Published by Thomas Dunne on October 4, 2016
Genres: LGBT, Young Adult
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.
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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.
Oh my stars! The beauty of this novel! Everything—the magical realism, the atmosphere—absolutely stunning. It took my breath away; I didn’t want the book to end.
This novel’s message is clear, but it’s handled with subtlety and grace. It’s so effortlessly executed that the reader can just sit back and enjoy the story.
Any coming of age story tackles losing one’s innocence, losing that child-like perspective. McLemore reminds us that this isn’t always a direct lesson; it can happen as we observe things happening to the people around us, too.
When the Moon Was Ours felt like Aimee Bender meets Laura Esquivel, but McLemore’s voice is still fresh, uniquely hers. If you don’t normally read YA, take a chance on this. Especially if you love magical realism. You’ll thank me!