You’re going to wish you read The Poet X Sooner

This book is written in a series of vignettes by renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo and follows the life of a young Dominican American girl from Harlem. The Poet X is prefect for lovers of poetry and slam poets.

“I only know that learning to believe in the power of my own words has been the most freeing experience of my life. It has brought me the most light. And isn’t that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.”

The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo
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An Insanely Cute Fall Read

Witches and vampires dating? Read it. Witches and demons dating also read that. But witches and werewolves, nope never.

When I saw the cover to Mooncakes, I immediately knew I needed to read it this fall.


Mooncakes is a graphic novel written by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu and came out this October. Nova Hoang is a witch who works at her grandmothers’ magic bookstore assisting customers with that day to day spell work. Nova also helps in solve supernatural happenings in her small town so when she hears about a giant white wolf in the woods Nova decides to investigate. However, when Nova comes face to face with the wolf, she realizes the wolf is none other than her old crush Tam Lang.

“My mother met Einstein, you know. Horribly limited man.”

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne walker

Tam confesses to Nova that while coming back into town, they spotted a horse demon in the woods. Nova agrees to help Tam, but they soon discover that Tam is the only one who can stop the demon by using their werewolf magic. While all this is going on, Nova and Tam decide to pick up where they left off and start dating.


I loved so many things about this book, but here are just a few of them. Nova is hard of hearing, and her blue hearing aids are visible in every panel she appears in. I loved that Nova’s disability remained visible throughout this novel. I returned to previous panels to search for them, and they were always there. My ignorance made me appreciate the visibility of Nova’s disability throughout this book, and it also made me pay closer attention to the artwork and not get swept up in the story.

” A white wolf?”

“Hugh! Like Jon Snow’s. Mrs. Crawford said it came right at her.”

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

I loved that Mooncakes included LGBTQ+ characters. Tam Lang, the love interest, uses they/them pronouns and is a super cool white werewolf. Additionally, I was surprised to learn that Nova has two nanas. All the descriptions of this book I had previously read stated that Nova works at her grandmother’s bookshop, which is technically true, but Nova having two grandmothers is an extra special detail that you do not discover until you read Mooncakes.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that readers pay attention to the background artwork during scenes because there are lots of cute Easter eggs. In particular, popular YA novels are visible behind Nova in the bookshop. This is super cool, considering Wendy Xu is a curator of YA and children’s books.

I do not have many negative points about this novel, but for the sake of this review, I decided to neat pick some details of this story. One thing I could never figure out was Nova’s age. This story takes place during the fall season, and considering that Nova never goes to school, I assumed she was 18 or older. Nova also mentions becoming best friends with Tatyana in high school, and the use of past tense suggests that both of them are older than high school age. Lastly, what happened to Terry? Will we ever know the answer to that mystery?

Mooncakes is up there with Don’t Date Rosa Santos as one of my favorite books this year. Mooncakes is the first graphic novel I have ever read, and I loved the way that the artwork flows with the story. I think I may need to add more graphic novels and even manga to my tbr list based on the artwork alone.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Until my next review continue living in libros,

Gaby

All the reason to read “Don’t Date Rosa Santos”

A sleepy beach town, a love interest who can bake, chismoso viejietos, Don’t Date Rosa Santos has it all.


Don’t Date Rosa Santos is my favorite book this year!

Rosa Santos lives in the small seaside town of Port Coral, Florida. The town is very reminiscent of Star Hallows with its array of supporting characters and yearly festivals. What mainly sets this book apart from other books set in small towns is that the majority of the characters of Port Coral are of Latin American descent. Because of the unique cast of characters, readers are immersed in a world of guayaba pastelitos and characters who code-switch between English and Spanish.

Rosa is a high school senior with dual enrollment at a community college, which allows her to take her classes online and earn college credit. Rosa is in the middle of finalizing her enrollment to the University of Charleston when she learns that the town may have to cancel their annual Spring festival and sell the Marina. Rosa convinces the town to rebrand its spring festival as a fundraiser. This puts Rosa in the path of Alex Aquino, a new cutie in town. Alex assists Rosa with the fundraiser, but despite her crush, Rosa tries to keep Alex at a distance because of her family’s curse. All the men in Rosa’s family have tragically died because of the sea, and since Alex is a sailor himself, Rosa wants to keep him safe.

“The height difference is very tol and smol. You could climb him or something.”

Don’t Date Rosa Santos pg. 137

Rosa also struggles with her own identity in this novel. Her grandmother, her main caretaker, refuses to talk about Cuba, the country she was forced to flee. Rosa is curious about her roots, so she signs up for a study abroad trip to Cuba through Charleston, the only problem is, Rosa does not know how to tell her grandmother.

As mentioned earlier, the Santos family is cursed. Rosa’s pregnant grandmother, Milagros (Mimi), leaves Cuba with her husband in a small boat he constructed, but while navigating the dangerous waters, he drowns. Mimi gives birth to Rosa’s mother, and together the two of them make a home for themselves in Port Coral. In Port Coral, Mimi keeps herself occupied by being the town’s curandera or a healer.

Rosa’s father was a sailor, who owned a boat at the Port Coral Marina, however when Rosa’s mother is pregnant, her father goes missing at sea. Rosa is born without knowing her father or grandfather. Rosa’s mother is an artist who travels all over the U.S painting murals, but when Rosa turns 9, her mother decides to permanently leave her with her grandmother. Unlike Mimi, who deals with her trauma by healing others, Rosa’s mother’s solution to her trauma is to keep moving, only staying in Port Corral as long as necessary.

The Santos family curse is more of an inherited trauma passed down through the generations. The citizens of Port Coral know that Rosa should never go near the ocean, and when Rosa develops a friendship with Alex, the viejitos begin to gossip about them because he is a sailor.

I wish I could have a concrete answer on whether this curse ends up effecting Rosa’s life, but the story ends before I could find out. The story concludes on a hopeful note, and I believe the Santos women are working to heal from their trauma.

Besides the small-town vibe of Port Coral, this book also has a lovely description of food. I was very much craving a Cuban pastelito throughout various points in the novel. I might just have to make a trip to the local Cuban bakery. If you have not had the pleasure of trying a guava pastelito or Cuban food, in general, I highly recommend you try it. It’s delicious.

“Mrs. Peña delivered a shrimp ceviche served alongside plátano chips still warm from the fryer and crispy chicharrones”

“She left, and I spooned a mountain of ceviche onto a plátano and shoved it in my mouth. The lime and salt sang together in a concert.”

Don’t Date Rosa Santos is a great book to binge read. The plot is interesting, but so are the different characters. If you want a good read for Latinx Heritage Month, Don’t Date Rosa Santos is the perfect book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Until next time continue living in libros,

Gaby