Suggested Read: The Bodygaurd Unit: The Bodyguard Unit: Edith Garrud, Women’s Suffrage, and Jujitsu by Clément Xavier

  • The Bodygaurd Unit: Edith Gurrud, Women’s Suffrage, and Jujitsu
  • by Clément Xavier
  • Graphics Universe
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2023
  • ISBN: 9798765607473

This graphic novel illustrates the women’s suffrage movement in the UK telling a story you may not have learned before. Edith Garrud was a Jujitsu instructor who used her practice to protest for women’s rights and teach other women self-defense. 

One of the outstanding aspects of this book is the use of historical images alongside illustrations. This graphic novel brings new life to these historic events! 

If you would like to learn more about women’s rights, early 20th century England, Jujitsu, or just enjoy graphic novels, you are sure to enjoy this book!

-Erin Soutar

Thank you to our guest blogger, for more reviews find her on Instagram and Facebook!

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Pardalita by Joana Estrela

  • Pardalita
  • by Joana Estrela
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • Imprint: Levine Querido
  • Release date:  April 18, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781646142569

Raquel is a 16-year-old living in a very small town in Portugal. Everyone knows everyone kind of small town. It starts out with Raquel being suspended for cussing out a school aide. She has her two best friends, Luisa and Fred, to help ground her. Then she sees, for the first, Pardalita. Next thing Raquel knows is that she’s applying for the theater program to become closer to Pardalita.

I think this would be a good candidate for QPRR. It’s very much a slice of life, it’s very relatable, and deals with first loves/crushes, being an “angsty” teenager, and “coming out of your shell.” It’s very much a great book to read for any teen!

 Recommended for readers who also may have enjoyed This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, and Are you listening? by Tillie Walden.

-Molly Sprague-Rice

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 3, 2023
Release Date: March 7, 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.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying

  • Hungry Ghost
  • By Victoria Ying  
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Imprint: First Second
  • Release date: April 25, 2023 
  • ISBN: 9781250766991

Valerie Chu is the perfect daughter: obedient, quiet, studious, and thin. When tragic circumstances cause her to lose her carefully controlled grip on her life, she must question her relationship with her mother and what future she really wants for herself. Content warning for eating disorders and death of a loved one.

This is a very short, issue-oriented graphic novel that will appeal to many teens. Even if readers have not struggled with an eating disorder, they will likely relate to the pressure that Valerie feels to fit in to other’s expectations of her. Some of the characters could have benefited from deeper development, but the relationship between Valerie and her best friend, Jordan, seemed very real and relatable.

 For more body dysmorphia books consider titles like Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green or The Impossible Light by Lily Myers.

-Julianne Novetsky

Other Nominated Titles

January 3, 2023
Release Date: March 7, 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.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Northranger by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

  • Northranger
  • by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo
  • HarperAlley
  • Publication Date: June 6, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9780063007383

Cade is just your average horror-loving, queer Texas teen who stays closeted in the face of his step-dad’s casual household homophobia and gender stereotyping.  When he has to help out on a ranch for the summer, sparks fly with the equally closeted rancher’s son Henry. Their budding friendship and romance is just one piece of a large web of truths that can’t be said out loud. The mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother threatens to tear them apart when Cade’s pre-disposure to translate the world through the eyes of a horror movie gets the best of him. 

Indigo’s choice of sepia tones and shaded renderings of rural and urban Texas create a perfect mood for this contemporary gothic romance take on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Sibling squabbles, crushes, parent quarrels—all relationships—are depicted and conveyed with a surprising amount of nuance and depth within such a quick read. Teens will enjoy the tension and flow of these relationships, especially as they exist within Cade’s obsession with all things horror. Family connections, and learning to talk about uncomfortable subjects out loud, are the only things that might save the day in this wildly charming love story.

Ideal for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom, the romance and real-life complications of Northranger are beautifully portrayed. This graphic will be equally appealing to teens who find the creepiness, mystery, and tension of gothic romance especially thrilling, or for anyone who enjoys horror tropes mixed with real life. Readers who enjoy Northranger may want to also want to check out The Hills of Estrella Roja by Ashley Robin Franklin. Finally, fans of Jane Austen’s original novel and of remixes in general will find a lot to love here.

-M’issa Fleming

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Release Date: June 20, 2023
Release Date: August 29, 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.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: The Dog Knight by Jeremy Whitley and Bre Indigo

  • The Dog Knight by Jeremy Whitley and Bre Indigo
  • Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Publishing Group
  • Publication Date: May 16, 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9781250756725

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: November 8, 2022
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Release Date: September 12, 2023
Release Date: October 17, 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.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Danger and Other Unknown Risks by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

  • Danger and Other Unknown Risks
  • by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
  • Penguin Random House / Penguin Workshop
  • Publication Date: April 4 2023
  • ISBN-13: 9780593224823

In Danger and Other Unknown Risks Marguerite and her talking dog Daisy are on a quest to save their post-apocalyptic world. At midnight on January 1, 2000, the apocalypse came in the form of magic, and the world is now split into different realms where the laws of physics and the way magic works are different. Marguerite has been tasked by her uncle with finding three totems so he can perform a powerful spell that will save the world from its current magical instability. As Marguerite and Daisy try to save the world, they meet a variety of people along the way and have an adventure all their own. Will they succeed in obtaining the items they need to save the world?

