“The Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12.” —Peter Graham
The Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, has announced the titles of their Great Graphic Novel for Teens list for 2019!
Dating back to 2007, YALSA has listed the Top Ten titles, as well as a (very) long list of titles recommended for readers ages 12-18.
While not an official award, the list does serve as an excellent tool to help librarians, educators, and parents find great titles which appeal to children and teens. Along with the mainstream book publishers, the list also includes many popular titles from DC, Marvel, Boom!, and other comics publishers.
Click here to access previous years’ lists!
CHICAGO – The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced its 2019 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list.
The list consists of 138 titles selected from 205 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blogposts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/great-graphic-novels.
- Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation. By Anne Frank and Ari Folman. Illus. by David Polonsky. 2018. Pantheon, $24.95 (9781101871799).
- Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction. By Jarrett Krosoczka. Illus. by the author. 2018. Graphix, $24.99 (9780545902472).
- The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees. By Don Brown. Illus. by the author. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99 (9781328810151).
- Crush. By Svetlana Chmakova. Illus. by the author. 2018. JY, $11.00 (9780316363242).
- Illegal. By Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin. Illus. by Giovanni Rigano. 2018. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $20.00 (9781492662143).
- My Brother’s Husband, Volume 2. By Gengoroh Tagame. Illus. by the author. 2018. Pantheon Books, $24.95 (9781101871539).
- On a Sunbeam. By Tillie Walden. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $32.99 (9781250178145).
- Royal City. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by the author. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99
- Silver Spoon. By Hiromu Arakawa. Illus. by the author. 2018.Yen Press, $15.00
- V.1. (9780316416191).
- V.2. (9781975326197).
- V.3. (9781975327460).
- V.4. (9781975327590).
- Speak: The Graphic Novel. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Illus. by Emily Carroll. 2018. Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99 (9780374300289).
“It is with great pleasure that our committee shares the 2019 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. This selection of 138 outstanding comics, graphic novels, and manga was curated by a passionate and knowledgeable group of teen advocate librarians and features a terrifically diverse roster,” said Chair Tina Lerno. “We worked hard to find and select titles that were socially responsible while offering entertainment, support, educational value, or all three to teens from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. It is our sincere hope that both teens and librarians find value and joy in reading and sharing these wonderful titles.”
YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.
Members of the 2019 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team are: Tina H. Lerno, chair, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Silence R. Bourn, Orlando Public Library, Orlando, FL; Amanda Cain, County of Los Angeles Public Library, Newhall, CA; Kate Covintree, The Wheeler School, Providence, RI; Meaghan Darling, Long Hill Township Public Library, Gillette, NJ; Amy Estersohn, Hommocks Middle School, Scarsdale, NY; Janis B. Fox, Thomasville Middle School, Thomasville, NC; Lindsey Helfrich, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA; Kristy Kemper Hodge, Corcallis-Benton County Public Library, Corvallis, OR; Wendy Knight, Troup-Harris Regional Library, Lagrange, GA; Kristina Langlais, Philadelphia, PA; Amanda Melilli, UNLV – Teacher Development & Resources Library, Las Vegas, NV; Jessica Ormonde, San Mateo County Libraries, Pacifica, CA; Jennifer D. Siron, Los Angeles Public Library, Chatsworth, CA; Loren Spector, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Emily Tobin, Rock Island Public Library, Rock Island, IL.
Two books by Macmillan. Two by Random House Penguin’s Pantheon. Two by Yen Press (one domestic, one import). Two titles made the list last year with previous volumes. A diverse list, in publishers (large and small, comics and mainstream), content (adaptations, memoir, manga) and creators.
This list isn’t an award, like the Newbery, Caldecott, or Printz. It doesn’t automatically guarantee sales or notoriety, but it does present a list of great books for libraries and educators to consider. Dating back t0 2007, it’s a great resource, one which I usually link to whenever a new librarian is looking for recommendations.
What’s a bit unusual is that this committee also releases a list of other worthwhile titles, this year numbering 119! You can read the blog posts here. Of note: 205 official nominations. 138 titles actually selected for the final list.
Here’s the complete list. 14 non-fiction titles, 80 fiction. [The discrepancy in the math might be due to counting multiple volumes. It doesn’t really matter.] Many titles on this list have appeared on previous lists. Ms. Marvel, for example.
2019 Great Graphic Novels for Teens
*denotes top ten title
*Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation. By Anne Frank and Ari Folman. Illus. by David Polonsky. 2018. Pantheon, $24.95 (9781101871799). This is the first graphic edition of Anne Frank’s diary; a young girls poignant writings during her years of hiding in Amsterdam. This beautiful retelling is a feast for the eyes. Anne Frank’s story, already so powerful and unforgettable is brought to life in full color. Even if you have read and reread her story, you will be drawn to this new version.
Be Everything at Once: Tales of a Cartoonist Lady Person. By Dani Lee. Illus. by the author. 2018. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (9781452167657). Quirky and relatable, Dami’s comics are fun, funny, and highlight the struggle of trying to fit in, stay true to yourself, navigate social, work, and home life while growing up and transitioning into adulthood.
Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home. By Nora Krug. Illus. by the author. 2018. Scribner, $30.00 (9781476796628). Krug relates the struggle to understand her German roots and her familial ties to the Nazi party during WWII. Guilt over her German heritage begins during her teen years and follows her into adulthood, leading her on a genealogical journey to uncover her truths.
Birding is My Favorite Video Game: Cartoons About the Natural World From Bird and Moon. By Rosemary Mosco. Illus. by the author. 2018. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $12.99 (9781449489120). A collection of science cartoons filled with informational tidbits about birds, bees, and other aspects of the natural world, shared in a humorous way.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World. By Pénélope Bagieu. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $17.99 (978626728691). This collection features brief portraits of women in various countries and cultures throughout history who stood in opposition to what society deemed an appropriate way for women to behave. In doing so, these women revolutionized their fields and changed lives, history, and the image of women.
The Bride Was a Boy. By Chii. Illus. by the author. 2018. Seven Seas, $13.99 (9781626928886). Chii’s biggest dream in life was to live as the woman she always knew she was, but she never expected to also meet her future husband at the beginning of her transition. Documenting her real life experience in manga format, Chii shows readers the complexity of transitioning and relationships in Japan for trans individuals.
Grand Theft Horse. By G Neri. Illus. by the author. 2018. Lee & Low Books, Inc., $19.95 (9781620148556). The true story of Gail Ruffu, a horse trainer, who was arrested and tried for grand theft horse, as she fought the horse racing industry for fair treatment of both her horse and herself.
Herding Cats: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection. By Sarah Andersen. Illus. by the author. 2018. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99 (9781449489786). Sarah struggles with basic adult tasks and life as a creative person in this comic anthology. From getting up on time, to dealing with online harassment, Sarah covers a variety of relatable situations with her particular brand of awkward humor.
*Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction. By Jarrett Krosoczka. Illus. by the author. 2018. Graphix, $24.99 (9780545902472). A memoir about being raised by grandparents and finding art as a way of communicating and self-expression while dealing with family addiction and absenteeism.
Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. By Isabel Quintero. Illus. by Zeke Peña. 2018. Getty, $19.95 (9781947440005). A lyrical introduction to the work of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, including her mentors, her ways of looking at the world, and the process for creating some of her most iconic photos.
A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns. By Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson. Illus. by Archie Bongiovanni. 2018. Limerence Press, $7.99 (9781620104996). Archie, a genderqueer comic artist, and their good friend Tristan, a cisgender male writer, team up to explain how to best navigate some of the challenges gender non-conforming people will most likely face.
Strange Fruit, Volume II: More Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History. By Joel Christian Gill. Illus. by the author. 2018. Fulcrum Publishing, $19.95 (9781938486579). This volume collects stories from early African American History. Each of the eight stories describes an uncelebrated hero or event, teaching readers something new about African American History.
Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. By Julia Kaye. Illus. by the author. 2018. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99 (9781449489625). It took Julia years to understand herself as a trans individual. As a way to help herself and others, she created a graphic diary of her experiences to chronicle her personal journey of acceptance.
*The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees. By Don Brown. Illus. by the author. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99 (9781328810151). This minimalist text takes a journalistic approach to describing the political and social implications of the Syrian refugee crisis It features the stories of individual refugees, while also focusing on local and global trends contributing to the crisis.
Again!!. By Mitsurou Kubo. Illus. by the author. 2018.
- v.1. Kodansha Comics, $12.99 (9781632366450).
- v.2. Kodansha Comics, $12.99 (9781632366467).
- v.3. Kodansha Comics, $12.99 (9781632366474).
- v.4. Kodansha Comics, $12.99 (9781632366481).
- v.5. Kodansha Comics, $12.99 (9781632366498).
Kinishrio has been ignored his entire high school career because his looks make people think he’s a troublemaker, but after falling down the stairs at his high school graduation, he wakes up three years earlier with a chance to do it all over again.
Alice: From Dream to Dream. By Giulio Macaione. Illus. by Giulia Adragna. 2018. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684151806). Alice has the ability to enter other people’s dreams; this can be both amazing and terrifying depending whose dream it is. Will she be able to explore the secrets in her life and small town while she dreams, or will it all become a nightmare?
All Summer Long. By Hope Larson. Illus. by the author. 2018. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr), $21.99 (9780374304850). In this coming-of-age story, thirteen-year-old Bina is left to figure out how to have fun during summer when her best friend, Austin, leaves for soccer camp for a month. Then, Austin comes back from camp acting weird, Bina realizes what true friendship is and how to go about making the rest of the summer epic.
Animus. By Antoine Revoy. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $16.99 (9781626721838). In Kyoto, Japan, there is playground with a peculiar resident named Toothless who frightens friends Hisao and Sayuri. When an impossible tragedy befalls one of their friends, Hisao and Sayuri set out on a fantastical journey to uncover the mystery that keeps Toothless tethered to the playground.
