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Great Graphic Novels for Teens (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, March 28 Edition

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg
Limerence Press / Oni Press
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
ISBN: 9781620105863

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities is an educational guide that delves into the topic of gender and sexual identity and discusses evolving LGBTQ+ language. It encompasses a spectrum of identities and examines topics like gender expression, gender dysphoria, asexuality, coming out, and the basics of a healthy relationship.

This informative guide is written in a thoughtful, engaging way, using open-minded and positive language that welcomes all readers. Characters in the book are illustrated in a bright, cartoony style that will help draw in teens that may normally find nonfiction intimidating. The short, fictional vignettes that close each chapter are helpful in reiterating the lessons, and the activities at the end allow the reader to reflect on and celebrate their own personal stories.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities is similar to other educational LGBTQ+ comics like A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (also published by Limerence Press) and The Bride Was a Boy by Chii, but displays a more colorful, effervescent art style that will appeal to younger teens.

—Crystal Chen

 

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw
First Second
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
ISBN: 978-1596437098

The first seven kisses Amanda has experienced were less than exceptional. Though she is told she just has to wait to find the right boy, Amanda continues to search along with her two best friends from her conservative Catholic school: brash, wild, and boy-crazy best friend, Cat and shy, timid, rule-follower, Laura. Her normal life of school during the week, church and minor league baseball games on Sundays starts to shift when she realizes her father and ultimate best friend is keeping a huge secret from her. As she uncovers more about her father’s past and information he kept from her, she comes to rely on her school friends for support. She realizes it may not be a boy she want to kiss, but Cat. Which leads to her eighth kiss—the one that changes everything.

Kiss Number 8 deftly weaves the story of a teen girl’s individual struggles and gradual awareness of her sexual identity with a larger narrative of the LGBTQ community’s fight for acceptance the past several decades. Amanda’s shifting relationships with her parents, her friends, and the acquaintances that transform into true friends, is portrayed with painful realism. Crenshaw’s black and white artwork expertly captures the characters’ joy and anguish throughout the story, depicting the truth of Amanda’s family history. The juxtaposition of various sequences that tell the family’s false history through text, while the reality is shown in the illustrations profoundly captures the impact of the family’s inability to accept their loved ones’ true identity. LGBTQ+ teens, their friends and allies will identify and empathize with Amanda’s journey. Hand to readers who enjoyed Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Bloom by Kevin Panetta.

—Lindsey Helfrich

 

Batman, Volume 7: The Wedding written by Tom King and illustrated by Mikel Janin, Tony S. Daniel, et al.
DC Comics
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
ISBN:  978-1401283384

Well, they’re going to do it…Batman and Catwoman are finally going to get married and live happily ever after. Or are they? From Booster Gold time-traveling to get Bruce the ultimate wedding gift (and massively underestimating the ramifications of changing the past) to the Joker doing his best to keep Batman his one and only, it will be a miracle if Bruce and Selina really make it to the altar.  And, with the both of them thinking long and hard about this commitment, someone might be left at the altar or they might become part of the most super married couple in this Earth and beyond.

Batman, Volume 7 is full of great stories as well as unbelievable artwork. It’s more than just a regular Batman installment; this book is full of loving and beautiful illustrated tributes to DC’s favorite star-crossed couple. While the story tackles some big topics like how changing the past isn’t all it’s cracked up to be to wondering how to remain unique in a committed relationship, there are also fun retrospectives with the Joker and plenty of quality time with Bats and his Bat-Fam. The most extraordinary part of this book is the illustrated vignettes from authors like Greg Capullo, Joelle Jones, Tim Sale, Paul Pope, Frank Miller and more. They each contributed individual pages dedicated to Bats and Cats and their love and rivalry has played out over many decades.

This volume of Tom King’s Batman is a loving homage to this fantastic superhero couple and is perfect for both new and seasoned readers alike. Grab your tissues; there are always tears at weddings!

—Traci Glass

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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