Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, vol. 1 by Umi (REDICE STUDIO), singNsong, and Sleepy-C

  • Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, vol. 1
  • by Umi (REDICE STUDIO), singNsong, and Sleepy-C
  • Ize Press
  • Publication Date: December 12, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9798400901065

Dokja Kim could be anyone. The 28-year-old, single office worker spends his days in monotony and relishes his evening commute home when he reads the latest chapter of his favorite web novel, “Three Ways to Survive the Apocalypse.” He’s the only person still reading it after ten years and over 3,000 chapters, and today is the day the final chapter will be published. But instead of a final chapter, Dokja finds himself living the start of the web novel in real life as a goblin-like creature appears, announces The Main Scenario is starting, and proclaims the people now trapped in the train car will only survive if they kill a living creature. As fiction becomes a nightmare, Dokja must step up and do the best he can because he knows the main protagonist is coming: Yoo Joonghyuk, the Regressor, a man who has lived The Main Scenario over and over again.

Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, or ORV, had 360 million global views as of May 2021, with readership almost equally split between male and female. The art and narration flow seamlessly together, and while there are violent scenes, they’re not gratuitous and fit the story framework. ORV stands out among the apocalyptic fantasy manhwa and manga for this reason. Readers who enjoy ORV may also enjoy Solo Leveling (manhwa/anime) by Dubu (REDICE STUDIO) and Chugong, for the similar settings and leveling up story lines; A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special (manhwa/anime) by Usonan and Wookjakga, since the main characters both know the future and seek to change it.

-Melanie C. Duncan

Great Graphic Novels #GGN2025 Quarterly Round-Up: Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the officially nominated titles to date. These titles have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple team members, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, each team will choose the final list of nominations and determine the Selected List’s Top Ten from these titles. For brevity, we have not included official nominations of subsequent volumes in ongoing series in this round-up, only first volumes and standalone titles.

–Meg Bowie, GGN Coordinator

  • Bunt!: Striking Out on Financial Aid
  • By Ngozi Ukazu
  • Art by Mad Rupert
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 279p.
  • Publisher: First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250193513)
  • Reading Lelve: Gr. 9-12
  • 741.5973.

When college freshman Molly Bauer’s full-ride scholarship to art school falls through, her only option is to assemble a ragtag group of reluctant softball players in pursuit of an athletic scholarship.

  • Call Me Iggy
  • By Jorge Augusto Aguirre
  • Art by Rafael Rosado
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 245p.
  • Publisher: First Second, paper, $18.99 (9781250204134).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12.
  • 741.5973.

Ignacio (aka “Iggy”), a second generation Columbian American, starts high school and is visited by his dead grandfather.

  • Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat
  • By Jordan Alsaqa
  • Art by Vivian Truong
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 256p
  • Publishers: IDW Publishing, paper, $16.99 (9781684059836)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12
  • 741.5973

To become a warrior chef, Hana must face furious monsters, navigate awkward friendships, and learn to make the perfect meal.

  • Freshman Year
  • By Sarah Mai. Art by the author
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 273p.
  • Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books, paper, $17.99 (9780316401173)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • 741.5973

This book chronicles one girl’s freshman year in college, from making new friends and exploring one’s identity to staying up all night cramming for finals.

  • Gachiakuta, vol. 1.
  • By Kei Urana. Art by the author
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 188p.
  • Publisher: Kodansha Comics, paper, $12.99 (9798888770207)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • 741.5952.

Framed for murder and exiled into the pit, Rudo will learn that there is more than garbage beyond the Sphere.

Chelsea’s newfound high school popularity is threatened when she’s forced to work at her dad’s paranormal removal company; but soon she discovers a mystery she can’t help but try to solve.

  • Gokurakugai, vol. 1
  • By Yuto Sano. Art by the author
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 184p
  • Publisher: VIZ Media, paper, $11.99 (9781974743568)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • 741.5952

The Gokurakugai Troubleshooter Agency hunts down supernatural monsters terrorizing their neighborhood.

  • Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy
  • By Faith Erin Hicks
  • Art by the author
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 286p.
  • Publisher: First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250838728)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12.
  • 741.5971

When hockey player Alix realizes she needs help keeping her cool, she asks her classmate Ezra to become her mentor – and ends up falling for him.

  • How to Love: A Guide to Feelings & Relationships for Everyone
  • By Alex Norris. Art by the author.
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 220p.
  • Publisher: Walker Books US, hardcover, $17.99 (9781536217889)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
  • 306.7083

Author and illustrator Alex Norris answers common questions about love, relationships, and feelings of all sorts.

