When the Moon Was Ours – Book Review

On my attempts of blogging more often, I have written my review for When the Moon Was Ours! I’m slowly doing progress with my Diversity Bingo sheet, I read this book because I wanted to find a book with good transgender representation in it. This book is also written by a latinx author AND it has magical realism in it!

When the Moon Was Ours

When the Moon Was Ours
by Anna-Marie McLemore
288 pages
Published: October 4, 2016.
Goodreads rating: 4.01 stars (1,527 Ratings)

My Rating: 4.0 stars (⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆)
Find the lowest price on Socialbookco.com!

“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.”

This book is beautiful… and you can tell, LITERALLY from the first page. Just read the dedication!

“To the boys who get called girls,
the girls who get called boys,
and those who live outside these words.
To those called names,
and those searching for names of their own.
To those who live on the edges,
and in the spaces in between.
I wish for you every light in the sky.”

Beautiful, isnt it? When the Moon Was Ours is full of magical realism. Which means, it might be a bit confusing at first and/or difficult to get into from the start. But trust me, it’s worth it. It’s a story with beautiful writing, lovable characters, and full of “feels”.

When the Moon Was Ours is a story about two best friends who turn into lovers. This was a bit confusing for me at first because I was like “Are they friends or are they more?!” but it’s a transition that I wish I would have caught up earlier. They’re both strange, and weird in the eyes of the world. They both have things they fight… Miel is the girl who has roses growing from her body, she’s gotten teased, she’s different. Sam has been fighting with his sexual identity, he’s a boy with a girl’s body, and he has secrets to keep.

Going more into detail about our main characters;

  • Miel – She can magically grow roses from her wrist. To me, that’s beautiful! But not everyone might think the same… and while Sam, her lover/best friend sees nothing wrong with her roses, we learn that the roses brought a lot of trouble to Sam and her family. Miel finds herself in trouble when the Bonner Sisters want to steal her roses. Who knew something so beautiful could bring Miel so much pain?
  • The Bonner Sisters – While they are not main characters, they play a VERY important role, which I wanted to touch here real quick. They are 4 sisters that are mean, bitchy and just cruel. (Don’t get me wrong, they’re super awesome characters! But man… they suck as human beings.) It is said that they can make any boy fall in love with them, but it seems they have lost that charm, and they believe that Miel’s roses will help them get their charm back.
  • Sam – Born a girl, raised like a boy, is a boy. The story goes into details about a Pakistani tradition known as bacha posh. This tradition is used in families with no sons, where one of the daughters will dress and behave like a boy, so the family can have a male caretaker. Sam is bullied because of his feminine appearance, (it’s a secret that he has a female body), so the bullying is just because men are treated as less if they don’t fit into the mold of a “manly man”. Sam has secrets to keep, if he wants to be who he wishes to be.

This is not the type of book I’d recommend if you are looking for a cute love story to cheer you up, or if you want something short and/or light. While the book does have 288 pages, it’s something that I couldn’t read as fast as I thought. This is a book that will hit you deep and it might even leave you with heartache. BUT IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! I will never stop saying that!

The book includes many Latino and Pakistani aspects (more inclined towards Latino though), it has a beautifully diverse cast and amazing writing. This is the perfect combination of loss, love, acceptance, and grief all wrapped up inside a YA book.

When the Moon Was Ours is definitely a unique story that will stay with you for a looooong time.




11 Comments Add yours

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    I think this book sounds beautiful!


  2. Great review! I just started this book and I can’t wait to see if I end up loving it as much as everyone does. Also, that dedication is amazing 💕


    1. Let me know what you think of it! (And yes, that dedication is just… woooow ♥)


  3. I’ve been meaning to read this, since it won the Newberry! Great review! It truly does sound beautiful!


    1. Thank you! ♥
      I know we all got loooong tbr lists haha but I do hope you get the time to read this one!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Me too! 😀


  4. Great review! This book sounds lovely 🙂


  5. ashley says:

    I love a beautifully written book! This isn’t told from multiple POV’s is it?


    1. While I consider both Miel and Sam to be main characters, the story is narrated (mostly towards Miel’s side) no different POVs.


      1. ashley says:

        That’s good to know! Sometimes, I have a hard time reading books with dueling points of views, it depends on the book though.


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