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

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*ARC provided by St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review*
This was the first book I’ve ever read by Anna-Marie and I am sad to say that I don’t really know how to feel about it, for the most part. I spent most of the book being confused about what to interpret in the literal sense or figurative. It seemed repetitive at times which made me lose faith and interest in certain characters that had intrigued me. It just took me too long to get used to the world that it prevented me from enjoying it as much as I wish I had.
We have Miel (which means Honey in Spanish) who grows roses from her body and Sam, the boy in town who is known for making and stringing moons all over the town. The moons are his way of ‘speaking’ his feelings and it was a unique thing to witness. We follow them as they seek who they really are inside and would like to become. Their friendship felt solid and real, ever since they met as children, and I loved watching them interact. I was mostly sympathetic for the bad things that happened to them but I felt a wall between the characters and me that prevented me from getting too attached. Their character developments were so amazing that I tried not to focus so much on the negatives.
Now for the positives! I loved how diverse this story was. Most, if not all, of the stars go to our two main characters and their backstories. They were unique and unforgettable.
One of my absolute favorite things about this book were the Hispanic references that were thrown in. Being a Latina myself, I appreciated part of my culture scattered around this novel. Especially a certain Hispanic legend that I grew up hearing about and that’s been one of my favorites since I was a child. I deeply appreciated the nod of acknowledgement this book gave it and I can’t wait to read another book that does so as well. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a retelling of it, nothing says it is, but I like it nonetheless.
Another thing I really loved were the darker elements presented in this story. I didn’t think it would be so dark but I found myself enjoying it even more because of it. Even through the darkness, there’s still so much heart throughout it that they balanced each other out perfectly. Some things managed to make me tear up and riot against things that were happening so all in all, I would definitely give this author another chances.
3.5/5 stars.

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