I’ve finally started WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS and I’m seriously in love with the writing style. It’s so beautiful!! 😍💜 I find myself reading the same sentences again and again just to savour the magic of Anna-Marie McLemore’s words 💖✨
To the boys who get called girls, to the girls who get called boys, and those who live outside these words. To those called names, and those searching for names of their own. To those who live on the edges, and in the spaces in between. I wish you every light in the sky.
WHEN OUR ADORABLE LEADER KEEPS TALKING WHEN HE SHOULDN’T. I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS THE CUTEST SPECIALLY WHEN HE GOT FRUSTRATED BECAUSE THEY KEEP ON SAYING IT’S HARD AND YOUNGJAE KEEPS ON SAYING TIGGER. I LOVE THESE BOYS SO MUCH IT HURTS.
a tale about four boys who thought they had it all figured out, & the girl who deeply belonged to herself.
When Ollie met Liam, she thought he was staring at her breasts.
She was on a stage when he first saw her. He didn’t even know how he ended up at that crappy dive bar in the further side of LA. To this day he will suggest that perhaps it was fate that he found her there, as if she was meant to be in his life always.
The first thing that caught his attention were the five colors in her hair: purple, blue, pink, orange and green had all been colored into her locks, and he immediately knew she wasn’t afraid of attention.
When Liam saw Ollie, he knew that he had found the missing puzzle piece that he so desperately needed. He didn’t know how to describe it— the moment he stepped into that bar on the rainy evening, all he could watch was her.
She was sitting onstage, guitar in her hand as she plucked the melody. It was effortlessly simple and breathtakingly complex at the same time, and it made all of the tunes that had been running through his head that day seem absolutely amateurish.
And then she sang.
Her voice was different, unlike any of the other cookie cutter pop voices that were out there— there was a tone to it that reminded him of shooting stars and volcanoes, along with the crackling of a dying ember at the end of a blazing fire. It was quiet and loud, fierce and serendipitous, shy and unapologetic— it was every single melody that he’d ever heard wrapped into one single note that shook him to the core and made him remember why he fell in love with music in the first place.
And she was here, in a dive bar in LA, singing Bob Dylan as effortlessly as a breath of air.
Liam watched her as she performed the rest of her setlist— it was a collection of what he could only assume were her favorite songs as well as a few originals she threw in here and there, every song bringing something different to the table. He had completely forgotten that he was supposed to have texted the boys an hour ago, and that the entire reason he was out that late in the evening was because he was looking for food to bring back to the studio.
“Thank you,” her voice resonated through the half-hearted applause of the crowd. It seemed like Liam was the only one who saw the untameable stage presence that there was to this girl— everybody else was more than content to return to their dates (or their drinks) and live their lives.
“I never play the same place twice, so this is the first and last you’ll see of me. Peace and happiness, thank you very much, don’t forget to tell someone you love them,” she finished, flashing one last smile before standing up off of her stool, her guitar still slung across her neck. Liam watched as she knelt down to unhook her guitar from the speaker and walked offstage, straight in the direction of the bar.
He had to speak with her.
When he approached her he noticed a few things about her— she was drinking a glass of water, even though she could get free drinks for performing. She kept her guitar by her side at all times, as if it was a safety net. Her hair was a lot longer offstage than it seemed like when she was onstage, almost reaching her hips and curling at the bottom. It was a bit frizzy from the humidity, but if it bothered her she certainly didn’t show it. She was bent over a notepad, staring at the page and making occasional scribbles in the margins.
When he sat down beside her, she didn’t bother looking up at him at all. And Liam Payne wasn’t a narcissist by any means, but he wasn’t used to not being noticed when he wanted to be. He noticed that there was a necklace dangling from her neck with something that seemed to be engraved upon it, and he leaned forward slightly and squinted to get a closer look.
“You know, if you wanted to get a look at my tits you could at least offer to buy me a drink.”
Liam almost fell out of his chair.
“I, um— sorry, I— it’s not what it…I was trying to get a look at your necklace,” he explained, face bright red with embarrassment.
“I was joking,” she snickered, setting her purple pen down on the notebook and turning to look at him properly.
She looked different up close— her tan skin wasn’t reflected under the harsh stage lights anymore, and it was now a shade of brown, like the color of coffee after you’ve added three creams and one sugar. Her eyes were a dark brown as well, but moreso a shade of chocolate, and there was a light scar that sat on her top lip and went about three centimeters upwards.
“Hey, Romeo,” she interrupted his thoughts, waving a hand in his face. “Are you gonna introduce yourself, because you’re getting closer to a level ten stalker by the second.”
“I’m Liam,” he choked out, wondering if he should offer her his hand to shake. Before he could she took it, giving it a soft squeeze as they shook hands.
“I know who you are, I’m just messing with ya. Keeping you down to Earth and all,” she grinned, releasing his hand while simultaneously tucking her pen behind one of her earlobes. “I’m Ollie. Olivia. You wrote a song about me and all— although I think it was Harold who wrote that one, no? It’s a total bop though, I should thank you for that, there was a severe shortage of cool Olivia songs before you guys came along. Iloveyouiloveyouiloveiloveiloveolivia.”
