#QP2018 Nominees Round Up: Graphic Novel Edition

These graphic Quick Picks nominees are sure to draw in readers.

Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli by James Parks
Illustrated by Ben Costa
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
ISBN: 9780399556135

In this graphic novel readers join the overly chatty skeleton bard, Rickety Stitch, and his best friend, a gelatinous Goo (a la Dungeons and Dragons). Freshly fired from their jobs as low-level dungeon goons, the two friends end up making their way through a zany fantasy world. The story cuts between the bright, mostly goofy world of our heroes as they encounter other eccentric characters, and darker almost sinister visions from Rickety Stitch’s dreams. Rickety is an endearing comedic protagonist. Simultaneously easy going, charming, and so naive you can’t help but roll your eyes. So much so that a literal sound effect is written as “eye-roll” when a character reacts to one of Rickety’s quips. The eye-catching illustrations paired with a comedic adventure plot make for a fun first installment in a series that hints at a deeper story line.

The story hooks readers right away with screwball characters and fun twists on a fantasy world. A typical video game dungeon that feels like an office from a sitcom, and a gnome that offers Rickety commemorative spoons celebrating the eighty-seventh annual Kraken Bisque Eating Contest is par for the course in this graphic novel. The mix of adventure and comedy tones with hints at a deeper darker story line will please fans of the Bone series. The colorful, vibrant, and occasionally haunting illustrations will appeal to Amulet fans. Recommended for both teens who just want a funny goofy story, and teens who like fantasy comics with the promise of a bigger darker story line.

—Jessica Ormonde


Superman Science the Real World Science Behind Superman’s Powers by Agnieszka Biskup and Tammy Enz
Capstone Young Readers
Publication Date: March 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781623707026

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! NO, it’s SCIENCE!!!

Superman keeps the world safe with super strength, lightning speed, laser vision, and the ability to fly. Now readers can learn about science behind strength, speed, sight, and flight.

Superman Science explores how real life science and engineering relates to Superman’s powers and the surprising real-world connections.

Lots of graphics combine information in a fun visual layout on each page.

Many of the concepts could be difficult to comprehend, but in this format are accessible and easy to read.

Readers will find this a fun title to read over and over for both historical information, practical application of scientific knowledge and important advances for the world.

—Kay Hones


Champion: the Graphic Novel by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
ISBN: 9780451534347

Readers will be drawn into the world of the Republic in this vivid graphic book based on the final book of the Legend trilogy.

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the Republic — and each other — and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June works within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect and Day has been assigned a high-level military position. A peace treaty is planned but then a plague causes panic. The new plague is deadlier than ever before. Suddenly a war threatens the border cities.

The cover offers a glimpse of the two main characters, who face different directions, just as they must make difficult decisions throughout the story.

—Kay Hones


Garbage Night by Jen Lee
Nobrow Press
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
ISBN: 9781910620212

Anthropomorphic dog Simon and his two best friends, a raccoon, and deer live in a suburb mysteriously abandoned by humans. The friends’ group dynamic is disrupted by the appearance of a newcomer named Barnaby. The group sets off in search of food and a city where humans are still rumored to live. Their explorations prove more dangerous than any of them could have anticipated, and friendships are tested. The graphic novel features appealing illustrations that balance a cartoonish style with a hipster cool aesthetic. The story is light on text and is assisted by the images which add depth and atmosphere to the story.

Teens will relate to the friendship issues with Simon and his group . The odd world, with the absence of humans and unexplained anthropomorphized animals, is an effective hook. The appealing cute/cool illustrations paired with an engaging theme of friendship enduring in the face of peer pressure will appeal to readers.

Recommended for grades 6-9. Great for fans of dramat/fantasy mashups like Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, and fans of quirky graphic novels with heart like Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

—Jessica Ormonde


everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun
Harper Perennial
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
ISBN: 9780062569028

In this quirkily titled book, Jomny, a lonely alien, finally finds a place he belongs when he lands on Earth. He makes friends with all manner of creatures, who teach him about deep abstract concepts like  life, art, and nothing. Full of simple black and white illustrations with sparse text. Jomny and his friends are all super cute and fun to look at. The adorably innocent Jomny is endearing and relatable in his confusion and delight at learning about life on earth. His thoughtful conversations with earth creatures strike a profound and positive tone.

The minimal text and cute illustrations make this an easy read. And the weighty themes of what makes one human, and what it means to be alive, make it meaningful. Jomny’s status as a well known Twitter account adds to it’s appeal.

Recommended for fans of short quirky comics and books based on internet memes. Perfect for fans of Sarah’s Scribbles by Sarah Andersen and Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

Jessica Ormonde

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.