Oh wow. Honestly, after finishing this book, that's all I can say. I read The Weight of Feathers--the author's first book--and it was fantastic and beautiful, but When The Moon Was Ours is even more wonderful. When I was reading this book, I stopped several times and just soaked in Anna-Marie McLemore's exquisite word choice and metaphors. And her storytelling style overall...wonderful.
As you can probably tell, I really, really liked this book.
When The Moon Was Ours is magical realism, a story about a girl who has roses growing from her wrist and appeared in town via the water in the old water tower when it was knocked down, a boy who draws her moons, a mysterious woman who heals lovesickness, and four sisters who might or might not be witches.
The focus is on Miel (the girl with the roses) and Sam (the boy who draws her moons), who have been friends since childhood. But now they are teenagers, and are feeling stirrings of attraction along with the love they have always held for each other. The two of them have to deal not only with this, but also with secrets kept either by them or by others, and the hate and fear of a town that sees them as strange.
Eventually, they find a way through all of these difficulties and regain the trust between them that was fractured at various points within the book.
The author, even though she's cis, does a really good job of writing the trans characters; Sam and the woman who heals lovesickness, Aracely, who raised Miel. The only thing that bothers me, and might bother others, is the fact that both Aracely and Sam are deadnamed at various points in the book. But that is honestly the only issue I had with her portrayal of them. (Keep in mind that other people who read this book may have different perceptions than I did of this).
Overall, I thought this book was a well-written, engaging, and slightly eerie (which I loved) fairytale. When I say fairytale, I mean something more along the the lines of the older ones that people told their children as warnings, though this book has a much happier ending than any of those. It is actually in a way a retelling of the Mexican fairytale of La Llorona and other Mexican folklore from the author's heritage.
What did you guys think of this book?
What's your opinion of Anna-Marie McLemore's writing?
Was there anything you especially loved? Hated?
Tell me in the comments!