“I’m glad you like it,” he laughed, relaxing a tad once he established that she didn’t think he was there to jump her.
“Love it,” she grinned, her fingers drumming against the countertop. “What brings you to this shithole, Liam?”
“Writer’s block,” he admitted, leaning back in his chair with a sigh. “Songwriter’s block, I guess. I’m stuck. You ever get that?”
“Honey, my entire life is one big shitstorm of a block. But can I tell you something?” Her eyes twinkled.
“Writer’s block is just the way that your brain tells you you’ve been doing the same damn thing for way too long,” she confesses, taking a sip of her water afterwards. Liam nodded his head in understanding— yeah, that makes sense he thought to himself, wondering how this woman he met on a whim somehow seemed like she knew the secrets to the universe.
“I like your guitar,” he said.
Ollie had saved up for exactly three years to buy her guitar.
Three years of waiting tables and babysitting up to five kids at a time, three years of tallying up her tips and obsessively checking her banking account to see if she had enough. It was the second guitar she’d ever owned, the first guitar she’d ever bought herself, and the absolute love of her life. It was bright yellow with a bright purple strap that matched the streaks in her hair, and there were stickers on the back of it that Liam couldn’t make out from where he was sitting.
“Thanks,” she grinned. “Her name’s Luna.”
“As in the moon?” He asked, smiling.
“Bingo! Look at you, all cultured with your knowledge of Spanish,” she nodded with approval, playing with the necklace that hung across her chest.
“I don’t know a lot, don’t expect too much of me,” he chuckled, and just like that, they were best friends.
They sat and talked for quite some time— mostly about music, and the performance that she had given that night. Liam praised her endlessly and she accepted gracefully, admitting that it wasn’t her first time on a stage, but he would soon find out all about that.
When last call at the bar rolled around Ollie decided to tap out for the night, and Liam offered to walk her out. She accepted, slinging her guitar in front of her and playing a simple riff as they walked out the front door.
She drove a big yellow punch buggy, one that matched the exact shade of her guitar. It had a few dents in it here and there and one of the handles only opened when you jiggled it first, but it was hers and otherwise in perfect condition.
“Thanks for the talk, and for not trying to get a sneak peek of my boobs again,” she teased, grinning as she opened the back door and slid her guitar inside. Liam caught sight of a few bags in the backseat and several pillows, although he didn’t think much of it at the time.
“Thanks for not pummelling me into the ground like I thought you were going to at first,” he admitted, grinning as he looked down at her. She was only about five foot three, about seven inches shorter than he was.
“Anytime, buggaboo,” she patted his arm, opening her driver door and shutting it behind her immediately. Liam walked up to the window and leaned in to talk to her again, smiling.
“You have any plans for tomorrow?” He asked, hope building up in his chest.
“I could make some time for you,” she grinned. She plucked her purple pen from behind her earlobe and handed it to him, reaching her arm out of the car and turning it upwards. “Gimme your number.”
He almost laughed at how middle school it all was, but he obliged and scribbled his cell number on her arm in her pen, checking it three times to make sure it was the right one before handing it back to her.
“There…talk to you soon, Ollie,” he said, taking a step away from the car.
“See you around, Payno,” she gave him a quick salute before shifting her car into drive, and before he knew it she was speeding off down the road, playing a particularly loud McFly sound at top volume.
She never would have guessed what would become of that night.
This is a story about heartache. A story about finding and losing oneself, a story about running through hotel hallways and smashing wine bottles against the walls. It’s a story about what happens when those you trusted most lie to you, a story about shooting stars and screaming off of rooftops and sitting in cold showers wondering why it all is the way it is.
It’s a story about writer’s block, about falling onstage and showing off your scars, it’s a story about facing your fears and driving down midnight roads blasting rock music at the loudest volume your ears can possibly manage.
This is a story about what matters.
No, this isn’t a story about Liam and Ollie falling in love.
This is the story of how Ollie joined one of the the biggest boy bands the world has ever known.
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.
I have no words to describe WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS. Seriously, what a beautiful book! I’ve read magical realism before, but nothing compares to this. The writing is birilliant and unique, the story is truly charming, and the Latinx and trans rep is superb.
There is also Pakistani and queer rep (and believe me, it’s amazing), but this book is all about figuring out your own identity, and being Latina and being trans is what Miel and Sam are mostly struggling with. And, in my opinion, the author did an amazing job writing about what it means living in that space between two worlds (because she knows what she’s talking about).
So, yeah, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS is a story about knowing yourself, about love, friendship, family, and forgiveness. Since it focuses mostly in character development, I’m not sure this book will appeal to those who only enjoy stories with a lot of action, but it’s really worth a try.
I wouldn’t recommend it either if you’re not into figurative language. However, if you like metaphors and symbolism, you should definitely give it a chance, because you’ll find yourself reading the same sentences again and again just to savour the magic of Anna-Marie McLemore’s words (at least, that’s what I did).
I’m in love with this book and I need to read everything the author writes.