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When the Moon Was Ours
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When the Moon Was Ours

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  493 Reviews
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 consid ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Thomas Dunne
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Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
Oct 01, 2016 Emily May rated it really liked it
A beautiful book, all the way from its dedication to the author's note at the end (which is a must read).

When the Moon Was Ours is a magical realism novel - possibly my favourite genre - and as such, most of the story straddles the line between reality and the fantastical. Full of gorgeous writing, unforgettable characters and respect for culture and cultural traditions, this book just dazzles.

It's a story driven almost exclusively by its characters and their struggles. The plot is a little hard
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
I don't know how to even begin with this book! It's a mystical story of love, scary myths, transgender, magical things I still don't understand. AND, it was bloody brilliant!

Miel and Sam have a special relationship. They have been best friends for years, but they also love one another. Like I said, I was confused during a lot of the book with all of the prose and trying to understand the meanings. But there were parts where the author explained more and it was just this crazy mystical ride with
Sabaa Tahir
Jan 18, 2017 Sabaa Tahir rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and painful and honest and magical. I know I can always count on Anna-Marie to deliver a great story, and this one hit it out of the park.
Hannah Greendale
Oct 03, 2016 Hannah Greendale rated it really liked it
When the Moon Was Ours is a tender romance woven from opulent prose.

Only rumors can account for Miel's origin, a strange girl with night-black hair and roses budding from a wound on her wrist. Sam has a secret past and devotes his time to painting moons, which he hangs from the boughs of trees all over town. Bound by friendship and love, Miel and Sam share a mutual understanding to avoid the Bonner girls, four sisters said to be witches. But Miel has something the Bonner girls want, and when th
Sep 14, 2016 Stacee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
I loved Anna-Marie's first book and was so eager to read the next one. Honestly, I didn't even read the synopsis first, I downloaded it on her name alone.

Miel and Sam are fantastic characters. They're both struggling with a part of themselves they don't quite want to show the world. It's simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful to see them navigate the small town they live in. And those Bonner girls had me wondering if I should to jump in to shove them or hug them.

As always, Anna-Marie's prose
Such a ridiculously beautiful magical realism YA about the process of claiming your gender and identity, your body, your name, and how to best support and love someone in that process. For so many reasons - the writing, the PoC (Latina and South Asian) representation, the trans representation, the on-page sex - I am so excited this book is in the world.
Current status: Incoherent with feelings. Review to come.


Miel is the girl that emerged from a water tower one night when she was little, and Sam is the boy who paints paper moons and hangs them up on trees. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and not much is known about either her past or Sam’s. Their friendship finds common ground in their weirdness and secrets, and in their teens, blossoms into a lot more. The only people that the townsfolk choose to keep even further distance from tare he
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Actual Rating: 4.5*

Full review to come closer to release date but GOSH THIS ONE IS SO WONDERFUL. It's as lyrical and beautiful as The Weight of Feathers with so much more magic and suffering. And my heart literally broke into a million pieces only for it to be put back together bit by bit by Samir and Miel. These two though, these two.

I can't say enough good things about Anna-Marie McLemore and her writing because I will literally read her forever. *twirls around* Read this one bitches. (Sorry
Ann Marie
Dec 20, 2016 Ann Marie rated it it was amazing
Full review to follow.
Amanda Minnock
Aug 27, 2016 Amanda Minnock rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Thank you to St. Martin's Press & Anna-Marie McLemore for my copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to love this book I really did but unfortunately, it was lost on me.

The cover is gorgeous and it is written beautifully but I just couldn't connect with the story which was a shame. I still don't exactly get the plot either, so unfortunately, I'm DNF at 60%.
Sue (Hollywood News Source)

Moon had become his name to this town because of her. Because of her, this town had christened him. Without her, he had been nameless. He had not been Samir or Sam. He had been no one. They knew his name no more than they knew who this girl had been before she was water.

When the Moon Was Ours is an exceptional story. It is the book that I expect from The Graces. A reader can't simply describe its premise, because in some way–everything is tied to the focal plot. But, I will try in vain to encaps
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Magical, diverse and completely heart-aching, When the Moon Was Ours is a wonderfully evocative book about the secrets that we keep and embracing each other's differences. Featuring two best friends turned lovers who are both as strange as the other, their unwavering acceptance, friendship and love for each other is inspiring.

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into the book because of the slow start, and to get used to the strange and whimsical story about a girl who grows roses out of
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
I received an e-Arc of this book in exchange of an honest review

I adored this book more than words can express. It was so heartbreaking and touching and the characters so loveable that I couldn't not like anything about it, even the little things that bothered me at first were totally eclipsed by everything else.
I'm not one to usually read Author's notes but I don't know what brought me to do it this time, and realizing that the author was inspired by her own life to write this piece of art ma
The writing is outstanding and lush and the story is downright magic.

This is magical realism, the marvelous real, that we so rarely actually see in YA. This is a story about gender and about legends and about how those things are not necessarily separate things.

Transboy lead character, as well. Loved the way love and romance and intimacy were woven into the story in a way that was so perfectly TEEN and so perfectly full of heart-pittery moments (which is a thing I never say, but just did, righ
Sep 06, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"But there was everything else. The idea of being called Miss or Ms. or, worse, Mrs. The thought of being grouped in when someone called out girls or ladies. The endless, echoing use of she and her, miss and ma'am. Yes, they were words. They were all just words. But each of them was wrong, and they stuck to him. Each one was a golden fire ant, and they were biting his arms and his neck and his bound flat chest, leaving him bleeding and burning."

