Review: “When the Moon was ours” by Anna-Marie McLemore

when-the-moon-was-ours-new-1Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Magical Realism
Publication: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: October 4th 2016
Pages: 288
Spoilers: NO SPOILERS!
Rating4 Stars (4 / 5)

Last October I bought the November Bookly Bird Box called Magical Realism, because I really love the genre of magical realism and because I wanted to try a Bookly Bird Box. In case you’re not familiar with the Bookly Bird Box; it is a box you buy without knowing exactly what is in it. You get a signed (!) hardcover book that fits with the theme of the box, so in my case that was When the Moon was ours and all kinds of different goodies. Besides the book I got a necklace from The Mortal Instruments, a bracelet with a Deathly Hallows symbol and a few other awesome things, so I do not regret buying this surprise box! I also definitely do not regret reading this book, because it was absolutely beautiful and I haven’t had a book hangover in a while, but I’m suffering from one right now.


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.” [Goodreads]

So the novel is about Miel and Sam who are extremely close and are both outsiders in the town they live in. Miel grows roses out of her wrist and she always cuts them away and leaves them in the river as a kind of sacrifice, but now the Bonner sisters want to have and use them for themselves. In order to get the roses the Bonner sisters threaten to tell the whole town about Sam and Miel’s secrets if Miel doesn’t give them her roses and Miel does everything she can to prevent that from happening.

My first impression of this novel was really, really good. Not only do I love the cover, but when I started reading the novel I immediately fell in love with the language. It is so beautifully written that I was swept away in the story and it did not let me go until I finished it.


I also really liked the characters! Both Miel and Sam were intriguing characters with different sides to them and they both had very different voices which I always like in novels. What I also liked is that not only the main characters were layered and interesting, but every character in the novel had different sides to them and had background stories that made them real and recognizable, which is something that doesn’t always happen and I’m always so happy when it does, because I believe side characters are just as important as main characters in a good story.

The plotline is pretty complicated, because there is one main story, but there are also many background stories and side stories that deserve praise as well. Not only the main story is magical and interesting, but all the stories of all the characters have importance and I never felt like I was drifting away from the main story line, because in the end everything was connected and explained.

I’ve already mentioned how beautiful it is written and I really cannot stress this enough. I think the writing style in this novel is very poetic and very original and that makes this novel so great. Every sentence fits with this magical story and is like a line of beautiful poetry!


There is also very little dialogue. In fact I think that if you would put all the dialogue of the novel together it would fit on one page, but this is surprisingly not a bad thing. Normally I would be bothered by it, because I think conversations are very important in a good book, but When the Moon was ours is an exception. It didn’t bother me at all and I think it really fit with the story to have so little dialogue in the novel.

Normally I don’t really like romantic stories, because I always finds them a bit sappy, but I really liked this one and I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who likes beautifully written novels with a magical and romantic story which really takes you to another world and which you just cannot let go of! Anna-Marie also wrote another book called The Weight of Feathers and I will definitely try to get my hands on that one and read it, because When the Moon was ours was just so beautiful and I need more of this beautiful writing in my life!

What do you think about this beautiful book or would you like to read it too?

Ellen Jansen

Ellen is our newest blogger, writing book reviews and occasionally other stuff. She finished her bachelor of Literary Studies in Utrecht and in september she is going to do a masters in Amsterdam. Ellen is also a compulsive book buyer and buys far more books than she can read.

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