  • Huda F Cares?
  • By Huda Fahmy. Art by the author.
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 194p.
  • Publisher: Dial Press, paper, $16.99 (9780593532805)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12
  • 741.5973

On a family vacation to Disney World, Huda navigates her identity as a Muslim American as well as her relationship with her sisters

  • In Utero
  • By Chris Gooch. Art by the author
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 248p.
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions, paper, $24.99 (9781603095341)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12.
  • 741.5994

Twelve-year-old Hailey discovers both friendship and subterranean horrors when she attends summer day camp in an abandoned mall.

  • Ink Girls
  • By Marieke Nijkamp. Art by Sylvia Bi.
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 288p.
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books, paper, $15.99 (9780063027107).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 3-7
  • 741.5973

Eleven-year-old disabled printer’s apprentice Cinzia attempts to liberate her mentor and hold the government accountable to the people it represents.

  • Just Another Story: A Graphic Migration Account.
  • By Ernesto Saade. Art by the author.
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 216p.
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe, paper, $17.99 (9798765623367).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12.
  • 305.9.

A retelling of a story about a mother and son (Carlos and Elena) who leave El Salvador to come to the United States.

  • Lunar New Year Love Story.
  • By Gene Luen Yang. Art by LeUyen Pham.
  • Release: 2024.
  • Length: 352p.
  • Publisher: First Second, paper, $17.99 (9781250908261).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 9-12.
  • 741.5973.

Valentina grew up loving Valentine’s Day… until she learned that her family is cursed in love. After meeting Lion Dancer Les, can she break the curse?

  • Mall Goth
  • By Kate Leth. Art by the author
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 244p.
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, paper, $14.99 (9781534476943).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12.
  • 741.5973

Liv must deal with confusing friendships, inappropriate attention from a teacher, and a job at the mall as she starts over in a new school as a bisexual goth girl.

  • Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, vol. 1.
  • By Umi (REDICE STUDIO) and singNsong. Art by Sleepy-C
  • Release: 2023
  • Length: 237p.
  • Publisher: Ize Press, paper, $20.00 (9798400901065)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12
  • 741.5951

Dojka Kim, the lone devoted reader of an obscure web novel, is forced into unexpected action when the world of the story becomes real.

  • Run and Hide: How Jewish Youth Escaped the Holocaust
  • By Don Brown. Art by the author.
  • Release: 2023.
  • Length: 190p.
  • Publisher: Clarion Books, hardcover, $22.99 (9780358538165)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12
  • 940.5318

Brown tells the stories of how some children escaped the Holocaust through the heroic efforts of strangers and friends, as well as their own courage and quick thinking.

  • Super Boba Cafe.
  • By Nidhi Chanani. Art by the author.
  • Release: 2023.
  • Length: 215p.
  • Publisher: Amulet Books, paper, $16.99 (9781419759574).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 3-7
  • 741.5973

Aria’s summer in San Francisco with her grandmother, Jing Li, is full of boba, delicious food – and mystery.

  • The Fox Maidens
  • By Robin Ha. Art by the author
  • Release: 2024
  • Length: 308p.
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray, paper, $18.99 (9780062685124).
  • Reading Level: Gr. 7-12
  • 741.5973

As Kai fights for her dream of becoming a warrior like her father, she realizes a secret about her past that will change her destiny forever.

  • Wildfire
  • By Breena Bard. Art by the author
  • Release: 2023
  • Reading Length: 271p.
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, paper, $12.99 (9780316277655)
  • Reading Level: Gr. 3-7
  • 741.5973

After losing her home to a wildfire, Julianna and her family relocate to Portland; but Carson, the boy Julianna suspects was involved in starting the wildfire, shows up at her new school.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: The Fox Maiden by Robin Ha

  • The Fox Maidens
  • by Robin Ha
  • Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
  • Publication Date: February 13, 2024
  • ISBN-13: 9780062685124

All Kai Song wants to be is a warrior like her father, who happens to be commander of the Royal Legion. While her father does train her in martial arts, the rest of her community isn’t ready for a woman to be a warrior; not to mention, they believe that she is the granddaughter of Gumiho, the nine-tailed fox demon. On the day Kai starts her first period, she starts experiencing strange changes and finally learns about her mother’s past. At the same time, the family is targeted by assassins. Kai must maneuver all of this and learn to fight her own destiny to become who she wants to be.

The Fox Maidens takes a traditional Korean legend and turns it into a queer retelling featuring a strong female lead. Explanations before the story that describe the origins of the myth aid in world-building. The bold illustrations and vibrant colors draw you into the story so that you can almost feel the characters moving around you. Ha keeps you engaged throughout this fast-paced story that has both action and romance.

Readers who enjoyed the courageous lead in Squire by Nadia Shammas and Jen Wang’s romance in The Princess and the Dressmaker would enjoy this read. Anyone that has delved into the world of fantasy Korean Dramas similar to A Korean Odyssey or Guardian: The Great and Lonely God would also find this read very entertaining.