I am so delighted that this book is in the world. I
Nov 09, 2016 BlueLilyxLilyBlue marked it as to-read
Magical Realism?

Count me in.
"But it was his body. It was his to name. And he was under this roof of gold and darkness with a girl who would learn to call him whatever he named himself."

This is not a book you read when you want to feel bright and cheery. This is a book that sucks you in, drives a sharp-edged knife of emotional heartache into you, and spits you right back out, filling you with nothing but emptiness and a heartache of your own.

There needs to be more books like these. I can't stress this hard enough. Do you k
Dec 09, 2016 Jess♡ rated it really liked it
i cannot coherently put into words just how beautiful, refreshing, magical and important this book is. the writing, the characters and what it transmits is amazing. thank you for this book, truly.
May 03, 2016 Mackenzi rated it it was amazing
Obsessed with everything Anna-Marie writes. She can do no wrong.
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
I'm trying to gather my thoughts for a full review. Honestly this has to be one of the most beautifully written Magical Realism YA books I've come across since A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Updated Full Review:

I’d like to thank Thomas Dunne /St. Martin’s Press for approving me to receive an eGalley of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

***5 STARS***


When the Moon Was Ours is the story of two bes
Jan 11, 2017 Giovanna rated it really liked it
This was, like, super meaningful, but right now I'm sooooo tired.

I'll try to write something later, because this is definitely worth a couple of words.
Edit: more like, 3 words. Sigh.

This book dragged me out of my "I'm not reviewing anything" mood. It's not perfect, but it does have a powerful message to tell, and since I haven't seen it around I feel the need to push it on whoever might be reading this review.

Truth is, I haven't felt like reviewing lately. I just haven't been really appreciati
Roshani Chokshi
What a magical, inclusive book about love and belonging and identity. The prose doesn't just melt on your tongue, it digs into your heart. The family interactions in WTMWO rang so true. Anna-Marie is a force to be reckoned with, and I can't wait to read WHATEVER she writes next!
When The Moon Was Ours is like a cauldron with lots of things thrown in: transgender and gay people, mixed race people, small town people and their small town mentalities, some fantastical elements, folklore, love and romance and a few more ingredients. The result was a concoction that felt too diluted, sort of like multivitamins (lots of ingredients, but not enough of any compound to make a difference).

While I love lyrical writing, in this case, it was overdone and repetitive, and I thought the
Oct 02, 2016 Alexa rated it really liked it
4.75 stars. I already expected When the Moon Was Ours to be a beautifully written novel. But I underestimated how much it would blow me away! This story is chock full of imagination and metaphor and magic, all while telling the stories of two individuals coming to terms with where they came from, who they are and what they want. So, so good.
Shira Glassman
Oct 30, 2016 Shira Glassman rated it it was amazing
I feel like it might be useful for me to describe When The Moon Was Ours without indulging in the words 'magical realism' because until I read this, I really had no idea what that even meant. I tried looking it up and that didn't help, so I'd like to make my review more useful for people new to the genre so they have some idea of what to expect from the book other than some unfamiliar book lingo.

How about 'agricultural paranormal'? So: this isn't the paranormal of shadows and dark places and rot
Book Riot Community
I read McLemore’s debut The Weight of Feathers last year and knew that I’d want to scoop up her books as they came out in the future, and her sophomore effort, recently named a National Book Award long list title in Young People’s Literature, is a treat. This is a story about fables and legends, as well as a story about gender and gender fluidity. The writing is lush and vibrant and urgent, and the story itself is a true shining example of magical realism. I took my time reading it because the p ...more
One of my most anticipated reads!!!

This review and more can be found on my blog.
"Moon had become his name to this town because of her. Because of her, this town had christened him. Without her, he had been nameless. He had not been Samir or Sam. He had been no one. They knew his name no more than they knew who this girl had been before she was water."


If this novel didn't drag for the first 70 pages or so, it would be a full five stars. I loved everything about it. The whimsical and ethereal writing, the fairytale-like plot, and the diverse, 100% original characters. A
3.5 Stars, Completed September 25, 2016

When the Moon Was Ours is a magical realism tale that intricately weaves multicultural elements and LGBTQ+ themes by narrating a romance between two childhood friends. Miel, the mysterious girl found in the town’s water tower, has always been considered an outcast because the hem of her skirts are often a little damp and she has roses growing out of her wrist. Sam, also thought peculiar by the community for his deep olive tone skin and silent demeanor, is t
Ana ☾
Feb 03, 2017 Ana ☾ rated it it was amazing
I loved it so much that I just can't explained it. It was wonderful and beautiful and sad and I absolutely loved it.
The characters, the story, the writing (!!!), everything was stunning. Miel and Samir where ones of the best characters ever and their story in one for everyone to read (plus they are the cutest and you just can't not be in love with them).
I also loved the meaning behind the book and the explanation the author gives in the "author's note".
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Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, raised in the same town as the world's largest wisteria vine, and taught by her family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults book, and a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award. Her second novel, W ...more
More about Anna-Marie McLemore...

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“...both he and she were creek beds, quiet when they were full and quiet when they were dry. But when they were half-full, wearing a coat of shallow water, the current bumped over the rocks and valleys in the creek beds, wearing down the earth. Giving someone else a little of who they were hurt more than giving up none or all of it.” 8 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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