Mooncakes: Delightful and suspenseful

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy XuMooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy XuMooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

Mooncakes (2019) is the story of Nova and Tam, two young people who are exploring their connections to magic. They are both, in their own way, deeply connected to the magical world and must decide what that means to them. Their relationships — with the people around them and each other — fuel the emotional core of this whimsical, down-to-earth, LGBTQ+ narrative.

I was delighted by Mooncakes. First, Wendy Xu’s art is spot-on for the tone of the story — in some ways it is cute and colourful, but there are some hard, emotional moments and magic-fueled fights that don’t feel out of place in the chosen style. The characters are designed uniquely, and the strength of those designs support their distinct personalities. Mooncakes has a wonderful cast of characters, in the most literal sense: full of wonder. Even characters who only appear for a few pages leave a meaningful impression on the story.

The core strength of the story is in the inter-personal relationships of the characters. In a lot of ways, Mooncakes is a quiet narrative — Suzanne Walker talks about and explores family, childhood crushes, small-town living, and more internal struggles like anxiety (both in the worrying sense and in the mental health sense). All these aspects are informed by and directly related to LGBTQ+ people. One of the two main characters is being raised by her two married grandmothers and the other main character is non-binary. To its foundation, this is an LGBTQ+ story.

Mooncakes is the kind of story I wish I had when I was fifteen, but I’m still happy to have it now. It’s the kind of beautiful, normalizing story the LGBTQ+ community deserves — and it’s fun, adventurous, and engaging as well. It takes teen witches and werewolves to new places in fresh ways, while balancing those magical aspects against heart-felt themes.

If you’re looking for something with a whole lot of heart, great characters, and an interesting small-town magical adventure plot, then you need to pick up Mooncakes.

Published in 2019. 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 townhome. 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.

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SKYE WALKER, who has been on FanLit’s staff since September 2014 (after a brief time on staff as a YA reviewer in 2007-2008), is from Canada. Their HBA in Anthropology and Communications allowed them to write an Honours paper on podcasting as the modern oral tradition of storytelling: something they will talk about at any and all opportunities. Skye is a communications professional in the non-profit sector. These days their favourite authors include Ursula K Le Guin, Bo Bolander, and Chris Wooding. They can be found on social media @cskyewalker.

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2 comments

  1. Jana Nyman /

    This looks fun! I’ll have to add it to my library wish list. :)

  2. And I love that cover!

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