Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Other Boys by Damian Alexander

Other Boys by Damien Alexander
First Second
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
ISBN: 9781250222824

Damien is a gay seventh grader at a new school accustomed to being bullied for not being like “other boys.” His home life is less than ideal, and he has always experienced bullying from family and classmates because of the things he enjoys that are considered “girly,” like dolls. He also prefers the company of girls, which makes other boys target him for bullying even more so. Things only become more confusing for Damian when he begins having crushes on boys, even though they’re almost all mean to him.

Damien Alexander’s graphic memoir is intensely emotive, tender, and sincere. Other Boys handles extreme topics such as bullying, grief, parental death, and growing up in a low-income household gently and is accessible for middle grade audiences.

As a queer person assigned male at birth, Other Boys is one of the most relatable books I’ve ever read. Damien’s story will resonate with teens who feel like they don’t fit in the boxes assigned to them, teens experiencing grief, and young teens questioning their attraction to others. Younger fans of the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, other queer graphic memoirs like How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess, or older fans of middle grade novels like Melissa by Alex Gino or Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake will love Other Boys.

—Dakota Hall

Other Nominated Titles:

  • Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys, Andrew Weiner and Brittney Williams (March 1, 2022)
  • Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth Lapensée and K.C. Oster (April 5, 2022)
  • Home Sick Pilots, vol. 2: I Wanna Be a Walking Weapon by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard (November 16, 2021)
  • Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod and Jess Taylor (May 17, 2022)
  • Solo Leveling, vol. 4 by Chugong and Dubu (May 10, 2022)
  • The Montague Twins, vol. 2: The Devil’s Music by Nathan Page and Drew Shannon (January 25, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

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