Ao Haru Ride. By Io Sakisaka. Illus. by the author. 2018.
- v.1. VIZ Media LLC, $9.99 (9781974702657).
- v.2. VIZ Media LLC, $9.99 (9781974702664).
By her last year in middle school, Futaba Yoshioka hasn’t found a boy that she didn’t find immature or annoying—until she gets to know Kou Tanaka. As possible sparks begin to fly, Kou leaves school, not to return until high school. With both of them having changed so much, can they go back to how they felt before?
The Backstagers, Volume 2: The Show Must Go On. By James Tynion IV. Illus. by Rian Sygh. 2018. Boom! Box, $14.99 (9781684150571). Behind the scenes of their high school’s theater department, a group of teen boys run stage crew. Continuing the first volume in the series, the group must investigate the magical backstage when the “friend” Sasha made during the time he was lost, reappears.
Be Prepared. By Vera Brosgol. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $12.99 (9781626724457). Fitting in has never been easy for Vera. After a disastrous birthday party sleepover, she begs her mom to let her go to summer camp like the “popular girls” at school. At Russian Heritage Camp, Vera thinks she’s finally found a place where she might fit in, but camp isn’t at all what she expected. Will she survive a summer filled with girl drama, shifting camp alliances and an outhouse from hell?
Betty & Veronica, Volume 1. By Adam Hughes. Illus. by the author. 2017. Archie Comic Publications, $12.99 (9781682559857). A giant coffee chain is coming to Riverdale thanks to Mr. Lodge, but while it’s bringing a new crop of coffee and hipsters, it’s replacing Pop’s Diner. Betty is determined to save Pop’s, and Veronica doesn’t want to halt coffee progress. Pitting two BFFs against one another turns the whole town into a war zone.
Bingo Love. By Tee Franklin. Illus. by Jenn St-Onge. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534307506). Hazel and Mari met in 1963 and instantly formed a connection. When they admit their love to each other though, their families tear them apart. 50 years later, after marriages, children and even grandchildren, the women reconnect at a bingo hall and realize that they are still in love. In order to be happy and together, they must leave their marriages to do so.
Black AF: America’s Sweetheart. By Kwanza Osajyefo. Illus. by Jennifer Johnson. 2017. BlackMask Studio, $9.99 (9781628751918). Eli is a black girl adopted by white parents who has to keep her “empowered” superpowers a secret. A lovely exploration of social themes inside of a superhero context with great art.
Black Hammer: The Event, Volume 2. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dean Ormston and David Rubin. 2018. Dark Horse, $19.99 (9781506701981). Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien are trapped! In their old lives they were superheroes, but because of a strange occurrence in their multiverse they are thrust into life in a rural town from which they cannot escape. Picking up where volume one ended, readers get more back story on several of the characters, including Black Hammer and the story about the final event that caused all of the superheroes to end up where they are now.
Black Torch. By Tsuyoshi Takaki. Illus. by the author. 2018. Viz Media, $9.99
- v.1. (9781974700462).
- v.2. (9781974701520).
Jiro Azuma is a teen ninja who can talk to animals. One day, he rescues an injured cat, and embroils himself in a whole new world of the supernatural, attracting the attention of a top-secret anti-mononoke espionage unit called Black Torch.
Check Please!: Book One, #Hockey. By Ngozi Ukazu. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $12.99 (9781250177957). Attending Samwell University in Massachusetts on scholarship, Eric Bittle joins the ice hockey team and tries to acclimate to college life with all the drama and hijinks one would expect of a queer athlete who bakes.
Coady & the Creepies. By Liz Prince. Illus. by Amanda Kirk. 2018. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684150298). Coady and her sisters were in a tragic car accident that left them scarred both physically and emotionally, but that’s not going to stop them from being the first punk band ever to complete Pinmaggedon, by playing at the most famous punk venues across the country.
Coyotes, Volume 1. By Sean Lewis. Illus. by Caitlin Yarsky. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534306479). Analia (aka Red) was orphaned as a girl when the coyotes who plague the City of Lost Girls attacked and killed her sister and mother. She befriends a group of strong women who band together to oppose the coyotes who brutally attack women in the area.
*Crush. By Svetlana Chmakova. Illus. by the author. 2018. JY, $11.00 (9780316363242). Perfectly capturing the challenges of friendship drama and the anguish of first crushes in middle school, this is the story of Jorge Ruiz, sweet, gentle, and strong, who is crushing on Jazmine, strong, kind, and intelligent. Jorge must navigate his friendships and romantic interests and the drama that ensues.
DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test. By Hamish Steele. Illus. by the author. 2018. Nobrow, $14.95 (9781910620472). Barney’s friend, Norma, secures him a job as a janitor at Dead End, the least popular tourist attraction in town. It’s not long before Barney discovers that the haunted house is not just a theme park attraction—it is also a portal to hell. With demons and ghosts moving through Hell’s door on the regular, Barney and Norma have their work cut out for them.
