Mooncakes [Not Enemies to Lovers]

by - August 28, 2019

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

I received a free e-copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

Note: this is NOT an enemies-to-lovers book, so my format is a little different

Possible tags for this graphic novel:
  • Childhood friends to lovers
  • Fluff
  • Queer romance
  • Modern witches

I saw so much praise for this graphic novel so I requested it myself. But after reading it, I'd only rate it 3/5 stars. 

What I loved


The worldbuilding is the best part of this graphic novel. It's so fascinating and unique, and I honestly wanted to learn more. I mean... modern day witches who own a magical store? Werewolves and demons? A man with a pigeon-head and cheerful ghosts that visit their daughter? Spells and magical gemstones? Not to mention how beautifully illustrated all of this is... I fell in love with the universe immediately!


Wendy Xu's art style is so lovely! It's so adorable, colorful, and cheerful. I love her attention to details. I'd zoom in on various panels just to see all the little bits she added. And Nova's outfits are very cute, which I appreciate.


The authors themselves stated they wanted to write characters with a good support system and they managed that successfully. Nova and her grandparents have such a sweet relationship, and her parents are loving even if they're a little critical. Her entire extended family comes to visit during a festival and they're fond of Tam as well. Nova's best friend Tatiana is also a spot of sunshine! And even if Tam's family isn't great, she finds a new family with Nova instead. The relationships are very warm-hearted and sincere.

What I didn't like


I know this graphic novel is supposed to be lighthearted and sweet, but every story still needs a proper conflict. The only real conflict was between our protagonists (Tam and Nova) and the villain who's been spreading demons around. Even so, it was only hinted at the start, and was only continued about halfway through. The middle chapters were mainly about the romance and the worldbuilding. The villain felt quite cartoonish and I didn't understand why they were acting in the first place. Furthermore, from the moment the villain was introduced, she was already suspicious and sneaky. It was so obviously a "plot twist".

Plus, I never felt like there were real stakes until page 177 of the graphic novel. Before then, I was never afraid for the characters or the universe. Was anything significantly bad going to happen to them? What are the consequences of them failing? These were never directly addressed or treated seriously enough early on.

By page 178, something dangerous happens to Tam, so I wanted to read on and see what would happen next. But it shouldn't have taken close to 200 pages for this.


Tam and Nova are childhood friends who were separated for the longest time. After Nova discovers Tam in the woods post-transformation, they reunite, and the two quickly fall in love. Nova says she loved Tam ever since they were kids, but we don't have much context. It felt very insta-love to me, which I'm not a fan of. I prefer seeing a relationship progress rather than have the two characters automatically profess their love and kiss. All the other characters were also pointing out how much they mooned over each other, which was cute and hilarious, but like I said, I couldn't be invested. I wish the authors spent more time developing Tam and Nova's friendship before they confessed to each other. Or maybe provide more flashbacks so we know what we're working with. That way, their romance would seem more realistic and rewarding and not something that was just stated.


Readers have been praising this graphic novel for its diversity and they're right. It's worth complimenting! Tam and Nova are both biracial Chinese-Americans. Nova is bisexual. Tam is non-binary. All of Nova's friends and family are supportive of their relationship. Nova wears a hearing aid but her deafness is never considered a weakness. And their diverse characteristics are never considered a plot point; they're just there, existing, as real life people do. It's normalized, which is great.

Other than that... I actually question the YA rating. I think this should've been a Middle Grade graphic novel instead. The protagonists are teenagers, yes, but the style seemed more suitable for a younger audience. Sure, a character says "sex" once and there are evil demons and cults, but it's nothing too frightening for children. The main couple never goes past kissing. All violence is cartoonish and non-gory. There's no strong language. Even the whimsical fantasy-adventure vibe gave it a younger feel.

TL;DR It's a very quick, lighthearted read. If you want good representation and a light fantasy for younger readers, then it's for you. But personally it was not for me.

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  1. Ahh thank you, this is such a fantastic review <3 I've heard a lot of praise about this graphic novel and, even though I don't usually read a whole lot of graphic novels, I was intrigued by this one. I'm a little sad that the childhood friends relationship isn't more developed and feels a little insta-lovey, this is my favorite trope of all times (the childhood friends, not insta-love haha) so... this makes me a little sad :(
    Thank you so much for this review! <3