Did you hear the news? This One Summer just became the first graphic novel ever to win the Caldecott Medal, and the second to win the Printz. If you haven’t read Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s masterpiece yet, do it now–the breathtaking art and brilliant coming-of-age story will blow you away. And once you’ve done that, shuffle your book queue to make room for these other amazing YA—or YA-friendly—graphic novels. And you might want to grab some coffee and a pillow while you’re at it, because you’re not going to be getting up for a while.
In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Anda may be shy and withdrawn in real life, but when she plays Coarsegold Online, she’s free to be brave and outgoing. But when her successes in the MMRPG world make Anda a little overconfident about solving problems in the real world, she’s forced to learn things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem–especially when it comes to being a hero. Great story + art we want to crawl into = one lovable graphic novel.
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Meet Katie, a fairly ordinary girl whose life seems to be headed in a downward spiral. When a mysterious spirit gives her a way to change the past, Katie can’t help but try to fix all of her mistakes. But perfection is difficult to achieve, even with time-altering substances, and Bryan Lee O’Malley (you may remember him from Scott Pilgrim) takes you from laugh-out-loud do-overs to serious consequences in—wait for it—Seconds.
Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll
If you’re more of a thrills-and-suspense style reader, the world of graphic novels won’t disappoint. In this collection of fairy tales retold, Emily Carroll takes you through five of your favorites, but with a pitch-dark twist. Her minimalist approach to words is anxiety-crafting genius, but be warned: cliffhangers galore.
Friends with Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks
Maggie was a homeschooler, but now that she’s a freshman in high school, she’ll be entering the giant social torture chamber of public school for the first time ever. And *gasp* she’ll have to make friends. Real friends, too, not just her brothers. While she’s busy figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, the universe has bigger issues for her to deal with: namely, how does she get this ghost to stop following her around?
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
Anya is struggling through high school when she falls into a well and makes a new best friend…who happens to be a ghost. Yes, the ghost theme is popular here, but just trust us and read this one. Brosgol’s art is stunning and dynamic, and we promise you’ll be looking for your own well to fall into after page 12.
Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
The best thing about this one is you can start reading it right away, online. And if the art seems familiar, that’s probably because you recognize Noelle Stevenson’s style from Fangirl‘s cover art. Nimona will mostly make you laugh a bunch, but somewhere in the middle you’ll start wondering about what really makes us good or bad—and also probably wishing you could shape-shift into a cat at will.
Do you have any graphic novel favorites?