Winner of the 2016 Tiptree Award!
Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
Stonewall Book Award Honor
“McLemore’s second novel is such a lush surprising fable, you half expect birds to fly out of the pages… McLemore uses the supernatural to remind us that the body’s need to speak its truth is primal and profound, and that the connection between two people is no more anyone’s business than why the dish ran away with the spoon.”
--Jeff Giles, New York Times Book Review
Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple “Best YA Novels” lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.
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.
Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.
As she did in The Weight of Feathers, McElmore blends magical elements with a culturally vibrant cast to create a haunting modern fairy tale. At its heart are two best friends turned lovers: Miel, a girl rumored to be born of a water tower who grows roses from her forearms, and Sam who, in keeping with the Pakistani tradition of bacha posh, has been raised as a boy, and now has no interest in living as anything but. Magic, myth, and legend are woven into the fabric of their town, and Miel and Sam's relationship is complicated when the four Bonner sisters, who are rumored to be witches, come to believe that Miel's roses will help restore their influence over the town's boys. Lush, reverential language remains a hallmark of McElmore's work, and while the story's momentum can suffer as a result, readers interested in gender identity and the pull of family and history will find this to be an engrossing exploration of these and other powerful themes. Ages 12 up.