Dept. H, Volume 3. By Matt Kindt. Illus. by the author and Sharlene Kindt. 2018. Dark Horse, $19.99 (9781616559915). Mia continues to search for her father’s killer miles below the ocean surface. As the answers to her questions about his death draw nearer, her chances for survival are sinking lower.
Descender, Volume 5: Rise of the Robots. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dustin Nguyen. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534303454).Tim-21, Telsa, Bandit, Andy, Effie, and Driller’s backstories are uncovered and members of the group escape the Machine Moon in a quest to locate the robot who may be able to stop the Harvesters.
Descender, Volume 6: The Machine War. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by Dustin Nguyen. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534306905). In this final volume of Descender’s first story arc, Tim-21 and crew find themselves in the middle of the robot revolution. As the machines rise again humankind, will Tim find his own path and a way to survive?
Escape from Syria. By Samya Kallab. Illus. by Jackie Roche. 2017. Firefly Books, $19.99 (9781770859821). Amina and her family have escaped from the civil war in Syria and are now living in Canada. This book tells her family’s story while explaining the Syrian civil war that led to the plight of Syrian refugees as many made their way from Syria to Lebanon and then elsewhere in Europe.
Estranged. By Ethan M. Aldridge. Illus. by the author. 2018. Harper Collins, $12.99 (9780062653871). The Human Childe, taken as a baby by the fay king and queen to the Below, must track down his changeling look-alike Edmund, when a rival queen overthrows the fay throne. Accompanied by his family and friends, he encounters numerous dangers in an effort to save the fay kingdom.
Fake Blood. By Whitney Gardner. Illus. by the author. 2018. Simon & Schuster, $21.99 (9781481495561). When AJ starts middle school, he hopes that things will be different, including his unrequited crush on Nia. With the help of his sister and two best friends, he hopes to change that. Knowing Nia’s love of vampires, he Impersonates one—only to discover that she is a vampire slayer.
Fence, Volume 1. By C.S. Pascat. Illus. by Johanna the Mad. 2018. Boom! Box, $9.99 (9781684151929). Nicholas is the illegitimate son of a former Olympic Fencing champion and wants to prove that he has what it takes to be a great fencer. A scholarship student at a boarding school, Nicholas starts a rivalry with the unbeatable Seiji Katamaya, even as he needs to catch up to his teammates who have years of elite fencing training.
Flying Witch. By Chihiro Ishizuka. Illus. by the author. 2018. Vertical Comics, $10.95
- v.3. (9781945054112).
- v.4. (9781945054129).
- v.5. (9781945054679).
- v.6. (9781947194045).
This series continues to follow the sweet and gentle witch in training, Makoto, as she enjoys country life and honing her craft.
Frau Faust. By Kore Yamazaki. Illus. by the author. Kodansha Comics, $12.99
- v.1. 2017. (9781632364807).
- v.2. 2017. (9781632364814).
- v.3. 2018. (9781632365491).
Marion agrees to help a strange woman in exchange for tutoring lessons, with no idea that he is actually assisting Dr. Faust, the fairy tale character known for selling his soul to a demon. However, the real Dr. Faust is not the sinister man from the stories, but rather, a solitary woman on a mission to find all the pieces of her demon to put him back together.
Giant Days. By John Allison. Illus. by Max Sarin and Liz Fleming. Boom! Box. $14.99
- v.6. 2017. (9781684150281).
- v.7. 2018. (9781684151318).
- v.8. 2018. (9781684152070).
Susan, Esther, and Daisy continue their college adventures with sleep deprived nights, relationship troubles, student elections, and the pressure to meet everyone’s expectations, as their second year of university ends.
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil A Rún. By Nagabe. Illus. by the author. Seven Seas, $12.99
- v.3. 2017. (9781626925588).
- v.4. 2018. (9781626927018).
- v.5. 2018. (9781626928473).
Left in the care of “Teacher,” a young girl named Shiva must survive in the Outside, a land filled with vicious beasts that curse others with a touch. Shiva, Teacher, and Shiva’s auntie find themselves in the mysterious push-pull situation between the creatures of the Outside and the humans in power on the Inside.
Goldie Vance, Volume 4. By Hope Larson. Illus. by Elle Power. 2018. BOOM! Studios, $14.99 (9781684151400). Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and dreams to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. In this volume, Goldie solves the mystery of the power outages affecting her town.
Green Lantern: Earth One, Volume 1. By Gabriel Hardman. Illus. by the author. 2018. DC Comics, $16.50 (9781401241865). The origin story of former astronaut-turned-space miner for hire Hal Jordan and how he becomes the Green Lantern with the help of the few remaining Guardians.
Heavy Vinyl. By Carly Usdin. Illus. by Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores. 2018. Boom! Box, $14.99 (9781684151417). Set in 1998, Chris gets a job at a local record store but knows the other women who work there are keeping a secret from her. When her favorite band’s lead singer, Rosie Riot, goes missing, the shop manager lets Chris in on their secret and they join forces to find the singer.
