Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2020) Nominees Round Up, April 4 Edition

Lucy Dreaming by Max Bemis
BOOM! Studios/Boom Entertainment Inc
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
ISBN: 978-1684153015

Thirteen-year-old Lucy has an otherworldly dream that feels real. She later learns that her parents worked on multiverse science when she was in the womb, genetically passing on the ability to travel to other timelines while she sleeps. Lucy’s best friend turned make-out partner, Welsey, has the same ability, gained in the same manner, but uses it to a different end. Lucy faces a threat in the dream world that she needs to fight in order to save the lives of people she loves in the waking world.

The jokes in Lucy Dreaming will bring hearty laughs to teen readers. The writer and artist have creatively censored expletives with synonyms written on sticky notes and placed them atop the word bubbles (what could ‘sacred intercourse’ be?) which feels like a very PG Deadpool thing to do but it definitely works. The art is appealing and the illustrator uses an eye catching color palette. The feminist meter rings high with this one.

Engaging and witty throughout, this book would be perfect for fans of Andrew Smith, the Deadpool movies, and Hulu’s The Runaways.

—Christine Pyles


Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Jenn St. Onge
Dynamite Entertainment
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
ISBN: 978-1524108496

In this modern, graphic novel version of Nancy Drew, she’s now a 17 year old super sleuth. When Nancy receives a mysterious letter bringing up her mother’s death she travels back to her hometown to investigate. Once there she immediately recruits all of her old friends, including the Hardy Boys, to help her solve the mystery. The initial investigation turns into a double homicide when Nancy discovers yet another dead body. Solving this mystery will bring Nancy and her friends into the underbelly of their hometown, where murder and drugs are rampant, but of course they’ll do whatever it takes to catch the bad guy.

Thompson has successfully created a super fun and charming version of Nancy Drew. Nancy is a cool, confident young woman and her friends are a diverse group of talented teens. The friendships and romances are relatable to teens everywhere, especially Nancy’s friends’ frustration and concern for her when she is constantly forgetting her phone at the most important moments. Plus, although the mystery of this volume is solved by the end, the next one starts in the last panel leaving readers anxious for the sequel.

Teens who read Nancy Drew books when they were younger, will love this reimagining of the series. Fans of Misfit City and Lumberjanes will appreciate the diverse cast and their penchant for hijinks and solving mysteries.

—Loren Spector


Operatic by Kylo Maclear, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler
Groundwood Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
ISBN: 978-1554989720

There are two months left of middle school, and the final assignment for Mr. K’s music class is “Soundtrack of My Life.” Charlie Noguchi is struggling to choose a song that fits her life right now; she’s distracted by her attraction to her classmate Emile and concerned over Luka, who hasn’t been in school for two weeks since being bullied. Then in his opera lesson, Mr. K. plays “Una Voce Poco Fa” sung by Maria Callas, and Charlie feels lifted up. Is there something for her to learn from opera and from this diva in particular?

Eggenschwiler’s art is in pencil, detailed and realistic. The bulk of the story is colored black, white, and a mustard yellow, but both Luka (blue) and Maria Callas (red) get their own color that pops into Charlie’s story as well as breaks off in their own sections. The visual style compliments the story really well and gives the whole book an emotional and contemplative feel.

Fans of middle school comics that explore themes of friendship, crushes, and discovering your passions—like those by Victoria Jamieson, Raina Telgemeier, Hope Larson, and Jillian Tamaki—will find a lot to love in this beautiful and thoughtful novel.

—Becky Standal


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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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