I’m pretty new to graphic novels but I read 2 last month so I thought I’d so a mini review for both!
1. Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Zu ⭐⭐⭐.5
Nova, a witch, hears reports of a white wolf wandering the town’s woods. When she goes to investigate, she discovers that the wolf is actually her shapeshifting childhood friend, and crush, Tam Lang.
Tam has been wandering, haunted an unknown evil. Now, back in the one place they consider home, Tam turns to Nova and her two grandmothers for help. And old feelings between them quickly rekindle.
➸ Nova Huang – Queer, Chinese-American, Witch, Hard of hearing
➸ Tam Lang – Nonbinary, Chinese-American, Shapeshifter
➸ Content Warnings: Talk of parental abuse (off page), Death of a parent (off page)
This was the cutest, most wholesome graphic novel I’ve read. And it gave me all the warm, fuzzy feelings I was hoping for. It is queer, magical, and a must read for the fall season.
This book is a representation dream. Not only are the main characters Chinese-American and in a relationship, but Nova lives with her 2 grandmothers, is hard of hearing, and Tam is non binary. But my favorite part was that none of it felt forced or heavy handed. The representation was so delicately and respectfully woven into the story. It was absolutely beautiful and made my heart so full.
At it’s core, this story is about self-acceptance and discovering your own path. Both Nova and Tam are dealing with past traumas and trying to discover how to move forward, while also growing together. Both main characters grew up with difficult childhoods, for much different reasons, and they are trying to confront and cope with those traumas.
This was shy of a 5 star for me because I honestly wanted more backstory and connection to the characters. I enjoyed all of the characters on a surface level, but I never felt like I got to know them to the point of feeling an emotional connection. Nova and Tam become so quickly involved that I never got the chance to develop any strong feelings toward their relationship. I wish we had seen more of their friendship or backstory. I just wanted more depth and insight into the characters.
Overall I really enjoyed this queer, magical story. I will definitely read more from this duo in the future!
2. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
This is a graphic novel anthology made up of 5 individual short stories, each an unconnected, horror story. Overall this was mixed bag for me. I absolutely loved 2 of these stories but hated/didn’t understand the remaining three at all. Below is each of the five stories, from least to most favorite, with a short synopsis/review.
Our Neighbor’s House ⭐
This follows 3 sisters who’s father must leave and gives them instructions should he not return. I honestly have no idea what happened in this story it went so far over my head. It’s really short and as far as I can tell literally nothing happened. I was very confused.
His Face All Red ⭐⭐
This is a story about brothers and jealousy. But this was another one I just didn’t understand.
My Friend Janna ⭐⭐
This follows two young women who pretend to speak to the dead for the villagers. Again.. this one made little sense to me. I was left confused in the end.
The Nesting Place ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is about a young woman who goes to live her brother and his wife. But his wife may not be exactly who she says she is. THIS WAS SO CREEPY!! Holy cow the art in this freaked me out in the best way. I loved this story but the ending left me a little confused (a theme with this book) which is why I docked a star.
A Lady’s Hands are Cold ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My hands down (see what I did there) favorite!! This follows a new bride who is just moving into her new husbands home. She hears a whisper song every night that she can’t ignore. Eventually the song leads her to a terrifying truth. This was so creepy, so eerie, and so poignant. I loved every inch of it. In my opinion this entire book is worth it for this one short story.
Have you read either of these graphic novels?? I’d love to hear your thoughts!