Danger and Other Unknown Risks is a fun, dystopian adventure full of magic, a talking dog, and humor with a likable, quirky protagonist. The world building is fun and interesting and provides a unique magical future that the reader can get invested in. The illustrations are fun and colorful, but also include realistic body sizes, and a variety of different realms. While the art may look cartoony, readers are in for a high-stakes, perilous ride. 

Danger and Other Unknown Risks is a great read for fans of dystopian adventures or D&D stories. Fans of North and Henderson’s previous work together on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl will gravitate towards this standalone volume from the familiar team. Teens who like offbeat shows like Adventure Time or Loki will also enjoy this book.

—Kaileigh Oldham

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: March 1, 2023
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Release Date: July 4, 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.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Season of the Bruja by Aaron Durán and Sara Soler

  • Season of the Bruja, vol. 1
  • by Aaron Durán and Sara Soler
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Publication Date: January 24, 2023
  • ISBN-13: ‎978-1549308161

Raised by her grandmother and paranormal family friends, Althalia is one of the last brujas and is being taught to control her magic and maintain her culture. Her life drastically shifts when it turns out that the church who has persecuted her people for centuries now knows of her and her grandmother. Althalia must go through the trials of learning to control her power as her grandmother wishes, while uncovering family secrets and a vast array of emotions in the process.

Season of the Bruja, vol. 1 is a fast-paced and action-packed graphic story with a center of family, friendship, and culture. It has exorcisms, Chupacabra’s, and were-coyotes–oh my! But the magic enhances the storytelling without overwhelming it, and character emotions still shine through.

Those who are interested in the magic and paranormal combined with everyday life should read Kelly Thompson’s Sabrina The Teenage Witch comics. For those who want more of the action, look for the new comic adaptation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora. For teens who want more Latine representation in witchcraft, pick up Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas or the Brooklyn Brujas series by Zoraida Córdova.

—Cheyenne Sons

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: February 14, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Release Date: June 27, 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.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Tower of God, Vol. 1, by SIU

  • Tower of God, Vol. 1
  • by SIU
  • Publisher: Webtoon Unscrolled
  • Publication Date: November 2, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781990259906

Welcome to the Tower. Everyone’s dream is to ascend to the top. Hundreds will try; few, if any, will rise. So what are the chances for an average kid like Twenty-Fifth Bam? In volume one, Bam is taught the rules of the Tower by its rabbit-like guardian, Headon: each level is its own world, with new rules, characters, challenges, and bosses. Bam will be tested in every imaginable sense, competing with friends and enemies he meets along the way on his quest to find his lost friend, Rachel, who entered the Tower before him. How will he find her, and how will he survive?

Tower of God has been bound into print volumes for the first time after years of popularity on Webtoon. While the transition from web to print stumbles a bit in this first volume, readers will hardly notice once they are swept up in the mysterious worldbuilding and crisp, visually-rich artwork typical of South Korean manhwa. While there is violence and nail-biting suspense, the author wisely gives readers moments of levity through backstory, relationship building, and a little humor.

Hand this first volume of Tower of God to teens who love Solo Leveling by Chungong. Fans of dark science fiction survival stories like The Hunger Games and Netflix’s Squid Game will also be hooked on this series. Gamers will find familiarity in the Tower’s levels and world bosses, and be eager to discover which skills (and secrets) Bam will need to survive each new challenge.

-Kelly Blue

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 1, 2022
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Release Date: October 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.

Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Thanks to YALSA member Annierra Matthews, a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University, for compiling this collection of excellent graphic novels and comics featuring Black characters and/or produced by Black creators. Click here for the fiction collection she curated earlier this month.


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St.-Onge, Joy San, and Genevieve FT: Hazel and Mari fall in love with each other at church bingo in ’63. Torn apart by others around them, they can’t be together. Years later, they meet again at bingo and find the bravery to share their love with the world.

Continue reading Graphic Novels and Comics to Enjoy for Black History Month — or anytime!

Books to Ease the Winter Blues

Depending on what part of the world you inhabit, the beginning of February might find you suffering from the winter blahs. Some call it the Jan-Febs; others are just so tired of the slush and the cold and the wind (and the pandemic!) that traps them indoors; still others battle the very real SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Even those libraries blessed with year-round good weather have patrons that could use a moment of joy, so let this be our subtle suggestion for the creation of a happiness corner — maybe install a light therapy fixture, add some bubbles or balloons, maybe even rent a puppy? And, of course, books that are guaranteed to bring a smile and remind that stressed-out teen of the kid they still are. From comics to picture books, these titles will be sure to bring a smile.

Maybe your teens are already familiar with Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet series? If not, remedy that error forthwith!! These alien creatures do their best to describe their interactions with the new and fascinating things of Earth, and they never fail to bring a laugh. Or 100.

Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
Continue reading Books to Ease the Winter Blues