Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Summary: Lora doesn’t want to grow up! Afraid that she is the magic of her childhood, Lora will do anything to stop it . . . including befriending Alexa, the ghost who haunts her house. A middle-grade graphic novel that focuses growing up and what that means for you and all the relationships you have in your life. This book is perfect for fans of Ghosts and Making Friends.
Growing up sounds terrible.
No one has time to do anything fun, or play outside, or use their imagination. Everything is suddenly so serious. People are more interested in their looks and what others think about them than having fun adventures. Who wants that?
After watching her circle of friends seemingly fade away, Lora is determined to still have fun on her own. A tea party with a twist lease Lora to discovering Alex, the ghost that haunts her house — and Lora’s old imaginary friend! Lora and Alexa are thrilled to meet kindred spirits and they become best friends . . . but unfortunately, not everything can last forever.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Séance Tea Party is charming graphic novel debut that examines the fears and anxiety through a coming-of-age narrative that embraces the wonder of childhood nostalgia! When Lora meets a friendly ghost named Alexa, they both embark on their own introspective journeys that focus on friendship, growing up, and lots more! A heartwarming and cozy read for the spooky season!
Although this graphic novel is like a soft, comforting hug during the chilly autumn season, it still left me a sobbing mess. I’ve followed Yee’s art for years and am just so delighted to have finally read one of her books.
The story follows Lora Xi, a 12-year old middle schooler, who finds joy in using her imagination and is fascinated in all things related to the paranormal/supernatural, like Big Foot, ghost stories, etc. However, as the months pass she begins to feel like the classmates and friends she’d always hung out with, are leaving her behind.
Then after holding a séance, she summons a ghost named Alexa and they immediately become best friends! As she continues to find that joy and delight of imagination, she learns to embrace it and accept herself as she is, despite the fears she has of growing up.
Yee absolutely captured the intense and complicated feelings that comes with loneliness, pains of growing up, identity, and anxiety. There’s so much truth portrayed across the various themes that Yee presents and is summed up perfectly with this line when Lora (joined by Alexa) visits an old friend named Sunni: “Topics change so fast every day and…I fall behind. I stop talking…” and “I’m scared of growing up…I’m not ready to let go of all the things that make me happy…” (49, 100-101).
Their many adventures continue which include meaningful talks, visits to forest hillsides, bike rides, and more. Lora slowly begins to reconnect more with her peers and both girls begin to spend time apart. During that however, Alexa does some soul-searching of her own. As it turns out, Alexa lived in the same city of Oaksfield about 50 years prior and while she doesn’t remember much, she realizes its time for a change.
Alexa and Lora’s friendship is without a doubt, the cutest?! 🥰💞 I adored reading all of their adventures together and just the joy they share with the help f imagination and a bit of supernatural magic!
The artwork is absolutely charming! I’ve follows Yee’s work for a while now and am in awe of her unique style, so I’m happy to have finally read one of her books. The colors evoke the coziness of fall with the warm color palette, it’s especially more clear just how lush the artwork is with the full page spreads. Another unique addition is the border which throughout most pages, includes little magical creatures or designs that fit the scene. The little animals also interact with the panels which is also very cute, just adding to the charming and magical vibes.
Adding onto the art, the paneling is also fantastic, you never feel like the story is moving too fast, but while it does take time through the middle, I think that’s what also allows for the beautiful messages to come through even more. You also sense the important themes throughout both of Lora and Alexa’s stories.
As for my rating, although I whole-heartedly recommend this graphic novel if your looking for a beautiful moving tale, I think it currently sits at 4 stars. I suppose my only critique is that more page time with Alexa and Lora together would have been great. As Lora gains more confidence, you still want to see them hang out and everything, despite their unsaid agreement to find their own ways. Another plus of this story though, truly is the pacing, there’s a charm in the slowness to it, as though this magical story can go on forever, which I loved!
Honestly, this graphic novel speaks to the edge between childhood and growing up, but also beautifully showcases the joy of this nostalgia, imagination, and embracing things that make you who you are, no matter your age. You’ll love how heartwarming it is however it may also make you SOB!! Like…Yee really didn’t have to make me cry at 10pm with that ending, but she did! I would absolutely love to see more stories with these characters and world if that’s ever a possibility!! 😭🧡
Séance Tea Party is a fantastic middle-grade tale you don’t want to miss! Yee’s cozy art style and masterful storytelling navigates growing up, the wonders of childhood, and the trials of finding your own path! Weaving together the magical and paranormal adds to the comforting and spooky charm that makes Lora and Alexa’s adventure so delightful. This wondrous graphic novel is a MUST READ! Highly recommend it! ❤🍂