YA Spotlight: When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

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WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS (Thomas Dunne Books; October 4, 2016) is a love story tinged with magical realism and filled with gorgeous prose by Anna-Marie McLemore — chosen for the 2016 National Book Award Longlist for Young People’s Literature. McLemore’s newest novel grapples with tough questions of identity and cultural differences in a small town. McLemore recently told Publisher’s Weekly, “at the heart of this book is my belief that transgender characters, queer characters, characters of color, deserve fairy tales,” and she creates a story that carves a space for all readers.

About the book:

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.

Embedded in the love story, the main character Sam faces how to claim his identity as a transgender boy, and Miel and Sam struggle with how to define their love, both to themselves and their community. McLemore tackles this relevant issue thoughtfully, coming from her own experience in her relationship with her husband, who is transgender. WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS conquers timely topics like race and gender while delivering an unforgettable, timeless love story.

Filled with roses, glass pumpkins, and magical moons, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS will sweep you away with its fairy tale feel. Following her fantastic debut novel, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS will thrill readers of McLemore’s debut novel and establish a whole new group of admirers for this immensely talented young writer.

blog_whenmoonwasours_authorpicAbout the author:
ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review.

Praise for WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS:

“With luminous prose infused with Latino folklore and magical realism, this mixes fairytale ingredients with the elegance of a love story, with all of it rooted in a deeply real sense of humanity. Lovely, necessary, and true.”
Booklist, STARRED Review

“Luxurious language infused with Spanish phrases, Latin lunar geography, and Pakistani traditions is so rich it lingers on the tongue, and the presence of magic is effortlessly woven into a web of prose that languidly unfolds to reveal the complexities of gender, culture, family, and self. Readers will be ensnared in this ethereal narrative long before they even realize the net has been cast.”
Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

“A love story that is as endearingly old-fashioned as it is modern and as fantastical as it is real.”
School Library Journal, STARRED Review


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