When The Moon Was Ours
By Anna-Marie McLemore
Rose Rating – 3
Maturity Level – 16+
Genre – Young Adult LGBT General Fiction
Miel is a strange girl who has roses that grow out of her wrists. Sam is an odd boy who paints paper moons and hangs them from the branches of trees all over town. When the two meet in an odd occurrence, they seem fated to be together as both of them quickly learn they have secrets worth keeping. Secrets they keep for each other. Secrets that could destroy the very existence of their lives and the lives of others if these secrets are revealed in the small provincial farming town they live in.
The Bonner sisters are also residence in the town and a force not to be reckoned with. They always get what they want and they are so powerful that it’s even rumored they are witches.
When they start to lose their powers they believe Miel’s roses will help them regain their powers. They will stop at nothing to claim her roses or unveil all of her and Sam’s secrets.
This book was good at times and then again there were times I wanted to chuck it across the room. I was on the fence about wanting to give this book a 2 or a 3 rose rating.
My two biggest complaints I had about this book; disorganized thoughts and way too much attempt at poetic prose. I will say however, that upon finishing the book, I did bump this up one more rose for two other reasons. One, when I read the authors motivation behind why she wrote the book it did bring tears to my eyes.
This was basically her way of paying tribute to the hardships her own partner. What her partner realized they were transgender and how difficult it was for them.
Kalvin finished reading this book first and informed me he did NOT like the ending at all. Since him and I have similar tastes in books I was fully bracing for an ending that I would find unsavory but this was not the case!
I felt completely satisfied with the ending of the book and loved it. (If you want to hear about why Kalvin did not like the ending click here for the YouTube review where Kalvin and I do a vlog review on our show Fabulous Fiction Reviews.)
There was a general sense of disorganization with the author, Ms. McLemore’s thoughts. I felt she was trying to give the reader a sense of ‘mystery’ so they would be compelled to keep reading. This was not the case. Instead I just felt confused and annoyed until about half way in when all these random occurrences or details were finally explained. By that point I had to force myself to read on, which is something no one should ever have to do when reading a book
My second complaint about this book was the constant poetic prose. I don’t mind literary prose injected through out a book. This is one of those elements to a book that a certain reader might adore. I am not such a reader. I like a good mix of ‘give it to me straight’ at times, while at other times ‘a sweet poetic metaphor’ is just right. There isn’t a lot of dialog and it truly felt as though every single sentence was literary prose.
The lies of the Bonner girls’ hands were a thousand pairs of scissors, brass and tarnished. If they spread the story, her mother’s soul would never be free of it. It would follow her, pin its weight to her and drag her down. Her mother already stayed too close, watching Miel and looking for the brother Miel would never see again.
This a a perfect example how being straight forward would have been much better. This paragraph is written on page 23. It’s fairly early on, but still 20 odd pages in and suddenly we hear about this brother she’s never seen? This detail comes out of nowhere.
We aren’t sure what’s going on with her mother either. Is her mother dead or alive and missing. Why would this story drag her down? It’s very unclear. Both Kalvin and I felt that being straight forward with details would have been much better in instances such as this.
Nearly every paragraph is written with this hinting mysterious edge. I personally do not like this because I feel I have to start to file away way too many details for that will ‘hopefully be explained later on’. I don’t want to have to think that hard when I’m reading fiction. Other readers might find this really compelling.
This book was a gift given to Kalvin and so he picked this book for us. Both of us were actually unaware that this book even had LGBT themes until the 1/3 of the way in. There were many plot points laid out in awkward ways where both of us felt it could have been organized better.
On a plus note, one of the things I did enjoy about this book as stated above was the ending. I was not sure at all how this book would end. I felt I was rooting for a particular ending, and I felt I got that ending.
Also I did feel that at times the very thing I hated about this book was also extraordinarily beautiful at times. The constant metaphorical poetic prose at times was so beautiful it took my breath away.
Finally about 2/3 of the way in, all those pesky filed away details, that were ‘oh so confusing’ did start to become more clear.
Readers who enjoy Gabriel Garcia Marquez would also enjoy this book.
Would I Read Other Work By This Author?
I have to say that maybe with a little bit of a break from the author, I might give this author another try. However, I would likely download the sample first and if the writing became just as cumbersome in the sample I would not proceed to buy the book.