Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu is one of the best graphic novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, living up to all my expectations as of the most anticipated reads of 2019.
Gorgeously illustrated and written, Mooncakes is a story of rekindled first love, found family and magic. If you gravitate towards small town witchy stories complete with long lines of witch families, you’ll love MOONCAKES. Nova Huang’s life seems comfortable and warm, the type that I want to read about for panels and panels. I loved the acceptance that flows throughout the narrative, the easy way Nova’s Nanas (who I love and want to meet in real life because they seem delightful) take Nova’s werewolf best friend, Tam, under their wing. The plot, though fabulous, almost didn’t matter to me as I was content to read the slice of life moments as the family prepares for the Fall Festival. I loved the idea of the werewolf power that comes from changing forms can bring about its own kind of magic and is capable of helping not only defeat a cult but free a tortured spirit.
The representation felt seamless. Nova is Chinese American and Queer and her grandmothers are in a loving relationship. Tam is nonbinary (and a werewolf!). When one character misgenders another, they simply correct the character and love on. Nova is also hearing impaired. I hope that this book gets into the hand of readers who can see that representation matters and that this book is an example of it done well.
I loved how warm and comfy this book felt. Despite the demonic horse out for Tam, the artwork and characters made me truly happy. Maybe it’s a Fall thing, when every witchy book or movie makes you want to curl up with a few blankets and warm beverage. But I felt at home with Nova and her family and loved how they took Tam in, as well. I wish I could have had panels more of them in the kitchen or the bookstore–a testament to Wendy Xu’s excellent art.
I also would have been happy with more flashbacks, as Nova and Tam’s relationship was so lovely. I would have loved to spend more time with them as they realized their feelings for one another and also as their relationship grew. I could tell that a lot of love and thought was put into this volume and hope that we can expect to read more of Nova and Tam in the future.