Mooncakes was one of my most anticipated releases for the rest of the year, so when my friends let me know it was on Netgalley (thanks Michelle & Amy!), I downloaded it as fast as I could. And I had so much fun reading this! It’s a really wholesome graphic novel.
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
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.
Rep: Chinese-American, Deaf, queer MC, Chinese-American non-binary MC who uses they/them pronouns, fat side character, f/f side couple
CWs: depictions of blood and wounds, misgendering (challenged), grief/past death of parents
A queer witch and a non-binary werewolf? Yes please!
Nova and Tam were childhood friends, until Tam moved away. But when a large white wolf is seated close to town, Nova knows Tam is back. It turns out Tam is trying to defeat a demon, and Nova decides to help them. She lives with her grandmothers (who she calls “the Nanas”), and Tam stays with them. They have an antique bookstore where they sell books on witchcraft in the back of the store, so they also try to help with defeating the demon. They’re also joined by one of Nova’s friends, a fat girl who lowkey hates magic because she’s a massive science nerd.
Overall, the relationships in this novel are all so great, especially because they’re very accepting and there’s not a lot of conflict. And did I mention one of them is a werewolf?! There are even werewolf puns! And just… so many puns in general. The characters are just very amazing, and this was made even better because this novel has one of my favourite tropes: childhood friends who lose touch and are reunited when they’re older, only to fall in love. I thought this was really well done here.
I also loved the art in this book, which is really atmospheric and done in soft, muted colours. I always feel like art is essential to a graphic novel, not just to depict the story, but to enhance it. And that’s definitely the case here. The coloring was not entirely done yet, so the last part of the novel is still more of a draft. So I’ll definitely be picking up a finished copy once the book is released in October!
Needless to say, I loved this a whole lot. It’s just such a lovely story to disappear in for a little while.