If you love Hayao Miyazaki’s style, but with more magic, more autumn vibes, and a little sweet romance, then this is the graphic novel for you. I’m excited to share with you Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu.
For the most part, this was a sweet and very low stakes graphic novel. There’s some witchy things taking place, but also a lovely story about two young people who knew each other when they were kids and find themselves not only re-strengthing their friendship, but finding that they love each other too. SQUEE!!
The artistry in the graphic novel made me so happy. I loved seeing all the little forest creatures, the yummy mooncakes, and even Nova’s outfits! I loved that both Nova and Tam were their own people with Tam having a non-binary pronoun (with a little example of how to react when someone corrects their pronouns with you) and Nova is hearing impaired and does some cool things with her hearing aids. Their relationship seemed so comfortable, mutual in their attraction, and so sweet. You’ll definitely be smiling for the two of them.
The illustrations really caught my eye especially since the entire book has an Autumnal vibe to it. I mean, there’s even a mid-Autumn festival that Nova’s family has including mooncakes! It just made me want to wear my heavy sweaters, drink some hot tea or apple cider, and watch the leaves fall off the trees. It’s definitely the most cozy feeling I’ve ever had!
I really loved the magical elements in this book as well. It combined many of the different witch elements out there including flying broomsticks, magic wands, potions, sealing magic, and even a moment where they use a tracking spell! It felt very well-rounded when it came to magical usage even with the dark side of the magic.
The only thing I had an issue with is the plot. The beginning was a little bit clunky without any explanation on Tam’s return, their relationship with Nova, and then the reasons behind the bigger conflicts they face at the end of the book. I think that if there was more time spent trying to flesh out the plot building and conflict, then this would be a total winner.