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#GGN Nominees Round Up, May 17 Edition

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Illustrated by Jenn St. Onge and Joy San
Image Comics
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
ISBN: 978-1534307506

In 1963, teenager Hazel met new girl in town, Mari, while playing bingo with her grandmother. The next day at school, the two sit with each other and quickly become the best of friends. When they finally admit their feelings for each other, they are torn apart by families and a society that is not accepting. Almost 50 years later, after marriages, children and even grandchildren, Hazel and Mari reconnect at another bingo night and realize that those feelings have never gone away. Although the times have changed, are they willing to tear their families apart in order to finally be together and happy?

It’s not often that we find great stories, much less comics, with strong, beautiful and queer women of color. It’s a love story, but also a reflection of changing attitudes towards sexual identity and family structures and the strength and courage it takes to do what makes you happy. Besides a great, unique story, the artwork is colorful, bold and shows a diverse cast of characters.

There isn’t much out there similar to Bingo Love, but give to fans of women empowering graphic novels with similar artwork, like Lumberjanes or other graphic novels with great LGBT characters like Backstagers, Giant Days, Goldie Vance and My Brother’s Husband.

–Loren Spector

          

The Promised Neverland, vols. 2-4 by Saiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
VIZ Media
Publication Dates & ISBNs:
Vol. 2 – February 6, 2018 – 978-1421597133
Vol. 3 – March 3, 2018 – 978-1421597140
Vol. 4 – June 5, 2018 – 978-1421597157

In the first volume of this manga series, eldest orphans Ray, Norman and Emma learned the truth about their idyllic children’s home: they are being raised as food for monsters, and the more exceptional the child the tastier the meal. Now that they know their real purpose, volumes 2-4 follow this trio who are determined to save all the children of Grace Field House. As they begin to recruit others into their escape plan, including the foolish Sister Krone, new truths and betrayals are revealed including a spy, a code, and a map. As the children inch closer to freedom, the depths of Mother’s duplicity are revealed. She will cajole, capture, and even worse. If they want to survive, it’s up to Ray, Norman, and Emma to stay three steps ahead.

This sophisticated manga blends genres of mystery, sci-fi, horror, and dystopia. In volumes 2-4, Shirai leads readers further into this monstrous world by crafting a complex web for both protagonists and readers alike. The careful pacing, strong world building, and distinct characters create a compelling story that is hard to look away from. Filled with allusions, tension, and suspense, readers are taken through an emotional roller coaster with unnerving results. The creep factor is high.

This unique and heart pounding mystery is a perfect fit for fans of Sherlock, Tokyo Ghoul, and The Maze Runner. Put this in the hands of experienced manga readers looking for an atypical story or rabid puzzle fanatics with a taste for the macabre.

–Silence Bourn & Kate Covintree

 

America, vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera, Illustrated by Joe Quinones and Ramon Villalobos
Marvel Comics
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-1302908812

America Chavez is a multiverse-travelling paramedic who can save everybody but herself. America balances studying at Sotomayor University with the dramatic relationships around her: there’s her ex-girlfriend, Lisa, a superfan who is a little too close, a best friend in Hawkeye whom she doesn’t see often enough, not to mention the conditions of her moms’ mysterious disappearance when she was a child.

The celebrations of queer culture and communities of color inside of a Marvel volume make this volume a hit, though experienced Marvel readers will probably enjoy the story and its spread of characters more than Marvel first-timers. There’s a Bayard Rustin High School, named after an openly gay civil rights leader, and Sotomayor University has a hologram of Sonia Sotomayor (why not?) as well as “The Department of Radical Women and Intergalactic Indigenous Peoples.”

Writer Gabby Rivera is also the author of the acclaimed YA novel Juliet Takes a Breath. Give this volume to readers interested in inclusive representations of superheroes as well as readers drawn to punchy, relationship-driven series like Ms. Marvel.

–Amy Estersohn

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.