I received an ARC of When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore in exchange for an honest review.
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.
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 considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Anna-Marie has written a magical story about the difficulties some teenagers face in high school when they are considered different or weird. The prose in When the Moon was Ours is so beautiful it makes the story seem even more magical and unreal. I was confused at certain times in the story and questioning if certain things were really magic or not. Everything that I found confusing was eventually explained as the characters move forward and are forced to face difficult secrets they have kept.
When the Moon Was Ours is a beautiful and magical coming of age story. Even though this is a young adult story, I would recommend it for those who are on the older end of the young adult age spectrum.