#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, September 13 Edition

Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor, Marina Cantacuzino, and Sophie Standing
Singing Dragon
Publication Date: February 21, 2018
ISBN: 978-1785921247

In this short graphic novel, social physiologist Dr. Masi Noor and The Forgiveness Project Founder, Marina Cantacuzino, explore the concept of forgiveness by summarizing the most recent research and exploring personal stories of forgiveness in extreme situations. The authors present the intricacies of forgiveness in a clear balanced manner, demonstrating the personal and social ramifications of choosing retribution over forgiveness, yet also the harm of forgiving in situations like domestic abuse when forgiveness only gives more power to the perpetrator. The quotations and interviews of individuals who chose forgiveness in extremely challenging situations make the otherwise scientific presentation personal and emotional. The moving stories showcase those such as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, parents who lost children in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and both victims and perpetrators of racial and sectarian violence.

Stading’s illustrations are simple yet illuminating and help showcase key concepts. With a gentle artistic style and color palette, the illustrations present this emotionally challenging topic in a way that is accessible to readers without being overpowering or overwhelming. Readers will be drawn to this graphic novel’s short length, imaginative images, and thoughtful exploration of how forgiveness affects physical and mental health. Recommended for fans of informative nonfiction, and psychology looking for a quick read.

Lindsey Helfrich

Lumberjanes, vol. 8 by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh and Carey Pietsh
Boom! Box
Publication Date: February 21, 2018
ISBN: 978-1684151325

When the Lumberjanes of Roanoke cabin find that their good friend and newest fellow Lumberjane, Barney, has been turned to stone along with the rest of Barney’s Zodiac cabinmates, they know it must have something to do with the return of their former nemesis, the big meanie jerkface and Greek goddess, Diane. But when Diane vows that she would never harm her former cabinmates, the Roanokes enlist her help, and the help of another unlikely ally, to save their friends.

Another wonderfully fun and hilarious Lumberjanes adventure, this volume explores the variety family dynamics and depicts the devastating consequences of families that do not accept their children for who they are. While describing the happy family dynamics of Jo and her two dads, Mal and her single hard-working mom, and Ripley and her many siblings, the less happy dynamics are also explored. Diane’s family of Greek deities, for example, is just awful. And Molly’s strained relationship with her parents is particularly well presented, demonstrating their intolerance for who she is, the friends she keeps, and (though not explicitly stated), her sexual identity. Through the characteristic Lumberjane support and friendship, this volume beautifully shows the importance of created families of friends that love, accept, and support each other no matter what, especially when their given family is incapable or unwilling to offer that support. Pietsch’s bright, vibrant illustrations convey the more serious aspects of the story without taking away from the Lumberjane energy and humor. Hand this volume to Lumberjanes fans or younger teens that enjoy highly entertaining stories of friendship and family, such as Real Friends by Shannon Hale.

Lindsey Helfrich

Motor Crush, vol. 2 by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr
Image Comics
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
ISBN: 978-1534305519

After drinking four viles of the mysterious motorcycle accelerant, Crush, that has somehow been keeping her alive, Domino Swift finds that she has somehow traveled two years into the future in an instant. When she returns home, the races have been shut down, the love of her life, Lola, has a new love, and she finds that Lola and her angry, grief-stricken father have been working for the mob bosses, the Producers, to pay off the debt of Domino’s lost bet. When the mysterious racer that has answers to her past shows up again, she has the chance to find out the truth about who she is. But with Domino back in Nova Honda, the people she loves are in even more danger from the people she owes. Will finding out the truth be worth it if it means risking the lives of everyone she loves?

Fletcher delves deeper into the mysteries Domino’s past and the many anguishing sacrifices her father has made to keep her alive. Seeing her father succumb to rage at thinking he lost her, and watching Lola on the verge of happiness with someone new, it is now Domino’s turn to make sacrifices for those she loves. Fletcher explores the almost impossible choices the characters are forced to make, the bad decisions that grief and loss can drive a person to, and the strength it takes to survive in vicious circumstances with all the odds stacked against them. Domino and her loved ones continue to fight for each other, even when it seems like no hope is left.

Stewart and Tar’s illustrations magnificently depict the familiar yet unique future world of this story. The use of line make the reader almost feel the motion of the motorcycles racing down the speedway, while the bright neon colors and scenes accented with Ben-Day dots and promotional links give the illustrations a digital-age pop art feel that is both recognizable and futuristic. Teens will love the action and suspense of Domino’s story and will eagerly anticipate finding out the answers to the cliffhanger ending. Hand this older teens who enjoy action-packed sci-fi graphic novels with queer, diverse characters such as Kim and Kim by Magdelene Vissagio.

Lindsey Helfrich

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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