Parents' Guide to

When the Moon Was Ours

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Lush and lyrical story explores identity, love, and magic.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

This beautifully written romance is a magical fairy tale about best friends who fall in love in a poignant, honest, and life-altering way. Author Anna-Marie McLemore, a finalist for the American Library Association's William C. Morris YA Debut Award for her first novel, Weight of Feathers, outdoes herself with her second book. The novel features an atypical couple with an authenticity that stems from the author's own first-love-turned-marriage with a trans man. But even before you get to the author's note, where she lovingly explains all of that, readers will be swept up by the story and captivated by how McLemore weaves the ordinary in with the extraordinary. The entitled, clannish, and self-destructive Bonner sisters who truly believe everyone should either fall in love with them or at the very least do as they say are like The Virgin Suicides' Lisbon sisters meets the Mean Girls Plastics' clique.

Despite their years of friendship and love, Miel and Sam's evolving relationship doesn't always come up roses. They both have major identity issues to deal with, and they don't necessarily know what to say or how to say it. McLemore includes nuanced supporting characters for both Miel (Aracely, her big-sister-like guardian, a curandera -- healer -- who cures lovesickness) and Sam (his mom, who moved to their small town years earlier so a young Sam could live as a boy). Sam's gender identity is inspired by the Afghani tradition of bacha posh -- a fascinating practice in which parents with only daughters would raise one as a son until the child was past adolescence and ready for marriage. Regardless of what Sam keeps hidden, he undeniably loves Miel so much he hangs moons for her. She, in turn, would do anything to keep him safe. Richly told and unique, When the Moon Was Ours is an enchanting and unforgettable read.

Book Details

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