Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

*I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.*
What it's about:
       In a small, quaint town lives a girl named Miel and a boy called Sam. Miel came out of a water tower one day and roses grow from her wrist, and Sam (known as Moon for the moons he paints and hangs all over town) became her instantaneous friend and next-door neighbor.  Cut to years later when the friends are teenagers, and are faced with a quartet of sisters who seem to have mystical powers over the population of the town. The Bonner sisters want Miel's roses, and are willing to give up every secret they know about the friends in order to get what they want.

What I thought:

       So firstly, I want to say that this book was absolutely beautiful. The language and metaphor were gorgeous. It was like a feast for the imagination--colorful and descriptive and magical. I could see the fields full of jewel-colored pumpkins and imagined myself sitting in Miel's kitchen chatting and wandering around town gazing at the fantastic moons Sam created.  
The story is so real yet steeped in magic and wonder all while exploring the many facets of the characters it is home to.
Sam is transgender, which plays a major part in plot (it's one of the secrets that the Bonner sisters hold against Miel), but it was portrayed in a positive and accepting way, which I thought was really lovely.  The plot also brings in some Latin folklore--I got seriously strong La Llorona vibes from the way Miel's mom was depicted, and it TOTALLY added to the richness of the story (like...if it was done right, I would watch a movie version of this in a HEARTBEAT.)

Actual footage of Miel's wrist. (Just kidding...sort of)

I loved Sam and Miel.  Though they both have somewhat mystical characteristics (Miel literally grows roses out of her wrist, and their color/smell/size depend on what she's thinking/feeling at the time, and Sam...the moons. Even the chapters are named after moon-related things and they're so pretty I could cry), they feel so true and authentic that you can't help but commiserate with them--the feels are real in this one, guys. The journey they go through in the story to understand themselves and each other (as well as the Bonner sisters and some of the other characters around them) just sort of spoke to me in a quiet but meaningful way.

In this book, you'll find romance and intrigue and magic, but mostly you'll find a beautiful and enchanting story about a pair of friends on a journey of discovery.  

Oh, and an excellent Autumn read, as well!

Rating: 4.25 stars.

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