From superheroes to serious life issues to seriously hilarious, these eclectic titles are one Teen Services Librarian's go-to graphic novel recommendations.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, 2006
The interwoven stories of Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood where he’s one of just a few Chinese-American students; the Monkey King, from one of the oldest and well known Chinese fables; and Danny, a white teenager, and his Chinese cousin, Chin-kee, the embodiment of the racist Chinese stereotype. A wonderful exploration of identity and self-acceptance that’s universally relatable. This book won all the awards for a reason.
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol, 2011
Anya is a Russian girl who just wants to fit in with her American classmates and make some new friends. Just maybe not a new friend who's been dead for a century that Anya meets after falling down a well. But as Emily begins helping Anya get all things she’s ever wanted, Anya realizes that Emily has been concealing a very dangerous and seriously creepy truth about herself.
Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Gifted by Joss Whedon, 2004
In this first volume in a fabulous Whedon-led four volume arc (the series has been continued by other awesome authors), Cyclops and Emma Frost re-form the X-Men in hopes of "astonishing" the world with their heroic deeds. Whedon won major brownie points from this librarian with the return of Kitty Pryde and traditional costumes.
Blankets by Craig Thompson, 2004
A wonderful coming-of-age, autobiographical story about some of the most common issues we all deal with: first loves, family issues, fitting in, religion, and the difficulty in finding your place in the world.
Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, 2012
Maggie is about to start her first day of school… in the ninth grade. After being homeschooled for her whole life, she is now faced with questions like: where do I sit at lunch? Which bathrooms do I avoid? How do I make friends with someone who’s not related to me? Why does this ghost keep following me around? Legit questions, right?
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen, 2007
The Tolkien-esque adventure of three mice border guards whose search for a missing merchant reveals much more than they expect, as they stumble across a traitor in the Guard's own ranks. I’m normally not a fan of anthropomorphic stories (especially ones with mice), but this is one of the exceptions.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen, 2013
When the school budget only allows for either new cheerleading uniforms or funding for a robotics competition, the friendship between Charlie (captain of the basketball team) and Nate (president of the robotics club) is put to the test as Nate declares war on Charlie’s cheerleader ex. A hilarious debut.
The Professor's Daughter by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert, 2007
The short, charming tale of an Egyptologist’s daughter’s afternoon out with a mummified Imhotep IV in Victorian England. One of the cutest stories I’ve ever read!
Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride & Joy by Brian K. Vaughan, 2003
When six teens learn that their parents are all super villains, they run away (get it?), discover their own powers, and work to stop their parents. The series is currently on hiatus and I can’t wait for it to make a comeback!