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When the Moon Was Ours

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,705 ratings  ·  1,508 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
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
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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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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,705 ratings  ·  1,508 reviews

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Emily May
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
Chaima ✨ شيماء
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
Lala BooksandLala
Whoo boy was this book heavier than the cover implies. With her trademark ethereal tone, McLemore yet again pens a piece of magical realism that made me cry, swoon, and gasp out loud at. This is my third 5 star read from her in as many years, and has solidified her spot in my list of all time favourite authors.
C.G. Drews
This was SO beautifully written. I really adore this author and my favourite from her is The Weight of Feathers.
Sabaa Tahir
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I wanted so badly to love this, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a struggle for me to get through 😭 I loved the characters and the writing, but the actual plot/premise of this was way too nonsensical for my personal tastes. I am saaaad 😭😭
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
✨    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
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)
"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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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%.
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Edit 1/16/19: I just realised I never...crossposted my review???? Anyway I adore this book with my whole goddamned rotten heart and I would die for Miel and Sam. I will crosspost the review in the next few days.

I received an e-Arc of this book in exchange of an honest review

CW: Physical and emotional abuse, transphobia, drowning, death of a parent

Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

Oh my! I don’t even know where to begin with this book. My thoughts are so scattered and I
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
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
this book literally took me so long to read and idk why. it's literally 200 pages,,, someone explain
Karima chermiti
Full review posted

When I read Blanca and Roja , I fell in love immediately and I knew that it won’t be long before reading the author’s other books and here I am, another book and I’m smitten. Anna-Marie McLemore is one of those authors that write books that are genuine, beautiful with words from the heart, it always feels personal reading her books because they are and the way she approaches her topics with care, thoughtless and transparency makes you trust her and want to get to know her as a

I think I am going to reshelve this for now.
Just NOT feeling it at all.

I might try again in the Fall.
That's when I am at my whimsy-est.
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 one of the best books I’ve ever read.
If I had to write a list of the five best YA books I know, it would for sure be there. I decided to reread it because I haven’t had the best luck with new books lately, and I’m so glad I did.

One of the strongest aspects of this story is the atmosphere. I don’t say this just because Anna-Marie McLemore’s prose is magical, which it is, but because there’s an attention paid to the details that is uncommon, even for a magical realism boo
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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. She is the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best B ...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.” 22 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.” 15 likes
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