Book Reviews · Young Adult Books

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

5/5 stars

My favorite book of the year so far.

Full Review

“When they both realized they were heartbroken enough to want the love torn from their rib cages, they touched each other with their hands and their mouths, and they forgot they wanted to be cured.”

I read Weight of Feathers last year and instantly fell in love in Anna-Marie McLemore and her world of magical-realism. But in my opinion, When the Moon Was Ours was even better (which is saying a lot, because I gave the first novel 5 stars!).

I could have finished this book in two days or so, the story was so interesting to me. But this is one of those amazing books that you want to savor every word before it’s over, so I took my time. And I’m glad I did because that made the book more enjoyable.

McLemore does a great job at paying attention to detail, which seems to be very important when writing magical realism. This novel’s imagery is filled with nature. From pumpkins, roses, rivers, trees, and the moon. Everything about this novel made me realize how beautiful the little details of the world can be.

On top of my love for magical realism, I also picked up this book after hearing about it’s diverse characters. Because of cultural/social reasons, Samir has lived as a boy for most of his life. But what his mother doesn’t t know is that Samir is not just pretending, he realizes that he is transgender.

Miel is a young Latina woman who has dealt with the emotional turmoil of losing her mother and brother to an accident that she was involved in. She is also judged by the entire town for the roses that grow out of her wrists. Then, the red-headed Bonner sisters who have powers of their own, decide they need Miel’s roses whether she wants to give them up or not.

I think one of the reasons McLemore’s writing feels so real is because without even reading her bio, I could tell she truly writes from the heart. Stories from her childhood are evident in her novels, as well as her personal experiences (for example, her husband is a transgender man like Samir). And those kind of stories are the strongest.

I would absolutely recommend reading her notes after the last chapter. It really moved me, and made the magical and emotional story of Samir and Miel all the more powerful.

I hope we get Anna-Marie McLemore book for many, many years to come.

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