The Hidden Witch. By Molly Knox Ostertag. Illus. by the author. 2018. Graphix, $12.99 (9781338253757). Having finally been accepted as a witch, Aster now has years of education to catch up on, and he turns to his grandmother for help. Meanwhile, his close friend Charlie finds herself caught up in dark magic when a new girl comes to her school.
Home After Dark. By Davis Small. Illus. by the author. 2018. Liveright Publishing, $27.95 (9780871403155). After Russell and his father are abandoned by his mother, they move to a small town in Northern California, where Russell’s father gets a job at San Quentin and drinks away his spare time. Russell makes some friends, but ends up bullied and abandoned. When Russell’s dad disappears, too, he is left to fend for himself until the Mah family takes him in.
I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness. By Yuki Fumino. Illus. by the author. 2018. One Peace Books, $13.95 (9781944937416). Taichi is confused about his feelings for Kohei, and their friendship is strained after a misunderstanding that happened during Spring Break. Now Kohei, who is hearing impaired, doesn’t need Taichi to take lecture notes for him anymore either. Taichi is left to figure out his future and whether or not there is a place for Kohei in it.
*Illegal. By Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin. Illus. by Giovanni Rigano. 2018. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $20.00 (9781492662143). Ebo’s older sister left Ghana and now his brother has disappeared, leaving a note saying he’s taking the arduous journey to Europe to seek a better life. Alone and refusing to be left behind, Ebo catches up with his brother so they can make the trip together, living on the streets, negotiating with human smugglers, and struggling to survive.
Laid Back Camp. By Afro. Illus. by the author. 2018. Yen Press, $13.00
- v.1. (9780316517782).
- v.2. (9780316517829).
- v.3. (9780316517850).
Rin loves to go camping, and she does so alone. Then she meets Nadeshiko, a girl who wants to see Mt. Fuji as it appears on the 1000 yen note, and their first encounter soon leads to friendship. Rin still prefers to enjoy the outdoors in peace, though she has to admit that camping with a friend can be fun too—even if they’re just eating cup ramen and enjoying the view from their campsite.
Last Pick. By Jason Walz. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $17.99 (9781626728912). Twins Sam and Wyatt try to survive on Earth after all able-bodied people ages 16-65 are captured and taken by aliens.The twins’ mission—find their abducted parents by obtaining alien communication hardware they can use to track their parents’ off-world location.
Luisa – Now and Then. By Carole Maurel and Mariko Tamaki. Illus. by the authors. 2018. Humanoids, $29.95 (9781594656439). A moving story about self-discovery, Luisa as a teen meets her adult self and must make tough decisions about the kind of person she wants to be.
Lumberjanes, Volume 7: A Bird’s-Eye View. By Shannon Waters. Illus. by Carey Pietsch. 2017. Boom! Box, $14.99 (9781684150458). The Lumberjanes face their biggest challenge yet: an inspection from the camp leaders, the Grand Lodge! But when a giant bird kidnaps the Grand Lodge along with their head counselor, Rosie, these hardcore lady-types and their friends embark on journey to save them.
Lumberjanes, Volume 8: Stone Cold. By Shannon Waters and Kat Leyh. Illus. by Carey Pietsch. 2018. Boom! Box, $14.99 (9781684151325). When the Lumberjanes of Roanoke cabin find that their good friend and newest Lumberjane, Barney, has been turned to stone along with the rest of their cabin, they know it’s due to the return of their former nemesis, Diane. But when Diane vows she didn’t do it, the Roanokes enlist her help to save their friends.
Making Friends. By Kristen Gudsnuk. Illus. by the author. 2018. Graphix, $24.99 (9781338139228). Sixth grade was easy for Dany, but seventh grade is a different story. She’s in a new school and none of her friends are in any of her classes or lunch period, leaving her isolated and alone. But when Dany finds an old drawing book left by her great-aunt, she decides to create a few new friends of her own.
Mech Cadet Yu, Volume 1. By Greg Pak. Illus. by Takeshi. 2018. Boom! Box, $14.99 (9781684151950). Stanford Yu, janitor at the Sky Corps Academy, has the opportunity of a lifetime when an alien robot chooses to bond with him instead of one of the cadets. Faced with a new station at the Academy, training, and team, Stanford must overcome these challenges and learn to trust his team in order to keep the planet safe.
Misfit City, Volume 2. By Kiersten Smith. Illus. by Naomi Franquiz. 2018. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684151721). The group continues on their hunt for Black Mary’s treasure, pursued by the Denbys. When Wilder’s mom is possessed by the ghost of Black Mary, the group must solve clues to unlock a mystery.
Monstress, Volume 3. By Marjorie Liu. Illus. by Sana Takeda. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534306912). Fleeing from her enemies, Maika Halfwolf seeks refuge in city of Pontus, but even this neutral city is not enough to protect her from her enemies. An attack on the city is inevitable, and their only hope of surviving is to trust that Maika’s shaman-empress heritage is strong enough to save them all.
