Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
I think this is my first graphic novel review! Mooncakes has been on my radar for awhile. I’d seen talk about it here and there and that talk was overwhelmingly positive. I was also pretty sure it was queer, so I knew I wanted to read it. I wasn’t quite sure what it was about, but it looked cute and I love graphic novels so that was enough for me!
I picked up Mooncakes because I thought it would be a fun read, something I’d read while I figured out the next book I wanted to try out. I wasn’t sure if I was going to review it, just because I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to talk about and I usually read graphic novels purely for enjoyment. BUT WOW I HAVE A LOT OF THINGS TO SAY AND THIS BOOK DESERVES TO BE SCREAMED ABOUT.
Wow, I kind of floored that I haven’t seen even more hype for this book than there already is. There’s witches? And a non-binary main character that uses they/them pronouns and the coolest haircut ever. A bookstore with YA book cover Easter eggs. A queer romance? Werewolves? Cute forest spirits that ride on broomsticks with Nova and throw up on the bad guys? Cats? A main character who wheres hearing aids? Like, my brain felt like it was going to explode with how many amazing things were packed into this book. A scream was ready to tear out of my throat the entirety of this book.
The art style was amazing. It was cutesy, but absolutely stunning. It worked so well for the book. I wanted to squeal from cuteness, though I was also couldn’t help but admire how beautiful things were.
This was a relatively short read, but so much was packed into it; characters, plot, and world. I loved the characters so much. Nova wears hearing aids and is a witch in training, she lives with her two Nanas and she calls them The Nanas. It’s just so adorable. Tam is a werewolf. Werewolves are hit or miss with me and this one was a complete hit. Tam uses they/them pronouns and it pretty much knocked me over when I found out. They have the coolest haircut too. There’s also Tatiana, Nova’s friend and I loved how supportive she was! There’s also a guy with a pigeon head.
I loved the casual magic. It’s just there. It’s woven throughout the entire story, books being levitated back into their proper spots, healing a bruise on a cheek, providing light. It is a big part of the story, but it’s also small in a way. There’s no firm explanation, it’s just there and that’s fine. It lets you figure things out with the characters and explore the world with them.
I feel like the emotional development could have been lengthen and deepened a bit more, but it’s a graphic novel and it’s shorter than a full length book. It managed to get emotional development in there, and I’m honestly just happy with that. It tackles fear, growth, figuring out where you belong, and figuring out where and who makes you the happiest.
There’s also a cat woven throughout the book and they help the characters too! They’re adorable and I love them.
I really can’t sing this book enough praises. It hits so many marks and there it had so many things that made my jaw drop with happiness. Please, please check it out! There’s magic and witches and cats and cute forest spirits and a nonbinary character and a character who wears hearing aids and werewolves and fantastic artwork. It’s so incredible.