Do you love graphic novels with authentic female leads and true stories of teens finding their ways? “Almost American Girl” by Robin Ha is a must read! Chronicling the author’s move from South Korea to the US in the 90’s, a teenager forced by her mother to adapt to an entirely new world. Entering the US as a non native speaker in the rural south, her struggles are daily and similar to the average teen–trouble fitting in and wearing the right clothes–to other much deeper and more unique struggles of someone trying to make their way in a new country. In a twist that resonates with many teens, Robin at last finds her niche drawing comics, and through this discovery also connects with her true self and community.
“God exists and he’s American”. Actually, to be more specific, he’s from New York. The Watchmen are a group of semi-retired vigilantes. Within the group exists Dr. Manhattan, a physicist who disintegrated himself in a freak accident, somehow puts himself back together and as a result gains countless abilities. The US government then decides to leverages Dr. Manhattan’s newly-acquired powers in their conflicts with other countries. But then, all of a sudden, Dr. Manhattan disappears. When America’s adversaries learn of his disappearance, they see an opening and decide to attack the US. The world finds itself on the brink of a nuclear war. Meanwhile, a morally questionable “masked adventurer” named Rorschach, who is wanted by the police and also a member of the Watchmen, searches for the person who murdered a comrade of his. Rorschach notices that lately many of his old Watchmen allies are being targeted and are coming up missing or dead and believes there is a correlation between this and the disappearance of Dr. Manhattan. It all poses the question “Who watches the Watchmen?”
The backstories of the various characters are as diverse as they are fascinating. Each Watchman has a unique motive for putting on a costume every night to fight crime: some do it for fame, some for fun, others hope to bring about justice, and still others do it for morally dubious reasons. The depth of these characters show the reader than no one is simply good or bad, but is instead morally complex. The novel definitely has its dark parts, and the reader will find themselves second-guessing the possibility of human decency, but it is a rewarding read and definite classic.
The Okay Witch is a page-turner of a graphic novel about an unlikely witch just discovering the truth about her new powers and her family’s centuries-old history as outcasts in a small Massachusetts town. 13-year-old Moth is a relatable heroine with quirks, insecurities, and a wicked sense of humor. The crisp vibrant illustrations perfectly capture Moth’s larger-than-life emotions and the kinetics of her journey. From the bright colors of Moth’s cozy home, to the drab earth tones of 1600’s New England, to the cool pastels of ethereal Hecate (the mystical realm of witches), the changing color pallets beautifully express changes in mood and energy from scene to scene and across various settings.
I especially love how the panels are composed to convey spot-on comedic timing in some scenes, and a hushed sense of wonder in other scenes. Despite all the supernatural content, this story portrays some very realistic mother-daughter relationship challenges. Anyone who has ever felt dismissed, underestimated, or disallowed from seeking adventure will surely find a friend in Moth.
Quince is a hilarious and heartwarming collection of comics featuring reluctant and short term superhero Lupe. Lupe is just a few days away from her Quinceañera and she has no idea what’s in store for her once the day arrives. When she wakes up that morning something is different, she has super powers. Lupe’s aubela helps her hone her powers and let’s her in a secret that she to ended up with super powers on her Quince. Lupe’s aubela explains that the super powers will last for one year and with these new powers Lupe always needs to help save the day. It takes Lupe awhile to get used to her powers, but soon she has a dope costume and is saving her crush from certain death. The catch is that in the costume no one know it’s Lupe always saving the day, not even her family or friends. Lupe wants to tell them, but isn’t sure what the fallout will be. If you’re looking for a fun and action packed read download this collection from Hoopla today!
The women in Brazen are unconventional, brave, and determined. Readers are introduced to a diverse array of interesting and feisty characters. The tales in the book span both the globe and history. The women in the stories are from all backgrounds and fields. A common thread is that the women defy social norms, follow their dreams, and express their indomitable selves. Brazen tells the heroes tales through captivating drawings and playful writing. Learn about someone new and be inspired through these tales!
Something’s amiss in Nova’s town. Her neighbors seem a little off and she’s spotted a white wolf lurking in the woods. Turns out the wolf is her childhood friend, Tam. Tam just happens to be a werewolf and it turns they have come back to down to get to the bottom dark magical happenings. Tam and Nova decide to get to the bottom of whatever is going on together and enlist the help of Nova’s grandmas and their bookstore full of magical resources. Mooncakes is a graphic mix of realistic fiction and fantasy. If you’re looking for a creepy yet heartwarming LGBTQAI+ read then this is a great place to start.
Nathan W. Pyle began “Strange Planet” as an Instagram comic and it soon became an Internet sensation! Now his posts have been collected in this charming little book that celebrates simplicity and absurdity in our everyday life – as observed by adorable alien creatures in familiar scenarios. Everything from throwing surprise parties to ordering takeout to getting tattoos is covered! You’re sure to get a chuckle from this odd and delightful comic.
Going to middle school is a time of transition for many kids. For Imogene it’s going to be a huge change. She’s going from being homeschooled to attending a public middle school. She doesn’t know anyone. On top of that she’s not sure how the other students will treat her if they know her family works a the local renaissance fair half the year. All’s Faire in Middle School details Imogene’s transition, which starts off smooth, but hits some really rough spots as Imogene attempts to fit in. This graphic novel is a great school, friendship and family story.
Denise and her parents have returned to their home town in Louisiana after being relocated to the Houston area after hurricane Katrina. Her parents decided it would be a great idea to purchase an old house and fix it up to be a bed and breakfast. The house is known as the Argonne House, but the second Denise steps inside she knows that Agony House is a much better name. The house just feels off. There are odd smells, strange noises and foot prints that appear on the dirty floors out of nowhere. Denise starts to dig into the past surrounding her new pad and is freaked to find out that someone may have been murdered there! Things get even more bizarre when Denise and her new neighbor discover an unfinished comic in the attic and the creepy events in the comic start to connect with crazy occurrences in the house. Agony House is half novel and half graphic novel. It’s a ghoulishly good read.
A heartfelt new memoir from Jarrett Krosoczka, of Lunch Lady fame, this book is about growing up without parents because of their drug abuse and being raised instead by grandparents. Jarrett Krosoczka traces his life from his birth to his high school graduation, not sparing the reader the hard realities of living first with a drug addict and then with grandparents. However, his grandfather sends him one summer to art school and of course it makes all the difference. Hey, Kiddo, is certainly the best graphic novel I read this year — Printz award material! Don’t miss this one.