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When the Moon Was Ours
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When the Moon Was Ours

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,644 Ratings  ·  1,268 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)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rachel I'm a senior in college and read this book a couple days ago and I totally loved it!

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Emily May
Oct 01, 2016 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
Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
How do Anna-Marie Mclemore’s books always make me feel like I need to run barefoot through a misty forest, wearing a flower crown and dressed in velvet with rose balm on my lips and my bare shoulders plastered in pink bougainvillea flowers?

They’re vulnerable, hauntingly beautiful patchwork quilt of thoughts and emotions that leave your heart held tight and wishing you could transcend into their level of beauty and light and to be rid of all your feelings except for your love for them.

When The Mo
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf 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
C.G. Drews
This was SO beautifully written but didn't quite have enough plot. Or, you know, any plot. Hmm. And I'm really upset at myself for not being wholly in love with it because The Weight of Feathers was one of my FAVOURITE books of last year!! I can't stop thinking about the gorgeousness afjkasld. I think the difference here is just that When The Moon Was Ours focused on the lush prose and description and forgot, ya know...a plot.

Don't get me wrong. The writing is beautiful. The words
Sabaa Tahir
Jan 18, 2017 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.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The girl from the water tower, a rose growing from her wrist, and the boy on the wooden ladder, hanging the moon close enough for them to find.

Anna-Marie McLemore has become one of my favorite authors and it's only the first book I read from her. Her writing is exquisitely beautiful and her characters magically drive you into their lives.

Sam and Miel are best friends who are both unique in their own ways but are inseparable. Miel grows roses from her wrist and rumor says it, she was spilled
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
4 Stars


“The way he loved her was his, even if she wasn’t.”   

This was truly magical-realism. Every word was dripping was magic, carefully woven together into living, breathing, real characters.

... Only the plot didn’t seem to be there?

The blurb says this story is about Miel, a girl who grows roses out of her wrist and is trying to reconcile her past, with all the fantastical stories about her. She befriends Sam, who paints her endless moon fixtures so Miel never feels alone. Then the
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5ish stars.

McLemore's characters are, refreshingly, as varied as the sunlit clouds drifting in the firmament on the first Thursday morning after the Spring equinox. Her prose is... elaborate... like a henna tattoo spanning the entire breadth of a very large back. Yet it is also a Long and Winding Road, travelled by Paul McCartney, leading endlessly to your door beneath the indigo sunset, lined with identical lavender lilac bushes the entire way- beautiful only for the first 100 pag- ahem mile
Hannah Greendale
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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Jun 12, 2018 marked it as on-my-shelf
"In magical realism, characters can only hide things for so long before magic brings them back up."

-Anna-Marie McLemore

Chara Stans Official keep harassing me into reading this so I guess it'll be time soon,,,, ya know maybe
"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
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
more by anna-marie mclemore:
the weight of feathers

The most accurate word to describe this book would be beautiful. The story is beautiful; the writing is beautiful; the characters are beautiful. This book is like the first blooms of flowers in the Spring: fresh, unexpected, and memorable.

When the Moon Was Ours is mostly character-driven, and focuses on two very unique characters who you've never encountered before. Miel has roses coming out of her wrist, and Sam hangs moons on trees. But Miel
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
I chose this book as my Throwback Thursday pick of the week. You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.

This book has been on my NetGalley naughty list for some time. I read it a while ago and was so worried about writing a review that did it justice that I never quite finished that review.

When the Moon Was Ours was my first fantasy/magical realism read in a very, very long time. I wasn’t sure if would enjoy the genre but I’d been hearing so many good things that I just had to
✨    jamieson   ✨
“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.”


If I had to describe this book in one word I'd say exquisite, and then if I could choose a second word lush

Exquisite because, writing wise, this book is a masterpiece. The writing is so breathtakingly beautiful it really feels like every single word was perfectly placed. The
Cassandra {semi-hiatus}
"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
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.
Bonnie Shores
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other
"To this whole town, she was odd and unnerving. To them, she was the motherless girl who came from the water tower and grew roses from her wrist. A girl whose skirt hem was always a litte damp, even on the driest days. Whatever they said about her liking girls or liking boys was a handful of water next to the whole river. It could not make her stranger, more unsettling, to everyone else than she already was."


This book introduced me to the genre of magical realism, a "chiefly Latin-American nar
may ❀
Jul 24, 2018 marked it as on-hold-ill-get-to-it-one-day
Buddy read with a lil(y) cutie

i REALLY LIKED wild beauty and i think my friends will delete me if i dont love this one more but we'll see 🙃
He may have known the surface of the moon, memorized the names of the lunar maria, but Miel had done more than that with him. She'd learned him, but left room for the way he was still learning himself. She knew the shape of him, every place that was shadow and every place that reflected light, without deciding he was her to name.

This isn't a book you read for the plot. This is a book you read for the beautifully written characters inside these pages.

I fell in love with Samir and his moons. Samir
Sep 14, 2016 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
Aug 27, 2016 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%.
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
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
Lily ☁️
I just want to fall in love with Anna-Marie McLemore as an author. (Please?)

🌙 buddy read with popsicle + heart appreciator

Blog ¦ Bloglovin’ ¦ Tumblr ¦ Instagram
Review originally posted on Lacy Literacy:
"Someday, he and Miel would be nothing but a fairy tale. When they were gone from this town, no one would remember the exact brown of Miel's eyes, or the way she spiced recado rojo with cloves, or even that Sam and his mother were Pakistani. At best, they would remember a dark-eyed girl, and a boy whose family had come from somewhere else. They would remember only that Miel and Sam had been called Honey and Moon, a girl and a boy woven into the folklore
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
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
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!
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
Jessi ♡
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
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Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains 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, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, was longlisted for the National Book Awa ...more
“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.” 17 likes
“...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.” 13 likes
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