Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Lumberjanes, vol. 10: Parents Day by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, and Ayme Sotuyo
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
It’s Parent’s Day at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, and the Lumberjanes are ready to tell their parents all about their camp adventures—but maybe leave out the supernatural stuff, just in case. Camp leader, Rosie, has a supernatural creature-free scavenger hunt planned for their campers and their families. However, a local trickster creature has other plans. The Lumberjanes must figure out how to foil the trickster’s plans, keep their families safe, and somehow try not to let their parents figure out the stranger side of camp in the process.
With the trademark Lumberjane, humor, this tenth volume in the series keeps the adventure and spirit of these hardcore lady-types going strong. We finally get to see the families of our beloved Lumberjanes that we’ve only seen glimpses of in the past. The families bring out all of the joy seen in their daughters, however, Molly’s lack of family and the pain of her past bring some seriousness to the story. The love seen in the families embracing of their children, their children’s friends, and especially their embracing of Molly, is beautifully depicted without losing any of the Lumberjane humor or action. New artist to the series, Amye Sotuyo, brings a comic-like feel to the Lumberjanes that suits their rollicking adventures.
Hand to Lumberjanes fans or new readers looking for strong female characters in fun, action-packed stories. Fans of Raina Telegemeier, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, or the Princeless series by Jeremy Whitley will enjoy this new volume of these lovable hardcore lady types.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino, illustrated by Idumi Kirihara
Seven Seas Entertainment, LLC
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
When a nameless, introverted teenage boy accidentally discovers that one of his popular, outgoing classmates, Yamauchi Sakura, is dying, his life is forever changed. No one else but her family knows that her pancreas is failing, because Sakura doesn’t want her friends to treat her differently. The boy isn’t really interested in making friends, but Sakura forces him out of his comfort zone and befriends him. As they start to spend more time together, completing activities that Sakura wants to do before she dies, they grow closer and the boy grows increasingly afraid of Sakura dying.
Don’t let the odd title throw you off. This complete manga series in one volume is a sweet, dramatic romance. It’s a coming-of-age story about two completely opposite teenagers who realize they have a bond. This moving story about death, grief and friendship, will have readers feeling emotional.
Shojo manga readers will love this story and fans of romantic, medical dramas like Fault in Our Stars or Five Feet Apart will also be drawn to it.
Witch Hat Atelier, vols. 1 & 2 by Kamome Shirahama
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019; June 25, 2019
ISBN: 978-1632367709; 978-1632368041
Coco loves magic and can’t imagine a world without its beauty and wonder, but it’s common knowledge that witches are born, not taught. Despite this Coco has longed to be a witch ever since she bought a book of enchantments from a mysterious man when she was a young girl. When the witch Qifrey happens into her mother’s shop one day, Coco uncovers a fundamental secret of magic that, while revelatory, ultimately turns disastrous. Promising to make things right, Coco travels to Qifrey’s workshop where, through training and study, she takes her first steps towards finally realizing her dream. Unfortunately, not everyone in this new world has Coco’s best interests in mind.
Volume two, much like volume one, ends in a cliffhanger, making readers want more. Coco and her three sister apprentices are still trapped in another world; in a land full of circular corridors and a fire breathing dragon. The girls are trying to get back to Kalhn and to the safety of Qifrey. Coco also begins to find talents and interests in magical gadgets. Her training continues while other mysteries are brought to light.
What makes this manga series stand out is Shirahama’s lushly detailed illustrations; they create an atmosphere of ancient magic and adventure, which perfectly suits the story. From the characters’ evocative facial expressions to the intricate designs on everything from the clothing to the spells, her stunning artwork brings Coco’s world to vivid life. Shirahama’s use of paneling, be they rounded boxes or ones where the characters extend beyond the panel, lends an otherworldly quality to the text and lets readers experience just a bit of magic for themselves, and Shirahama’s illustrations are as consistently beautiful across volume two.
Readers that enjoy this series may like the manga series Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi, which contain adventures, and mysteries of the abyss, along with charming and compelling art, as well as Eiko Kadono’s classic KiKi’s Delivery Service and Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch series, both of which should enchant readers looking for magical adventures.
—Audrey Sumser & Erin Durrett