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When the Moon Was Ours

By: Anna-Marie McLemore

2017 Stonewall Book Award, Honor
Best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel's wrist. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in trees.

ISBN: 9781250058669

JLG Release: Feb 2017


Sensitive Areas: Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
Topics: Transgender people , Mythology , Dating , Family , Secrets , Magic , Small towns , Magical realism

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Awards & Honors

National Book Awards: Young People’s Literature, 2016 Longlist
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2016, Teen
Booklist 2016 Editors’ Choice, Books for Youth, Older Readers, Fiction
2017 Rainbow Book List, Young Adult Fiction
YALSA 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults
2016 Cybils Finalist, Young Adult Speculative Fiction

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Love bests every opponent in this surreal exploration of familial bonds and sexual identity. Teens Sam and Miel have been best friends for years, ever since Miel appeared, sodden and terrified, amid the flooded ground around an overturned water tower. As their friendship unfolds into romance, long-repressed secrets and r
[STARRED REVIEW]
Love bests every opponent in this surreal exploration of familial bonds and sexual identity. Teens Sam and Miel have been best friends for years, ever since Miel appeared, sodden and terrified, amid the flooded ground around an overturned water tower. As their friendship unfolds into romance, long-repressed secrets and rumors clamor for air. Sam is reticent and obsessed with painting moons on paper and metal. Miel and her guardian, Aracely, are thought to be witches—Miel because roses grow beautifully and painfully out of her wrist one at a time, and Aracely because she cures lovelorn townspeople with potions she creates. Until recently, the four haughty, gorgeous Bonner sisters held mysterious sway over the hearts of the town’s young men. Now that their power has gone, they believe Miel’s roses are the fix they need, and they have no scruples about using physical cruelty or blackmail to get what they want. Amid the ordinariness of the small-town setting, McLemore winds arabesques of magical realism. This imbues the narrative with the feel of a centuries-old fairy tale, while the theme of sexual identity gives it the utmost relevance. Some teens might be put off by the frequent descriptions of egg and pumpkin varieties and their associated shapes, colors, and uses. VERDICT Readers who stick with this novel will be rewarded with a love story that is as endearingly old-fashioned as it is modern and as fantastical as it is real.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

Horn Book

If Jeffrey Eugenides’s characters were to walk out of his books and into Laura Esquivel’s, you might get When the Moon Was Ours, the trappings of which add more verisimilitude than does your average work of magical realism. In an unnamed town that could be in the American Southwest or somewhere in Latin America, seven young adult If Jeffrey Eugenides’s characters were to walk out of his books and into Laura Esquivel’s, you might get When the Moon Was Ours, the trappings of which add more verisimilitude than does your average work of magical realism. In an unnamed town that could be in the American Southwest or somewhere in Latin America, seven young adults stand out from the otherwise vanilla, ordinary-seeming residents: Sam (short for Samir), a boy who is different because he is Pakistani; Miel, who scares people because roses grow out of her wrist; Aracely, a curandera who is loved when she helps townspeople get over heartbreak but reviled as a witch when they don’t need her; and the four Bonner sisters, or “las gringas bonitas,” who have a strange hold over any boy in town they wish to possess—except Sam. Everyone has a secret, but each also has knowledge about someone else’s. For example, Miel keeps Sam’s secret: that Sam is in fact female and lives as a boy because of bacha posh, in which families without sons choose one daughter to present as a boy until adulthood in order to ensure social advantages and safety of the rest of the family. Not a casual, quick read (and more dense and convoluted in places than readers may have patience for), the book nevertheless provides a careful, thoughtful examination of gender, guilt, fear, and forgiveness, weaving together cultural traditions from Pakistan, Latin America, and the United States in unexpected ways. sarah hannah gómez

Book Details

ISBN

9781250058669

First Release

February 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

288

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.9; Points: 12;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 920L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Thomas Dunne

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Topics

Transgender people, Mythology, Dating, Family, Secrets, Magic, Small towns, Magical realism,

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