—Jessica Duong

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: October 10, 2023
Release Date: September 26, 2023

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.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Sky’s End by Marc J. Gregson

  • Sky’s End
  • by Marc J. Gregson
  • Publisher: Peachtree Teen
  • Release date: January 2, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781682635766

Conrad’s family once ruled their floating island, before his uncle murdered his father. Now destitute and eager to reunite with his sister who is a ward of their uncle, he trains to be a hunter. The deadliest of the Trades, hunters defend the islands from gargantuans. Conrad and his fellow trainees must compete in the gauntlet, a competition to see who can kill the most gargantuans. It is a battle filled with treachery, mutiny, and hidden alliances.

Conrad’s ragtag crew is fun to cheer for both in the gauntlet and their character growth. The battles come quickly with plenty of action for fans of adventure stories. The political upheaval provides a growing sense of unease while the game continues to unfold. 

The breakneck speed of this book will appeal to teens who like science fiction with a lot of action and little downtime. Fans of political drama will find plenty in Sky’s End. Similar titles are Sevenfold Hunters by Rose Egal and Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

-Cathy DeCampli

Other Nominated Titles

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.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham

  • Lunar New Year Love Story
  • by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham
  • First Second 
  • Publication Date: January 9, 2024
  • ISBN-13: 9781626728103

Valentina Trần has always loved Valentine’s Day, making homemade valentines for all of her friends and classmates. But when she moves to high school, her romantic view of true love is shattered when her grandmother tells her the family is cursed in love, and that Val’s own mother is not dead, as she has always believed, but in fact abandoned her family when Val was a baby. But Val isn’t quite ready to give up on true love. Hoping to avoid her family’s curse, Val makes a deal with St. Valentine—if she can’t find true love in the next year, she’ll turn her heart over to him. 

Yang pushes the rom-com trope of true love as he explores love in a variety of relationships, from friends to family. He even develops the love of one’s culture through characters that come from a diverse mix of Asian backgrounds, each bringing a unique, rich heritage to the shared celebration of the Lunar New Year. Pham supports this with expressive illustrations that show a wide range of emotions. Mostly monochromatic panels with pops of color are full of details, and highlight the drama and humor of the story.

Fans of Yang’s previous works will not be disappointed in this latest offering. Readers who enjoy sweet romantic comedies with a touch of angst, like Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy or Super Fake Love Song will find plenty to adore in this charming romance. Those who appreciate a good love triangle will enjoy Val’s struggle to choose between two lion dancers. Recommend this to fans of lighthearted comics with colorful, expressive illustrations like Pumpkinheads or Crumbs.

-Heather Christensen

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 13, 2024
Release Date: October 3, 2023

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.

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: Gwen and Art are Not in Love by Lex Croucher

  • Gwen and Art are Not in Love
  • by Lex Croucher
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Release date: November 28, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250847218

The marriage Gwen and Arthur’s parents have arranged will finally cement the alliance between their families, except for two problems. One: they hate each other. Two: they’re both gay. Things go from weird to worse when Arthur discovers a sinister plot against Camelot that puts all of their lives in danger. Their only chance for survival is to work together–if they can only stop arguing long enough.

This book is the perfect blend of funny and heartfelt. The story may take place in the Arthurian era, but the charming banter and the tender exploration of coming out to your family–and an entire kingdom–makes it relevant for teens today.
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is the book for teens who want multiple kinds of queer relationships in one sitting, plus a wholesome friendship. Give this book to readers of So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens and These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling.

– Yona Yurwit

Other Nominated Titles

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.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat by Jordan Alsaqa and Vivian Truong

  • Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat
  • by Jordan Alsaqa and Vivian Truong
  • IDW Publishing
  • Publication Date: September 5, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9781684059836

Cooking with Monsters takes place in a world filled with food-based monsters. Hana Ozawa and her friends are first year students at the Gourmand Academy of Culinary Combat, training to become warrior chefs. Hana faces self-doubt as her rival and love interest, Olivia, seems to be a step ahead of her, and she feels her mentor Chef Graham isn’t teaching her enough to succeed. But with the support of her friends, as well as her desire to be like the warrior chef who saved her as a child, Hana is determined to get through this first year.

Alsaqa incorporates action, adventure, and romance to provide a fast-paced and fun read. The colorful palette and anime-style art complement the action-packed storyline. Truong’s art style, mixed with Alsaqa’s descriptions, emphasizes the flavor and spices of the food. A well-developed and diverse set of characters will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Fans of Delicious in Dungeon will enjoy Alsaqa’s monster fighting and cooking graphic novel with a similar style of humor. This is also a perfect book for fans who like action-packed storylines and colorful illustrations such as The Witch’s Throne. If you are a foodie fan of such books as Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma then you will enjoy the food displayed in this book. If you are a fan of My Hero Academia then you may enjoy Cooking With Monsters as they share similar heroes’ journeys.

