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Follow the Author
When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel Kindle Edition
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From School Library Journal
About the Author
- ASIN : B01CXOYMZ4
- Publisher : Thomas Dunne Books (October 4, 2016)
- Publication date : October 4, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 3434 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 290 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #283,571 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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When I read a particularly beautiful or arresting passage of a book, I linger on it, letting the words roll around in my mouth to savor their texture and flavor. It doesn't happen with every book; when it does, it's usually not that often and only consists of a couple of sentences. To my shock and utter delight, though, When the Moon Was Ours was filled almost entirely with these kinds of passages, consisting of whole chapters that made me slow down and marvel at their otherworldly beauty.
This is the story of Miel, a Latinx girl who washed out of a water tower one day and has roses growing out of her wrist, and Samir, a Pakistani boy who hangs the moon wherever he can. The whole town believes Miel is a fearsome witch because of her roses and her emergence from the water and the fact that she lives with a curandera named Aracely who cures the lovesick people of the town. The truly fearsome witches, however, may be the Bonner girls, las gringas bonitas, who beguile the boys and men of the town and take whatever they want for themselves...including Miel's roses.
Anna-Marie McLemore's prose is shimmering and poetic, creating a dreamlike narrative that showcases the beauty and wistfulness of magical realism. Glass pumpkins grow out of the ground in jewel tones. Lovesickness takes physical form, flying out of a window once it's been wrenched from the body of a spurned lover. A mysterious woman emerges fully formed from a cloud of thousands of butterflies. McLemore's lyrical style breathes life into her delicate fairy tale, showing readers the possibility that lies within each of us to become who we are truly meant to be.
The idea of becoming yourself and living your truth applies to all the characters in the book, but it would be an act of erasure on my part to pull focus from the story of Samir, the transgender boy who hangs the moon. For the most part, Samir's friends and family give him the time and space he needs to understand his true feelings and true self, and we get the privilege of seeing him work through the complicated thoughts and emotions that come with being a trans teen.
I'm cisgender, so please take my opinions here with every grain of salt in existence, but Samir's depiction feels insightful and authentic to me. His characterization is empathetic and lovingly crafted — in the acknowledgments and the author's note, McLemore states that their relationship with their husband, who is trans, inspired much of the story. They also say that he helped them a great deal in writing Samir by answering questions about his experiences as a trans boy; that level of care and intimacy shines through in the book, which is one of the most touching coming out stories and one of the loveliest romances I've ever read.
When the Moon Was Ours is a tale that will wrap you up and whisper to you, promising heartache and pain but assuring you that it will all be worth it in the end. It will tell you that who you are inside is who you really are; it will tell you that no one else has the right to decide what to do with your name or your body or your identity. It will tell you that magic exists, that hope exists, that possibility exists. And — especially for the brilliant, shining time that you spend lost in its pages — it will be right.
I've heard nothing but good things about this book, literally not a single negative review from anyone I know (as opposed to people down in the reviews below, I mean). Add in the fact that just the dedication alone had me tearing up, and I got almost terrified of reading this book and discovering I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.
But y'all. This book. THIS FREAKING BOOK. I legitimately cried from about halfway through until the end of the book. I went through half a box of tissues in sheer 'oh my HEART' tears, and once I was finished with it, I sat on my bed just holding it closed to my chest for a good ten minutes in that book hangover paralysis.
It was just stunning. I don't know what else to say besides that.
Top reviews from other countries
This was such wonderfully heartwarming read. I finished it about two weeks ago and I still get that warm fuzzy feeling inside thinking about Sam and Miel. The journey they go on is one of love and loss, of coming of age and self discovery. The writing was so beautiful and dreamlike, it reminded me of Erin Morgenstern and Akwaeke Emezi.
This is in my eyes, the perfect Autumn read, there are four sisters with bright orange hair that own a pumpkin farm. I am not joking when I say that this book is literally drowning in pumpkins and all of the fall vibes that come with.
McLemore’s husband is trans, and that personal experience really shines through in the writing. A review described it as ‘a love letter to her husband’, and that definitely feels accurate. It’s loving and tenderly written, without shying away from important parts of the trans experience like sex and coming out.
Miel is latina and Sam is Pakistani, and the cultures are a solid foundation of the plot in multiple ways. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation, but McLemore is latina, so this is #ownvoices.
I really enjoyed this book - at first I tried to work out the metaphors behind certain magical realism choices, but eventually I just settled into enjoying the story for it’s own sake, and really loved it. I think this a story that will reward rereading.
I'm extremely happy that this book exists. I especially liked how the trans boy is written, and the general diversity in a fantastical non-speculative fiction book is very refreshing. I also read the author's note and it's really sweet. I'm not crying, there's just sand in my eye.
Thank you author.