I am a firm believer that graphic novels are perfect for those days when all you intend to do is sit with a book–and finish it in the same day! The following graphic novels are come out in Fall 2019, so make sure you grab your pumpkin spice-infused drink beforehand.
Stargazing by Jen Wang
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Since Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker is among my all-time favorite graphic novels, I couldn’t wait to dive into Stargazing. Stargazing is a middle grade graphic novel following fast friends Christine and Moon in their Chinese American community. It took me less than an hour to eat up this cute MG. As always, I loved Jen Wang’s illustrations, in addition to her use of gutters and panels. The novel really unpacks Christine’s growing up in the Chinese American community. While her family is somewhat rooted in their traditions and Christine appreciates her upbringing, she also lives an Americanized life. Her relationship to the community is one of the many differences between her and Moon, their friendship overall fitting the ‘opposite attract’ category. Much of the novel is dedicated to Moon and Christine’s friendship and its ups and downs.
Although I didn’t know too much about the novel going in, I was not expecting its seriousness and connections to Jen Wang’s personal life and childhood experiences. The plot twist left me surprised at first, but it made sense considering some of Moon’s actions. Jen Wang’s afterword explains the novel’s semi autobiographical inspiration.
Stargazing comes out on September 10, 2019.
This review is based on an advance reader’s edition. By no means did receiving this copy affect my thoughts or opinions.
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Mooncakes caught my attention primarily thanks to one of its protagonists, Nova. Where can I sign up to be a teenage witch working at her grandmothers’ bookstore/café??
Mooncakes follows Nova and her best friend of a werewolf, Tam, as they navigate their feelings for one another while combatting the magical creature lurking in their town. Just your average romance right? This was my first time reading Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker’s work. I really enjoyed the art style and their attention to detail. For example, I loved being able to read and recognize some of the book titles in the family bookstore!
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Summary: Prince Sebastian Prince Sebastian’s parents are on the lookout for a bride for their son, the Crown Prince of Belgium. Instead of spending time looking for his betrothed, Sebastian would much rather put on dresses created by his best friend and seamstress, Frances, and take Paris by storm as Lady Crystallia. Frances is willing to do anything to protect Sebastian’s secret, but as Lady Crystallia’s identity becomes more at risk, Frances questions how much longer she can put her own dreams on hold.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I wouldn’t call myself a graphic novels connoisseur (I haven’t finish my Graphic Novels course at university just yet), but I’ve read a considerable amount and I’m always on the look out for more. The Prince and the Dressmaker caught my attention for its aesthetic and unique story. I blew through the book on a Friday night in about an hour, and I’m so glad I have my own copy so I can reread it again and again.
Aesthetically speaking, I loved Jen Wang’s use of pastels and bright colors. I liked her use of gutters and untraditional use of panels—I liked how she incorporated panels alongside quarter or half-page illustrations. One of the illustrations below gave me some Schuyler sister vibes! Frances’s dress designs were absolutely stunning! The first dress she creates for Lady Crystallia reminded me so much of Belle and I particularly loved the red dress Crystallia wears while playing cards.
Plot wise, the pacing was perfect and I enjoyed seeing Sebastian and Frances’s relationship develop more and more. It was interesting to see Sebastian balance his responsibilities as prince alongside his nighttime adventures as Crystallia with Frances. I figured at some point it would all come crashing down, and I found myself fearing of turning the pages to witness Crystallia’s downfall! I also enjoyed our side characters, like Emilie and Peter, and it was fun to see Sebastian and Frances get into some funny hijinks. I found myself laughing along Crystallia’s day at the spa.
The ending of The Prince and the Dressmaker was heart-warming in a way I didn’t expect. I enjoyed how the themes of being comfortable with who you are and self-identity carried out throughout our cast of characters.
Overall, I loved The Prince and the Dressmaker for its gorgeous dress designs illustrations and Sebastian and Frances’s unique story and friendship. I want to read In Real Life by Jen Wang and Cory Doctorow soon, and I’m looking forward to diving into more of Jen’s work.
Have you read The Prince and the Dressmaker? Share in the comments!