Motor Crush, Volume 2. By Brenden Fletcher. Illus. by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534305519). Domino Swift finds that she has somehow traveled two years into the future in a instant. When she returns home to Nova Honda, she discovers that the underground cannonball races have been shut down, the love of her life, Lola, has a new love, and Lola and her angry, grief-stricken father have been working for the mob bosses, the Producers, to pay off the debt of Domino’s lost bet.
Ms. Marvel, Volume 8: Mecca. By G. Willow Wilson. Illus. by Marco Failla and Diego Orlortegui. 2017. Marvel, $17.99 (9781302906085). Kamala Khan, teenage superhero, Ms. Marvel, finds herself fighting old enemies and old friends when Jersey City’s new mayor arrests people with suspected superpowers, including her brother, Aamir.
Ms. Marvel, Volume 9: Teenage Wasteland. By G. Willow Wilson. Illus. by Nico Leon. 2018. Marvel, $17.99 (9781302910787). Ms. Marvel is nowhere to be found and Jersey City is in chaos when an old nemesis returns. Kamala’s friends take up the Ms. Marvel mantle in her absence until the danger escalates and they must call for backup.
*My Brother’s Husband, Volume 2. By Gengoroh Tagame. Illus. by the author. 2018. Pantheon Books, $24.95 (9781101871539). Yaichi has been struggling to fully understand and accept his brother’s husband, Mike. Spending time together during Mike’s visit to Japan, Yaichi and his daughter realize just how important he is to their family.
Nameless Asterism. By Kina Kobayashi. Illus. by the author. 2018. Seven Seas, $12.99
- v.1 (9781626927445).
- v.2 (9781626927452).
Since the day they met, Shiratori, Washio, and Kotooka have been inseparable best friends, but Shiratori is secretly in love with Washio and is afraid that her feelings could ruin everything. Will the three girls be able to manage their feelings of first love and still be friends?
The Nameless City, Volume 3: The Divided Earth. By Faith Erin Hicks. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $21.99 (9781626721616). The Dao prince, Ezri, has invaded and overthrew the city’s palace, and war is imminent. Rat and Kai are the only ones who can stop the bloodshed Ezri is planning with a secret weapon. They have to infiltrate Ezri’s palace to steal the weapon’s recipe, prevent the war on the horizon, and give the Nameless City back to its indigenous people, the Named.
*On a Sunbeam. By Tillie Walden. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $32.99 (9781250178145). Mia becomes the newest member on a ship that travels through space reconstructing historical ruins for new use. Though quiet and unsure of herself, she fits in with the crew and eventually reveals her true purpose for taking the job; finding her lost love.
Orphans, Volume 1: The Beginning. By Roberto Recchioni. Illus. by Emiliano Mammucari. 2018. Lion Forge, $19.99 (9781942367178). An energy beam from an alien planet kills a sixth of the Earth’s population in an act of war. Orphaned children are drafted into military service, becoming an elite army for striking back. When they invade the alien planet, they find a strange lifeform that has the ability to appear out of nowhere and kill without weapons.
Orphans, Volume 2: Lies. By Roberto Recchioni. Illus. by Emiliano Mammucari. 2018. Lion Forge, $19.99 (9781942367529). When the story continues in volume two, the elite military trained orphans are in the midst of a major battle on the alien planet. After the battle, Sam is left searching for Ringo and hoping to rescue him, but she’s not the only one looking for him. A big plot twist changes everything including who the orphans can trust and what exactly they are fighting.
Paper Girls, Volume 4. By Brian K. Vaughan. Illus. by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson. 2018. Image Comics, $14.99 (9781534305106). When Tiff arrives in the year 2000 at a slightly different angle than her fellow Paper Girls, she’s given the ability to see the cyber war happening all around them, and meets her future self. When the girls all reunite to learn the ciphered messages of the rebels, they only find more chaos.
Persephone. By Loic Locatelli-Kournwskcy. Illus. by the author. 2018. Archaia, $19.99 (9781684151752). Persephone knows she’ll never be able to follow in her mother’s footsteps and yearns to know more about how she became the adopted daughter of the powerful Demeter. When she is taken through the gates of Hades, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the past and gets in the middle of a quest to find the ultimate power.
The Prince and the Dressmaker. By Jen Wang. Illus. by the author. 2018. First Second, $24.99 (9781250159854). Belgium’s Prince Sebastian is in Paris because his parents want him to find a bride. What he wants is to find a good designer to help him transform into his alter ego, Lady Crystallia. When he meets a visionary dressmaker, everything begins to fall into place.
The Promised Neverland. By Kaiu Shirai. Illus. by Posuka Demizu. 2018. Viz Media, $9.99
- v.2. (9781421597133).
- v.3. (9781421597140).
- v.4. (9781421597157).
- v.5. (9781421597164).
- v.6. (9781974701476).
