6 New Graphic Novels YA Readers Will Love

When picture-perfect illustrations combine with a page-turning story, the results are a fictional world you’ll never want to leave. From the story of a college hockey team, to a resistance tale of Atlantis and Xebel, to a sweet drama set at a family-owned bakery, your reading list just got a whole lot artsier.
Released at the end of 2018, Check, Please! has already become one of my all-time favorite graphic novels. It follows Bitty through his first two years of college as he bakes, makes videos, and plays hockey—and, of course, talks about his moody (and very attractive) captain, Jack. Once you read it, you’ll be craving the second volume. But until that comes out, you can read another story about boys falling in love and baking in our next entry…

Bloom, by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

A sweet graphic novel in more ways than one, Bloom follows Ari, who wants to move to the city with his band, but who’s being kept at home by his job at the family bakery. Along comes Hector, interviewing to be Ari’s replacement, and who loves baking as much as Ari resents it. First love and mistakes follow, and the result is an utterly charming graphic novel you’ll want to make all of your friends read.

Mera: Tidebreaker, by Danielle Paige, illustrated by Stephen Byrne

If you were super obsessed with last year’s Aquaman movie, you’re in for a treat. Danielle Paige—best known for deconstructing The Wizard of Oz in her great Dorothy Must Die series—reinvents Mera’s story with the help of great illustrations by Stephen Byrne. Mera is heir to the throne of Xebel, sent to the shore to kill Arthur Curry, unknowing heir to the throne of Atlantis. Then love enters the picture, complicating everything.
A great, informative graphic novel perfect for those looking for a glimpse into queer and trans identities through comics, worksheets, interviews, and more. Covering topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, dysphoria, and navigating relationships, it’s a great stepping stone for those looking to learn. If you picked up last year’s A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, you’re already familiar with this extremely accessible and, well, quick guide format.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dean was Freddy’s dream girl, but now that they’ve been together for a while…on and off…it’s clear she’s not the greatest girlfriend. After their latest breakup, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, brings her to a mysterious medium who tells her to end things forever with Laura Dean. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and Freddy finds it hard to resist her. An exploration of toxic relationships and how sometimes it’s hard to see past them.

Grimoire Noir, by Vera Greentea, illustrated by Yana Bogatch

One of my favorite cross-genres is the fantasy/mystery hybrid (as seen in William Ritter’s Jackaby), and I’m super excited about this upcoming hybrid in graphic novel form. In Blackwell, every girl is a witch, and one of the most extraordinary is Bucky’s sister. But after she gets kidnapped for her power, Bucky has to launch his own investigation into her disappearance. And along the way, he’ll learn a whole lot about his town and the conspiracy that haunts it.
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