séance tea party

If there’s one thing I love about the proliferation of graphic novels for kids and teens over the past few years, it’s how many of them have a witchy, autumnal vibe. I don’t know how/why it happened (thanks writers, illustrators, and editors!!), but I approve of the trend one hundred and ten percent!! Reimena Yee’s middle grade graphic novel Séance Tea Party joins a cadre of lovely books with that cozy, fall feeling. I’m thinking of titles like The Witch Boy, Quince, Mooncakes, Witchlight, and more. Go grab a hot beverage, a warm blanket, and get ready for an enjoyable afternoon – Séance Tea Party is perfect October reading! 

séance tea party by reimena yee book cover
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?

Not Lora.

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 leaves Lora to re-discovering Alexa, 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.

Reimena Yee brings to life a story about growing up, childhood, and what it means to let go. A fantastical story following lovable characters as they each realize what it means to be who you are.


Twelve-year-old Lora Xi is into everything magical, supernatural, and spooky – and she is starting to feel like all of her friends at school have left her behind in their quest to grow up fast. Lora is happy as she is: being a kid, making believe, and playing outdoors – but no one else seems to feel the same way. On one of the newly lonely afternoons in her middle school existence, she decides to host a tea party séance… and meets a ghost! Alexa (the ghost!) is forever thirteen, perfectly content to be Lora’s best friend, and their adventures together are epic. But time doesn’t stop just because one person in a BFF pair is a ghost – what will happen to Alexa when Lora grows up?

Oh. My. Gosh. This book is so, SO cute. I can’t with it. It’s got bittersweet growing up vibes, a weird kid growing into herself character arc, realistic tween and teen friendship feels, and a lot of magical, halloween-y wonderfulness. Just… candy corn sweet. Kids and adults alike will connect with the feeling of being left out or left behind, and those with off-the-beaten-path hobbies, quirks, and obsessions will especially see themselves in Lora. Lora with two supportive parents, a huge imagination, and a tender soul. The feeling that stayed with me after finishing this book is that ache of longing for acceptance, and the way we hold onto the “right now” when we’re scared of change. In a healing way. It’s a good sort of book.

But hey, that reaction didn’t tell you a whole lot about the story – just my over the top reactions to it. So here goes: Yee’s graphic novel is a middle grade graphic novel with a ghost in it (but not the horrifying kind, the benevolent kind!). Main character Lora is a bit of a loner; hesitant about this growing up business, and so of course she spends the whole book learning to come out of her shell, with help from a lovely supporting cast, who I am not going share much about because: spoilers. And that supporting cast have fully formed identities too (though it may take a little time to unravel them). I got genuinely emotional over this one, which made me kind of laugh at myself, because it’s just the prettiest book, and it felt a little weird to be tearing up over it.

Let’s unpack what I mean by pretty – well, I mean you can guess from the cover art?? Yee’s art is charming and has an endearing, young vibe with pencil-like line work (I don’t do art myself, please do not mind me if I’m getting this horribly wrong), lots of color, and characters with big eyes and soft silhouettes. Yee adds lots of detail to pages with magical and ghostly shenanigans, and sometimes joins up the panels with illustrations behind them. It’s a very active, expressive art style that exudes fun, and looks a bit like a mix of Ngozi Ukazu's and Katie O’Neill’s styles.

In all, Séance Tea Party is a charming and satisfying take on growing up (or not), finding your people, and making room for the magic in the every day.

Recommended for: fans of Ghosts and The Tea Dragon Festival, the Toy Story films, and anyone who prefers their October reading more gentle than spooky.

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