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

Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Pages: 288
Genre: YA, Magical Realism
Source: Free ARC from St. Martin’s Press

Rating: A-

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Review: Over and over I’ve attempted to summarize this book, but words fail me. Truthfully, some of it I simply didn’t get. What are the flowers growing out of Miel’s wrists all about? Is this based on some existing myth or superstition that I’m not familiar with? Was it simply an unconventional means of making her “other” in the story so that she and Sam could be outcasts together?And those Bonner girls? It felt a bit like a fairytale whose moral I didn’t really grasp. Don’t get me wrong. It was interesting, and in no way detracted from the story, it just made me feel like I was missing something.


Miel and Sam were amazing. The best part of the book for me was Sam wrestling with who he was now vs. who he saw himself being long-term and coming to terms with that. And Miel loving him no matter what form he felt most comfortable with. It is a rare thing, transgender or not, to find someone who loves you unconditionally, who takes you as you are, and loves and supports you without question.

At the risk of repeating myself, I’m really drawn to stories with LGBTQA themes right now because I simply haven’t had a lot of exposure to those stories, and I want to walk awhile in their shoes, to maybe gain a little more insight into what it’s really like living their lives. The fact that the author’s husband is a transgender man lends more authenticity to that part of the story, and I really appreciate that.

Perhaps the magical realism isn’t quite for me or maybe I really did just miss something. Regardless, it’s a beautifully written story of love, acceptance, and transformation, and I’d definitely recommend it. If, like me, the magical realism isn’t for you, I urge you to power through. There is so much more to be gained from this story, it will be worth it.

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