While there are three graphic novels in the Hereville series, each book does well as a stand-alone. How Mirka Caught a Fish (second in the series) has found a home in the teen loft collection. In this particular tale, our heroine Mirka summons a reluctantly dutiful troll, seeks support from a frighteningly powerful witch, and outsmarts a magical wishing fish with a bad temper. As Mirka follows her curiosity and upholds her duty to her half-sister, we learn about the values and way of life for this religious blended-family. Mirka is an “11-year-old time-traveling Orthodox Jewish babysitter,” with a penchant for misadventure. Ultimately the choice she must face is a difficult one, but Mirka has learned from her stepmother that doing the right thing is meaningless if you only do it when it’s easy.
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
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.
Guest: A Changeling Tale by Mary Downing Hahn
What would you do if your baby brother was snatched away and replaced with a nasty changeling? And what if it was your fault? That’s the trouble young Mollie Coverall is facing. She may never see her adorable baby brother again, her family is falling apart and the worst part is that her mother is forced to care for the sickly, mean-spirited Kinde Folk child who they call Guest. Summoning her courage, Mollie decides that it’s her job to take Guest back to the changelings and beg for her brother’s return. But there are many dangers on the road to the dark lands – who is a young girl to trust? Mary Downing Hahn weaves another exciting, magical tale with many unexpected twists that will enthrall readers of all ages. Recommended for readers 4th grade and up.
The Night Garden by Polly Horvath (2017)
Franny, 12, and her parents, Sina and Old Tom, live a peaceful life on a farm on Vancouver Island during WW2. Their troubles revolve around the creative process (Sina is a sculptor and Franny writes.) and the seasonal work of the farm — until Crying Alice, their neighbor, arrives with an unusual request. She wants Franny, Sina and Old Tom to watch over her 3 kids while she tries to prevent her husband, an air force base mechanic, from doing something stupid. Supernatural events, crazy mysteries and very bad cooking ensue! Polly Horvath writes with such quirky warmth, and has such a multiplicity of odd mostly well meaning characters, that you won’t want to leave the world of the novel. Recommended for readers 9 – 12 as well as anyone who loves a good story. The beauty of the book lies in the willingness of some to sacrifice their greatest gifts for others to be able to hold onto family.
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
First in a series about Peter Grant, a mixed-race London constable who seems doomed to a life of low-stakes departmental paperwork…until he interviews a murder witness who just happens to be a ghost. Before he knows it, he finds himself apprenticed to Scotland Yard’s resident wizard, learning magic, and mediating disputes between the city’s gods. Think Harry Potter, but multiply the wit and grit by a factor of 10.
In addition to the novels in the series, check out the graphic novels based on the characters, starting with Rivers of London: Body Work.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
A delightful concept, wonderfully executed. Kell is a magician, one of the last with the power to jump between different versions of London, one of which exists in each different world. The three Londons we see (and the one we don’t) are all beautifully brought to life, as are the characters who inhabit them. Plus, plenty of fast-paced action, magical duels, aspiring pirates, thievery, and mayhem! This is the first book in a series, but has its own satisfying ending. Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook!