October 04, 2016
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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.
As in The Weight of Feathers, Anna-Marie McLemore has created a tale of magical realism with two teenagers at the center. In The Weight of Feathers the issues facing the characters had more to do with their families whereas here it is the small town they both live in, their past and their own secrets. Some they seem to be keeping even from themselves.
I really loved the relationships displayed between Miel and Aracely, between Sam and his mother, between the four of them, and, of course, between Sam and Meil. They're friends, they're family, and some of them, we discover, know more about some of the others than is, at first, apparent.
There was something that kept me from really connecting and engaging with the story, with Miel and with Sam. I think it was not being sure how much of their stories and their characters were supposed to be 'different' in this world (what was magical and what was realism, maybe). I still really loved them, the complexities created within and around them by the author while they were still so identifiable. They had stories you could relate to, even if you're never going to grow a rose out of your wrist.
There was still just something that kept me from being completely, one hundred percent in the story.
Until the ending.
Everything really came together, for me, with the ending. It answered questions I knew I had and ones I didn't know I had. We learned things about the characters that had been hiding just under the surface the entire story (and before) - and in a few cases, they learned those things, too. How everything was phrased, each realization and how they all intersected - or didn't - made the ending my absolute favorite.
When the Moon Was Ours uses magical realism and McLemore's superb writing to give us a story about identity (be it racial, sexual, gender, personal, etc). The characters are 'different' from others you're going to read but so well written that you can identify with them - and you won't forget tehir story.
digital review copy recieved from from publisher, via NetGalley