Vol 1: Magic to Brew; Vol 2: Some Enchanted Evening, illustrated by Shae Beagle and Kate Leth
Meet Julie and her best friend Chet, who work together at a coffee shop in a magical world full of mythical creatures. Julie is a werewolf, and Chet is a centaur. in volume 1, Julie may have finally found the girl of her dreams, Selena, another werewolf. The couple, along with the cheerful Chet, go on their first date to an eerie magic show. But, when Chet becomes part of the show, he becomes the recipient of some dark magic that robs him of an essential part of himself. The friends come together to hatch a plan to reverse the damage done to their friend. Volume 2 has another puzzle to figure out, this time, it's how to get the Beta Fraternity of fairies to release Lindi and Veronica, members of a band who insulted the band at a Beta party.
The world of Moonstruck is such a cute, bastion of positivity. There is a lot of representation of LGBTQ+ characters being portrayed in a positive and very normal light. No one flat out tells readers that a character is nonbinary, characters just start using gender neutral pronouns. However, there's the story-within-a-story with the Pleasant Mountain Sisters that I don't think really adds much to the overall storyline, since it more so is a non-magic parallel to what is happening, and those were pages that could have been devoted to parts of the action that were omitted. The second volume has a lot more omissions and jumps in storyline, and a few stranger parts, like when Julie is told to leave the super secret Beta ritual, but after a declaration of stubbornness, it's ok if she stays and watches? Also (even the characters point this one out), why is Julie willing to risk so much to save two people who are legitimately horrible to her? Narrative questions aside, I think the characters in this story are super likable and enjoyable, and plenty of kid-audiences will enjoy them. The illustrations of Moonstruck by Shae Beagle are beautiful - soft, sort of water-color style, with plenty expressive characters. The illustrations of Pleasant Mountain Sisters have much brighter colors and pronounced lines, way different than the style of the main storyline.
Image rates this title as E for everyone. There is nothing in the first two volumes that would make this inappropriate for even elementary audiences, as it's sort of a problem-solving, fun-loving, positivity cupcake.
Sara's Rating: Vol 1 - 8/10; Vol 2 - 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 4-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Magic, Humor, LGBTQ+
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