go. The author has such a way with words that brings the story to life. It's full of wonderful colors and scents. It makes you feel everything, happiness, sadness, anger, pain, fear and heartaches.

AL_TEENBOARD Jul 17, 2017

This book is a magical realism novel and is wonderful in how fantastical it is. The wondrous aspects of this book such as the roses growing from Miel's wrists and the ability of the Bonner girls to make anyone fall in love with them creates a compelling story to get lured into. Some of these magical elements are also delightfully creepy without having to resort to gore. The relationship between Miel and Sam is sweet and endearing but also complicated in their need to protect one another from their circumstances. Miel's caretaker Aracely is a mysterious character and I was pleased by the revelation of her backstory. The book is also good if you want a diverse cast of characters such as Sam who is transgender as well as Miel and Aracely who are latina. Another characteristic that makes this book stand out is McLemore's beautiful and enchanting prose which makes the magical nature of this book feel possible without taking away from the wonder.

lindsay_r May 29, 2017

This novel is a beautifully written fairy tale with very interesting, well-rounded characters. The love story is sweet, and the novel seamlessly blends mythology, magic, and issues of gender and culture (a great example of diversity done well in YA).

AL_LESLEY Apr 11, 2017

This book is undoubtedly beautiful with symbolism galore. The authors use of color and nature was enchanting and the story of secrets and lies and growth consisting of multicultural and LGBTQ characters was a very personal one for the author and led me to respect this book very much.

ElizF Mar 16, 2017

It has been a week since I finished the book and I still don't really know what to think of it. I think the magical realism was just a bit much for me. I grew up with stories of la llorona and love everything about them, but didn't catch the connection until after I read the author's note. I liked the transgender aspect of the story. It really made me think about the questions that transgender individuals and their loved ones face every day. Learning about the author's direct tie to the situation made the story even more intriguing.

Chapel_Hill_StephenA Feb 06, 2017

I loved everything about this book. Anna-Marie McLemore's writing would fit in with Jeffrey Eugenides or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but also has a style that's completely unique. There isn't a single character in this book I wasn't attached too. Sam and Miel and Aracely and even the (really creepy and wonderfully written) Bonner sisters. This lush fairy tale is a bit of a slow burn, but patient readers who love magic and romance will be hugely rewarded at the end. If I were the king of the American Library Association, this book would have won every single award. Even the ones it doesn't qualify for. It's just that good. I cant wait for more books by this amazing author.

samcmar Nov 14, 2016

I admit, I haven't read Anna-Marie McLemore's award winning debut, but when I got When the Moon Was Ours in my goodie bag from #TeensReadFeed back in May, the premise had me completely intrigued. This is a novel about defying odds, encompassing identity, and it just offers a plethora of wonder and enchantment to the reader.

This book focuses on magical realism, sexuality, a transgender protagonist, and a Latina main character, who both inhabit each others worlds in the most beautiful and thoughtful way. The beautiful writing sweeps the reader into such an amazing space, and I found myself completely glued to the words on the page. Sam and Miel's journey is so cleverly written, and McLemore makes you the reader feel like you're along for the ride. Their friendship was perfect, perfect, perfect. I loved them, I cheered for them, I wanted them to have everything in the world. I felt like I knew both protagonists so well, and I loved the way in which McLemore dealt with Sam's identity in particular, as it was so methodically done, and I had so much sympathy for him throughout the story.

I also urge readers to please read the Author's Note at the end of this novel. It was actually one of my favourite parts of the book as it offers so much insight into how this novel was crafted and cared for. When the Moon Was Ours is a stunning journey for readers who love complex relationships and magical storytelling. I was so sad when I got to the last page of this book, simply because I just didn't want it to be over.

s
shayshortt
Nov 03, 2016

When the Moon Was Ours draws on the legend of La Llorona, a ghostly woman who haunts the river, crying for her drowned children. The ghost of a similar tragedy hangs over Miel’s past, and her unwillingness to speak about her life before she came out of the water tower, even with Sam, who has trusted her with his deepest secrets. She is in the habit of consigning the roses that grow from her arm to the river where she hears her mother crying, until the Bonner sisters become determined to seize these “wasted” blooms for their own purposes. This myth adds one more layer to a love story suffused with magic realism, and haunted by tragedy.
Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2016/10/31/when-the-moon-was-ours/

LPL_CentennialC Oct 22, 2016

Wow. Just wow. I went into this book knowing very little about it, just that it had been nominated for a few awards, but it hit me in all the right spots. This might be my new favorite YA book!

If you like magical realism at all, you will adore this book. It’s lyrical, romantic, and full of the most beautiful kind of wonder. It takes a minute to get used to the rhythm of McLemore’s language, but once you do it’s phenomenal. The gorgeous language and magical qualities of this book are side by side with an intricate, moving plot. Set in a small town, this is a story about lovers, gender identity, sisterhood, and learning to accept your past.

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shayshortt
Nov 03, 2016

When the people of the town tore down the old water tower, out came Miel, soaking wet but otherwise unharmed, aside from her deathly fear of pumpkins. This unusual appearance is the least of her oddities; roses grow unbidden from her wrist, and the hem of her skirt is constantly wet, even in the heat of summer. Always half-regarded as a witch, her only friend is Sam, a boy with secrets of his own. He paints and hangs beautiful moons from the trees, and he is maybe the only boy in town who has never fallen in love with one of the Bonner sisters, four more suspected witches because of their great beauty and even greater heartlessness. But when the Bonner sisters seem to be losing their power, they decide that Miel’s roses hold the key to restoring it. And if she doesn’t give them up, neither her secrets, nor Sam’s, will be safe.

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shayshortt
Nov 03, 2016

She had seen him naked. Almost naked. And she understood that with his clothes off, he was the same as he was with them on.

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