Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (256 pages)
“Mooncakes” Is A Graphic Novel With Supernatural Occurrences
Nova’s New England town isn’t like other small towns—there’s an enchanted forest and a bookshop run by witches. As the granddaughter of those witches, Nova spends her nights investigating supernatural occurrences. So when there are reports of weird lights in the forest, Nova heads in, and finds not only a vicious horse demon, but her childhood crush, Tam, who left town years before.
A Contemporary Fantasy Reminding Us Magic Exists
The characters pop off the page in this YA graphic novel—Nova’s eagerness and Tam’s determination made me love them from the moment they were introduced. I loved that they both discovered more about themselves throughout the story, and through each other, as their relationship rekindled. Thanks to a Game of Thrones reference, I knew early on that Mooncakes takes place in our world. It’s a contemporary fantasy, wherein witches live among us, brewing potions and protecting the world from demons and other dark forces. So the story felt like it could really happen, yet somehow it felt like an idyllic fantasy at the same time. Most of all, I loved that it reminded me that magic exists in our sometimes less-than-ideal real world.
This fresh tale didn’t shy away from incorporating modern details into its contemporary story. Nova wears hearing aids but has long since found a way to make technology and magic co-exist. Tam prefers “they/them” pronouns and after mentioning it once to Nova’s grandma, it’s a non-issue for the rest of the story. With a strong foundation of friendship and family, this story is one of self-discovery and the power of love. It’s a refreshing fantasy that I read in one sitting, devouring not just the words but the art as well.
The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
Mooncakes is like honeyed tea on a brisk autumn day, and is a perfect read if you have an hour to curl up under a cozy blanket, ideally next to a window where the occasional breeze sends a spray of colourful leaves cascading to the ground.
If you’d like to share a review of a book you’ve read, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know by emailing us here!
Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse