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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
Riddles of the Heart: A Sweet August Moon Romance by Jenni Ward tells the cute story of Mei and Kane. They've been interested in each other since the start of the school year, but they've both made terrible first impressions. Mei is excited about the August Moon Festival, and it gets even better when she runs into Kane at her friend's stall. Her friend's grandmother immediately jumps into action, giving the two of them a special elixir. When they drink it, they suddenly find themselves alone at the festival in a deserted, empty world. They must now solve a series of riddles within two hours to return home, or else they will be trapped there forever. What could be a perfect opportunity for Mei and Kane to get to know each other will also be a race to return to their normal lives.
I love the cultural influences that come into play within Riddles of the Heart. Taking place in Adelaide, Australia, Jenni Ward invites us all to experience the August Moon Festival, a traditional Chinese festival filled with lanterns, mooncakes, and legends of Chang'e, the moon goddess. I definitely learned a lot about this cultural tradition within this short tale, and I loved how Eastern and Western cultures mixed together. There is definitely a manga/manhua feel to the story, as also suggested by the gorgeous cover art, and the characters are easy to adore. The shift from Mei's perspective to Kane's gives readers an all-encompassing understanding of the characters and their motivation. I look forward to reading more from this author.