Tuesday 1 November 2022

CBR14 Book 34: "Mooncakes" by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Page count: 256 pages
Rating: 4 stars

CBR14 Bingo: Cozy (this is a super-sweet YA comic. While there are some dark themes, the main vibe here is absolutely cozy.) 

Nova Huang (she/her) is an orphaned young witch, although she sees the ghosts of her parents during each major holiday, and sometimes just when they feel she might need advice or a good talking to. She lives with her two grandmothers, who sell books of both the mundane and magical varieties. 

Tam (they/them)  on the other hand, seems to have been on their own for a long time. They had to run away from home once things got too bad there, and now they're back in the town they were happy as a child, but there is sinister magic threatening the place, and Tam knows they need to use their werewolf magic somehow in order to banish it. 

Nova's grandmothers are very powerful witches and used to dealing with supernatural threats, but even they find the demon presence in the woods impossible to vanquish. The best they can do is try to empower Nova and Tam to manage the task instead. 

This book has been on my shelf for far too long (at some point, it also appears to have sustained some pretty bad water damage to the latter half of the book. Neither my husband nor I can remember it happening, and it kind of sucks, because it meant the last few pages were stuck together and difficult to separate). It's a super sweet book aimed at young adults, which possibly hits every square on the diversity bingo card. Nova is a person of colour, cis-gendered, bisexual, and uses hearing aids in both of her ears to hear properly (her grandmothers have had to adapt her magic so that the technology and magic don't interfere with each other). Nova is raised by a lesbian couple, who seem perfectly accepted and loved in their little society. Tam is a non-binary lesbian werewolf. Both of the young protagonists have coming-of-age challenges to deal with on top of their growing feelings for one another. 

The story is relatively fast-paced and while there is danger lurking, it never feels too perilous. The art is gorgeous and the romance between the main characters is very sweet. Nova has a large, diverse and very supportive family (several members are of the supernatural persuasion). I loved that although her parents are dead, they are still an active part of her life as ghosts, she just doesn't see them all the time. 

My original intention was to use this for the "dough" square of the bingo card, because of the title. Sadly baking and baked goods play such a small part in the story that I decided it probably fit better for "cozy". I don't think I've ever spent as much time changing and rearranging my original plan for the book bingo as I have this year. It's a good thing I have such a big book collection, usually, there is more than one book that works for each of the squares.

Judging a book by its cover: Look at the cuteness of this cover! You can see why I thought baking was going to play a bigger part in the story. The cover gives you an idea of Wendy Xu's art style, which really enhanced the story for me. 
Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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