If you're a fan of Magical Realism (and I am quickly coming to realize this is my favorite genre), you simply MUST rush to the shelves and check out When The Moon Was Ours, the second novel by Anna-Marie McLemore. The writing and world building are simply gorgeous, and you will fall in love with the quirky cast of characters...none of whom are who they first appear to be:
Meil first appeared in town when she was five, hatched from the downed water-tower, and adopted by a mysterious woman who is said to have the power to cure even the most painful heartbreak. She recalls none of her life before this moment, although she has an irrational fear of pumpkins, can sprout roses from her wrist, and knows from day one that the beautiful Bonner sisters have it in for her.
Sam, the boy next door, is Meil's first, best, and only friend. He paints moons that are just as magical as Meil's roses and hangs them in the trees around town. He guards a secret from the rest of the world, a secret that, if exposed, could mean ruin for himself and the lives he and his single mother have built. A secret that becomes harder to protect as his and Meil's friendship deepens into romance.
But Sam and Meil aren't the only ones with secrets and agendas. Ivy Bonner believes that Meil's roses, if used correctly, can be used to control anyone. She has her reasons for wanting this power. So Ivy decides she will have these roses--no matter what. She threatens Meil, kidnaps her, and, when Meil still tries to resist, she threatens to expose Sam's secret to the world.
What's a girl to do when her nemesis knows the one thing that could get the person she loves best run out of town? Or so her nemesis says. Give in, of course. At least for a while. But something has to give, eventually. And when things finally come to a head... Well, you'll see.
It's difficult to describe the plot of When The Moon Was Ours without giving too much away. This is a story of friendship, of acceptance, of learning to be yourself rather than conform to what the world thinks you should be. Yes, it DID have romantic elements, but wasn't a straight-up "kissing book."
All around: A gorgeous story. I highly recommend it! --AJB