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When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel by…

When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel

by Anna-Marie McLemore

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3471447,145 (3.91)16
  1. 00
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (kgriffith)
    kgriffith: Magical realism, beautiful prose, setting as a character/catalyst

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
What a wonderful little book! I purchased When the Moon Was Ours after reading so many positive reviews from my friends here on Goodreads, but I was not quite sure what I was getting into. This fairy tale is pure magic; a perfect companion for a gloomy Sunday afternoon. I devoured this book is one sitting and will definitely be on the look out for more of McLemore's work. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
This book was not for me. It's been a minute since I dipped into magical realism as a genre, and it's still not one that I can do. If you're looking for YA magical realism, go ahead and give this one a go, but if that's not your thing, this isn't going to change your mind. ( )
  Dez.dono | Mar 27, 2018 |
I was not properly prepared for this book.

Which was probably my fault. I went in only knowing that there was a trans love interest and a girl with roses and that was pretty much it. I’ve seen a fair amount of gushing reviews about how beautiful this book is but I still wasn’t prepared for just how right this book feels.

This is the perfect Autumn book if you’re more into magic than spooky. The story involves a strange cast of characters. Miel, the girl who is afraid of pumpkins and water and grows roses out of her wrist. Samir, a boy who just wants to call his body what he wants. The Bonner sisters, a near sinister group of girls who have their own set of secrets. Aracely, a woman shaped by the river. The setting of this book flits between a violet house, a pumpkin patch full of increasingly glass pumpkins, and the woods that house a stained glass coffin. This book is a sensory experience and more character driven than plot oriented, but McLemore makes it work. No, she more than makes it work- she leaves you desperately wanting more.

While this book pretends to be an almost fairytale, this is really about two best friends falling in love but learning to accept themselves on their own. It takes Sam owning his own body and name to allow him to let Miel in and Miel has to start moving forward from her traumatic childhood in order to stand up for herself against the Bonner sisters. I did love how in the end, it wasn’t Miel protecting Sam as much as it was Sam protecting himself which is very important.

The magic in the story is so effortless. People believe in magic, people use magic, and it’s just something that is there and accepted. I really appreciated how organically it flowed throughout the story.

There was a lot of commentary on how PoC are treated as outsiders, especially through Samir’s mother. The town trusted her with their children but were always quick to make sure she knew that she was an outsider because of where her family came from. McLemore didn’t hold back on this topic, at all. She’s very bold in her assessment that if you are different from the people around you, it’s like walking a tight-rope… one misstep and it’s all over. Parents love Samir because he paints moons that lull that children to sleep but if they knew that he was trans, they would hate him.

Samir. Good LORD, SAMIR. I had never heard of the Pakistani practice of bacha posh and I was sort of weary about how this would play out in the story since it had been lauded as revolutionary trans rep. However, McLemore beautiful touches on this tradition and what it means for Samir… who doesn’t want to go back to being Samira because that’s not who he is. I also loved the relationship he has with his mother and how she is willing to do anything for her son. There was so much GOOD exploration of gender and sexuality and sex, and it was so great to see this characters explore and not be shamed for that exploration.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews state that they didn’t “get this book”. Honestly, if you’re a reader who needs everything to make sense or needs world building, this book probably isn’t for you. There are a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of “just roll with it” in this book. Why does Miel’s family have a history of rose girls? Why are the Bronner’s parents so apathetic? Are we in modern times? No one knows! This is definitely a book for people who are ok with “suspending disbelief” for the duration of the book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. To everyone. 100x over. ( )
  DearRosieDear | Mar 22, 2018 |
This is a beautifully written coming of age love story. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Feb 25, 2018 |
Beautiful trans coming of age story with heavy magical realism. Strong, interesting characters. Writing was a little repetitive in places. Nothing major, but not just prosaic repetition. Felt like the author moved some revelations to a new chapter and forgot to take it out of the old one. Didn't detract from the story, just made me wonder if I'd missed something the first time. Overall wonderful fairy tale of sorts with a very dreamlike quality to it. ( )
  AjaxBell | Aug 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Maybe I need you the way that big moon needs

that open sea.

Maybe I didn't even know I was here 'til I saw you

holding me.

-Andrea Gibson
To the boys who get called girls,

the girls who get called boys,

and those who live outside these words.

To those called names

and those searching for names of their own.

To those who live on the edges,

and in the spaces in between.

I wish for you every light in the sky.
First words
As far as he knew, she had come from the water. But even about that, he couldn't be sure.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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As their deep friendship turns to love, Latina teenager Miel, who grows roses from her wrist, and Italian-Pakistani Samir, a transgender boy, fear their secrets will be exposed by the beautiful Bonner girls, four sisters rumored to be witches.

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