Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Published by Lion Forge on October 5th, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA
“The next full moon snuck up on me…”
*ARC received by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
After reading The Prince and the Dressmaker, I took some time to look up graphic novels that were written and illustrated by POC, and featured diverse characters. Mooncakes popped up in my search and I happened to get approved for an ARC!
Nova Huang is a teen witch who works at her grandmothers’ bookshop. She helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their town. One night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes discovers the unxpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a hose demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been transient, unable to call any town home.
Tam turns to Nova for help as she’s being pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves. Their feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, occult rituals, and family ties.
Nova and Tam, the two main characters, are everything! Without them, this graphic novel wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. Nova is Chinese-American, hard of hearing, and she’s still reeling from the loss of her parents, while living with her two grandmothers. These women are all witches who are loving, caring, and independent. Tam, who is also Chinese-American, is a non-binary werewolf who grew up in an abusive home.
Beyond the witchy magic, this story is about two young adults learning who they want to be, both separately and together. Nova and Tam are dealing with different family issues, but they come together to be unconditional support for one another. It’s a beautiful story. I had the biggest smile on the face from the very first page until the last!
Even though these characters are diverse, it was never emphasized as part of their personality. Nobody questioned Nova or Tam’s sexuality, nobody used Nova’s use of hearing aids against her, and everybody respectfully used Tam’s preferred pronouns. Even the villain who was trying to ruin Tam’s life continued to call them “they” and “them.”
The illustrations are also stunning. I loved the artwork and I am now a huge fan of Xu’s work. I’m very excited for her three upcoming graphic novels! Even though the ARC I read had unfinished drawings, I can tell that the final product is going to be spectacular.
From witchy magic to family love, to discovering who you want to be, to an adorable relationship ever, I highly recommend this graphic novel.
If you can’t wait until October to read it, check out the Mooncakes tumblr to read some of the graphic novel!