Orphans Emma, Norman, and Ray learn a terrible secret about the fate of the children raised in their orphanage and work hard to construct a plan to escape before it’s too late.
*Royal City, Volume 2: Sonic Youth. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by the author. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534305526). In volume one, the story of the Pike family is set up with older brother Patrick Pike returning to his childhood home in the wake of his father’s stroke and his brother’s death. In this volume, the reader is taken back to the year 1993, following the then-teenaged Pike siblings and glimpsing the last week of Tommy Pike’s life.
*Royal City, Volume 3: We All Float On. By Jeff Lemire. Illus. by the author. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534308497). The final volume of this series brings readers a thoughtful and unique exploration of loss, grief, family, and acceptance.
Runaways: Find Your Way Home. By Rainbow Rowell. Illus. by Kris Anka. 2018. Marvel Comics, $17.99 (9781302908522). Years ago, a group of kids discovered that their parents were supervillains. In order to defeat them, they became a superhero team—and a family. In this new story, the Runaways have drifted apart, and chaos reigns. Can the Runaways be a team again if they aren’t all running from something?
Runaways: Best Friends Forever. By Rainbow Rowell. Illus. by Kris Anka. 2018. Marvel Comics, $17.99 (9781302911973). The Runaways are back together and trying to figure out how to make their new life work, including sending Molly to school and maintaining a household while also navigating their reunited relationships.
Scales & Scoundrels, Volume 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw. By Sebastian Girner. Illus. by Galaad. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781626927445). Treasure hunter Luvandra sets off on a quest for gold and adventure with her rag tag group of “scoundrels”. Will they find what they seek or something more?
Sheets. By Brenna Thummler. Illus. by the author. 2018. Lion Forge, $12.99 (9781941302675). Marj Glatt is a young teen running her family’s laundromat. She’s struggling to keep up the business, help care for her younger brother, and go to school. To make matters worse, she’s also dealing with meddlesome Mr Saubertuck, who is pressuring her into giving him the laundromat.
*Silver Spoon. By Hiromu Arakawa. Illus. by the author. 2018.Yen Press, $15.00
- v.1. (9780316416191).
- v.2. (9781975326197).
- v.3. (9781975327460).
- v.4. (9781975327590).
Yuugo Hachiken has always been a great student, but instead of going to a regular academic high school, he decides to enroll in Ooezo Agricultural High School instead. This city boy was hoping to coast through high school, and an agricultural school is sure to be easy, right? Wrong! Instead of doing math problems, and reciting poetry, he’s waking up at 5AM to do chores, raise piglets and learn to ride a horse.
Skyward, Volume 1: My Low-G Life. By Joe Henderson. Illus. by Joe Garbett. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534308336). When Willa was a baby, gravity on Earth changed drastically, as her scientist father predicted it would. Unfortunately, no one was prepared for it, including Willa’s mother who died that day. Twenty years later, Willa and everyone else on Earth has adapted to their low-gravity world.
Sleepless, Volume 1. By Sarah Vaughn. Illus. by Leila del Duca. 2018. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534306844). Lady Poppy’s life is in danger as her uncle is crowned king of Harbeny, bringing with him his disagreeable daughter, Princess Rennen, and his flirtatious nephew, Helder. Poppy’s only protector is Cyrenic, a Sleepless knight—sworn never to sleep so he may protect Poppy.
Son of Shaolin. By Jay Longino. Illus. by Caanan White. 2017. Image Comics, $16.99 (9781534303232). Kyrie grew up in foster homes and never knew his father. After being followed by an older man in the subway, he learns he is in danger as the last in the tiger line of kung fu masters. There were once five master families: tiger, dragon, snake, crane, and leopard. The last of the snake clan is trying to kill Kyrie in order to gain his powers, and Kyrie must train to protect his city and his title.
*Speak: The Graphic Novel. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Illus. by Emily Carroll. 2018. Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.99 (9780374300289). Melinda is shunned at school because she called the cops at a summer party, but what everyone doesn’t know is that she was sexual assaulted there. In this beautifully illustrated graphic adaptation of the original novel, Melinda works on coming to terms with what happened to her and learning how to speak about it.
Spirit Circle. By Satoshi Mizukami. Illus. by the author. Seven Seas, $12.99
- v.1. 2017. (9781626926011).
- v.2. 2018. (9781626926806).
- v.3. 2018. (9781626927292).
- v.4. 2018. (9781626928329).
- v.5. 2018. (9781626929241).
Fuuta instantly falls in love with the new transfer student, Ishigami, but when she declares that he is her mortal enemy who she has vowed to kill, Fuuta has to discover what exactly happened between the two of them in their previous lives to cause such hatred in a middle school girl.
Star Wars Lost Stars, Volume 1. By Claudia Gray. Illus. by Yusaku Komiyama. 2018. Yen Press, $13.00 (9781975326531). Set in the Star Wars universe, this story follows childhood friends Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree as they escape the rigid social hierarchy of their home world and seek better lives by attending the Empire’s military academy. Close friends become enemies as one remains in the Empire while the other joins the Rebellion.
Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy, Volume 1. By Stephen McCranie. Illus. by the author. 2018. Dark Horse Books, $10.99 (9781506706481). Amy’s life on a far away mining colony changes abruptly when her dad loses his job and the family must return to planet Earth, a place Amy has only read about and seen through the media. Thirty years away from the life she has known, Amy must navigate a new world and one that does not contain her best friend Jemmah, now an adult on the mining colony.
The Strange. By Jerome Ruillier. Illus. by the author. 2018. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (9781770463172). In this immigration story, readers meet a character who is “strange,”—he looks different than us, he speaks a different language than ours, and he wants to emigrate to our country. To do so, he must get a forged ID and he must be smuggled to his new home. Once there, he must survive at all costs to establish a new life for his wife and children to come to him.
Supergirl: Being Super. By Mariko Tamaki. Illus. by Joelle Jones. 2018. DC Comics, $16.99 (9781401268947). Supergirl was certainly in need of a new origin story, and Tamaki’s take will please fans both new and old with a slightly different yet familiar interpretation of the story. The addition of some new characters—Kara’s friends Dolly and Jen—really help to make this story its’ own while not altering the preconceived universe.
Sweet Blue Flowers. By Takako Shimura. Illus. by the author. Viz Media, $24.99
- v.1. 2017. (9781421592985).
- v.2. 2017. (9781421592992).
- v.3. 2018. (9781421593005).
- v.4. 2018. (9781421593012).
Akira and Fumi haven’t seen each other since they were childhood friends, but when they bump into each other at a train station on the way to their new schools, the two instantly become best friends again. Now they are faced with the challenges of high school, and Akira continues to help the timid Fumi, even when she starts falling for the most popular girl at her school.
To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel. By Harper Lee and Fred Fordham. Illus. by Fred Fordham. 2018. Harper, $23.99 (9780062798183). A graphic adaptation of the classic story of race and class in the South. In this beautifully drawn adaptation, the reader can relate to the material in a new and modern way.
To Your Eternity. By Yoshitoki Oima. Illus. by the author. Kodansha Comics, $12.99
- v.1. 2017. (9781632365712).
- v.2. 2017. (9781632365729).
- v.3. 2018. (9781632365736).
- v.4. 2018. (9781632365743).
- v.5. 2018. (9781632365750).
An “orb” is cast down from the heavens with the ability to take the shape of anything it sees, including a wolf whose last wish was to be reunited with an abandoned boy. Taking place over time, the main character takes on many forms as he travels the world, exploring relationships in many different places and facing new challenges in each one.
The Unstoppable Wasp, Volume 2: Agents of G.I.R.L.. By Jeremy Whitley. Illus. by Elsa Charretier. 2017. Marvel, $15.99 (9781302906474). Nadia’s best friend from the Red Room, Ying, literally has a time bomb in her head; with the other genius scientists recruited for G.I.R.L. Labs, Nadia must disarm the bomb before it kills everyone. Meanwhile, Ying and Nadia’s “mother,” their captor from the Red Room, does not like that her two young assassin protégées have escaped, and will do whatever she must to get them back.
Victor LaValle’s Destroyer. By Victor LaValle. Illus. by Dietrich Smith and Joana Lafuente. 2018. Boom! Studios, $19.99 (9781684150557). Frankenstein’s monster, a creature who once only sought love and peace, has returned and no longer cares to keep the peace. He is now the Destroyer, wreaking havoc on anything in its path. Meanwhile, Dr. Baker is conducting secret experiments to bring back her twelve-year-old son who was fatally shot by the police. Two scientists find her, and the merging of both the world of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the present collide.
Waiting for Spring. By Anashin. Illus. by the author. Kodansha Comics, $10.99
- v.3. 2017. (9781632365187).
- v.4. 2018. (9781632365859).
- v.5. 2018. (9781632365866).
- v.6. 2018. (9781632365873).
- v.7. 2018. (9781632366313).
- v.8. 2018. (9781632366900).
Mitsuki was determined to have a high school experience full of friends, but she never expected to become close friends with the stars of the boys basketball team. Now, she finds herself falling for the talented Towa, but an old childhood friend challenges Towa as a rival for Mitsuki’s affection.
Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue, Volume 2. By Marissa Meyer. Illus. by Stephen Gilpin. 2018. Feiwel & Friends, $21.99 (9781250078285). Android Iko is determined to help the queen of Luna, with the problem of hybrid wolfmen sabotaging Luna’s fragile friendship with Earth. Even a mission partner that dislikes robots won’t stop Iko from thwarting the rebellion before it threatens both planets.
Your Name. By Makoto Shinkai. Illus. by Ranmaru Katone. Yen Press, $13.00
- v.2. 2017 (9780316412889).
- v.3. 2018 (9780316521178).
Two teens, Mitsuha and Taki, have a strange connection; they swap bodies in their sleep. As time goes on, they realize that the threads binding them together are far darker than they could have imagined.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!