#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, July 26 Edition

Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon and Matthew Seely
Oni Press
Published April 24, 2018
ISBN 978-1620104811

Four teens are set to spend their summer at a weight-loss camp deep in the woods of Oregon. Camp newcomer, Jesse, quickly bonds with Noah, Tony and Kate after Jesse and Noah witness a murder while sneaking some time away from the camp. A blurry photo reveals the murderer to be someone on the camp’s staff, and the four teens follow clues that lead them to discover many hidden secrets about Camp Bloom’s staff and campers…and even themselves.

Though the narrative of this humorous graphic novel focuses on the murder-mystery aspect, at its heart it’s a story about friendship. The characters are diverse and believable, and their personal struggles will resonate with teen readers. The vivid and engaging art works well with the fast-paced narrative, which quickly draws in the reader. Because of the exaggerated cartoony and colorful artwork and the easy-to-follow formatting to the panels, this title would be an excellent choice for the novice graphic novel reader or the middle-grade reader transitioning to YA.

Fans of quirky and hilarious YA mysteries, such as Stephanie Tromly’s Trouble Is a Friend of Mine, are sure to love this graphic novel. Pair this title alongside Brogsol’s newest, Be Prepared, which also focuses on the summer camp experience.

—Wendy Knight


Persephone by Loic Locatelli-Kournwskcy
Publication Date: May, 22, 2018
ISBN: 978-1684151752

Persephone knows she’ll never be able to follow in her mother’s powerful footsteps. She’s so ordinary for example, her best school subject is botany. She yearns to know more about how she became the adopted daughter of the powerful witch Demeter. When Persephone is taken through the gates of Hades, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the past conflict between her world and the underworld, and realizes she’s in the middle of someone else’s quest to seize ultimate power.

Persephone is an intriguing, high fantasy retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and the Goddess Demeter. The story focuses on the special bond between mother and daughter, especially given that Demeter adopted Persephone when she was a baby. While Persephone is shown as struggling with her identity and what she’d like to accomplish with her life, she shares her passion with others and does not back down when faced with adversity. The simple lines and fluidity of the artwork depicts the action of the characters and gives lots of detail to the setting surrounding the characters.

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s works, Amelie Flechais’s The Little Red Wolf, and Japanese anime visuals will be instantly attracted to this volume.

—Amanda Cain


Puerto Rico Strong: A Comics Anthology Supporting Puerto Rico Disaster Relief and Recovery
Edited by Marco Lopez, Desiree Rodriguez, Hazel Newlevant, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz
Lion Forge
Publication Date: March 14, 2018
ISBN: 978-1941302903

This anthology features 40 different pieces from dozens of contributors about Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture. While some of the pieces focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, others take entirely different approaches, either by bringing Puerto Rican folklore to life, placing Puerto Rican superheroes in action, or highlighting other parts of Puerto Rico’s complex history. These authors celebrate, innovate, and complicate Puerto Rico and its relationship to the U.S. through a variety of artistic styles.

Within this variety in story and storytelling style, several common themes across stories emerge: one of those themes is the multilayered identity of Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans living in the mainland United States. For Adam Lance Garcia, “Puerto Rico is a story my father told me. A story I still want to believe.” For Tito Serrano, explaining his Americanness “is still a common, almost daily occurrence.”

Some entries also explore the impact of colonial rule on the island, first from the Spanish and then from the United States, and the ways in which Puerto Rican bodies were used for America’s interests through forced sterilization programs for women or ordering men to go on two or three tours to Vietnam.

Pair this volume with the realism of Drowned City by Don Brown.

—Amy Estersohn

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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