Librarians Love: Non-Graphic Novel Readalikes for Manga/Anime

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask for help finding books around a certain theme or readalikes for a particular title. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

by flickr user camknows
by flickr user camknows

The original request
This one has me at a loss — we have a teenage boy who loves manga and anime, but isn’t allowed to read graphic novels (don’t even get me started.) I’m looking for regular book readalikes that might appeal to him. Help?!

When someone else asked what kinds of anime and manga the patron liked, the original poster responded:

I got the information second-hand, so I’m not sure — he wanted to check out our D.Gray-man, Fullmetal Alchemist, etc. but wasn’t allowed.

General suggestions


  • Books by Cory Doctorow (e.g., Little Brother, For the Win, Pirate Cinema)
  • Books by Alexander Gordon Smith


  • The Blood Ninja series by Nick Lake
  • The Moribito series by Nahoko Uehashi and Yuko Shimizu
  • The Malice series by Chris Wooding

Individual titles

  • Half World by Hiromi Gato
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones
  • Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi
  • The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski and translator David French

Have more titles you think should belong on this list? Add them on the YALSA wiki or leave a comment! Looking for more compiled booklists? Check out the YALSA wiki or other booklists here at The Hub.

— Gretchen Kolderup, currently reading Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

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