-Kyler Wesner

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: December 12, 2023
Release Date: February 13, 2024

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: I Loved You in Another Life by David Arnold

  • I Loved You In Another Life
  • by David Arnold
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: 10/10, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593524787

Evan Taft is planning a gap year in Alaska but is second guessing the decision after his mother’s cancer diagnosis. As those plans fade, he hears a mysterious singer’s voice. Shosh Bell, a theater star with shattered dreams and a dead sister, hears the same song. In different time periods and across continents, a song and celestial bird connects these strangers again and again. 

Arnold has crafted a novel that is incredibly vulnerable, poignant, and familiar. He not only captures the feelings of Evan and Shosh, but peripheral characters are fully developed. Everyone is entirely real with just the right amount of quirk and weird. 

This book is perfect for teen readers who love a quirky story and good romance, but want something different and deeper. I Loved You In Another Life is cinematic and melancholy with a touch of magical realism   Give this book to readers who enjoyed David Levithan‘s Every Day and are fans of authors like Nina LaCour and Jeff Zentne

– Alicia Kalan

Other Nominated Titles

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.
The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2025) Featured Review: Ink Girls by Marieke Nijkamp and Sylvia Bi

  • Ink Girls
  • by Marieke Nijkamp and Sylvia Bi
  • Greenwillow Books 
  • Publication Date: November 21, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9780063027107

Maestra Aronne is already 11-year-old Printer Apprentice Cinzia’s hero when she gets imprisoned for publishing a story about corruption their city’s government doesn’t want told. Cinzia’s determination to free her maestra is bolstered by the companionship of the other young folks she meets while trying to evade the authorities. Together they hunt down the citizens who can clear Aronne’s name and bring the city towards the justice it deserves.

The color palette is vivid and the illustration style is expressive; both add immensely to the feel of the adventure and intrigue that unfold through the book. Nijkamp and Bi both have a firm grip on the necessity of a fictional world still offering an accurate reflection of the real world in terms of representation. Visible and invisible disabilities play a part in the narrative, variation in gender expression and sexuality are normal parts of life, all sorts of bodies are present, and a variety of ways to feel and build family are depicted throughout the suspenseful twists and turns. Ink Girls will appeal to a wide breadth of readers—intrigue and mystery abound, harrowing escapes are frequent and sometimes hilarious, making it a lovely offering for folks that enjoy a serious plot accompanied by some levity. Fans of Dog Knight and Cardboard Kingdom are sure to enjoy this cross of adventure, friendship, and the power of stories to bend the world towards justice.

-M’issa Fleming

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: October 10, 2023
Release Date: November 14, 2023

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2025) Featured Review: What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez

  • What the River Knows
  • by Isabel Ibañez
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Release date: 10/31, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250803375

Inez, an Argentinian society young woman, heads to Egypt to find out what happened to her missing (presumed dead) parents, who were on an archeological dig. Her uncle, now her guardian, is a secretive man who appears to be selling Egyptian artifacts–in other words a tomb robber–assisted by an English military deserter who goes by the moniker, “Whit.” When Inez dares to defy societal convention and her uncle by boarding a ship to Egypt to conduct her own search for her parents, she encounters scoundrels, thieves, and murderers who are willing to do anything to get their hands on Cleopatra’s wealth and are happy to sacrifice Inez and all she holds dear to acquire it.

This compelling enemies to lovers trope takes place against a very evocative 1880’s Egyptian backdrop. Chocolate éclairs consumed on linen couches in a hotel lobby next to fez-topped effendi, while tomb-robbing is discussed in clipped British tones is enough of a draw for adventure fans. When you add revolvers, secret doors, and missing/dead parents along with a touch of real, old magic, there is the basis of a solid story. 

This historical fantasy setting, with a little magic, and a lot of slow-burn romance will set historical fiction fans’ hearts aflutter.  This is a high-school themed version of The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan with more romance and less teaching of mythology.  For historical romance fans hand this to fans of Erin Beaty’s Traitor’s Kiss series, Mary Pearson’s Dance of Thieves series, or Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series. Fans who like the down and dirty reality of being on a trip without all the benefits of civilization, but with magical abilities informing the storyline, will also like Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger series.

-Michael Fleming

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.

The Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee appreciates teen feedback as members evaluate the nominated titles. Teen librarians are encouraged to share the List of Potential Nominees under consideration with their patrons and solicit feedback using the link: https://bit.ly/BFYA25TeenFB