Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers by Ken Krimstein

When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers by Ken Krimstein
Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
ISBN-13: 9781635573701

When hundreds of autobiographical essays of Yiddish teenagers written just before the start of WWII were discovered hidden in a Lithuanian church in 2017, author and illustrator Ken Krimstein selected six to highlight in this nonfiction graphic novel. With a somewhat chaotic and unfinished illustration style that emphasizes the unknown future these anonymous teenagers face, Krimstein uses the original text of the essays to portray the struggles and triumphs of the universal teenage experience.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere by James Spooner

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere by James Spooner
Mariner Books / HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
ISBN-13: 9780358659112

“Punk rock is Black music.”


James Spooner’s coming-of-age graphic memoir shows him navigating life as a biracial teen in 1990’s rural California. Here he grapples with figuring out who he is, not who people — his clueless white mother, his absent Black father, and his mostly prejudiced classmates, teachers, and community members — think he should be. Finding punk music and other Black punks helps him get closer to his true self. Set against a backdrop of an isolated desert community, The High Desert shows a Black teen wrestling with identity, racism, young love, and finding your voice through an alternative community.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds
Etch / Clarion Books
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
ISBN-13: 9780358250470

Celebrated illustrator Gareth Hinds adapts Kristin Cashore’s high-fantasy YA classic, Graceling! Katsa was born graced with lethal fighting skills, put to brutal use by her king from a young age. Out on a mission, she crosses paths with a mysterious fighter, the first to ever come close to beating her in combat. The fight changes her, and a series of related events work to unravel the mundane life of servitude and violence Katsa has always known.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe
Del Rey
Publication date: November 2, 2021
ISBN: 9780593160299

Lore Olympus is a modern retelling of various Greek myths that gained fandom on WEBTOONS and is now available as the first in a series of bound volumes. In this story, the Greek gods and goddesses are no different than anyone today-they use cell phones, post to social media, and attend lavish parties on Olympus in their spare time. It’s at one of these parties where Hades sees Persephone for the first time and becomes instantly attracted to her. Persephone, however, has chosen a life of purity along with her roommate, Artemis, and is uninterested in any kind of romance. When the other gods and goddesses decide to meddle with Hades after hearing of his attraction, things become complicated. In addition to Hades and Persephone, Eros, Psyche, Hera, and other gods have storylines of their own.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Crumbs by Danie Stirling

Crumbs by Danie Stirling
Etch/Clarion Books
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
ISBN: 9780358467793

Every time Ray enters the magical Marigold’s Bakery she orders a Romance. As a Seer, she’s seeking something with a taste of the unknown. On a day when Romance is sold out, Marigold’s nephew Laurie invites Ray out to hear him play guitar as an alternative unknown experience and their relationship blooms. But Ray is starting an internship and on the verge of becoming part of the Grand Council of Sorcerers, a job that requires leaving all of the rest of her life behind. Will she be forced to choose between her new romance and her dream job, a choice even her Seer’s ability can’t help her make?

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Something is Killing the Children Vol. 4 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera

Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 4 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera
Boom! Studios
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
ISBN: 9781684158041

Finally, the backstory of Erika’s entry into the House of Slaughter! Wondering where and how our fierce fighter was introduced to this world of monsters and chaos we go way back to where it all started. The first monster she saw, what happened that night she was taken by a Slaughter member, and what happened to her parents. However, before she can stake a claim to the black room of the Slaughter home, she needs to pass a test by facing her worst demons, and Erika has more nightmares than the average person.

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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.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Mister Miracle by Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles

Mister Miracle: the Great Escape by Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles
DC Comics
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
ISBN: 9781779501257

Scott Free, an orphan raised at the Goodness Academy on the abysmal world known as Apokolips, is making plans to escape to Earth. Unfortunately, he has caught the attention of Granny Goodness and her Female Furies, specifically their new leader, Big Barda. However, against all the odds, Scott and Barda find common ground and their friendship turns into a romance. This new relationship is put to the test as Scott’s escape plan becomes more urgent, and both teenagers’ secrets are revealed. To accomplish the impossible, Scott will have to live up to his nickname, Mister Miracle. 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Nominations Round-Up, Winter

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Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These books have been suggested by the team or through the title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.

The Apothecary Diaries, v.2. By Natsu Hyuuga. Art by Nekokurage. Square Enix Manga, $10.99 (9781646090716). 

Maomao’s adventures as the official royal test taster continue! In this volume, Maomao faces the intrigues of the royal court while dealing with poisoning attempts against the Emperor’s wives.

Asadora! v.4. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature, $14.99 (9781974722969). 

A lighthouse has been attacked by something resembling a giant creature, and Asa is called in by the government to find the monster before the Tokyo Olympics. With the monster’s reappearance, Asa continues the search for her family.

Blue Flag, v.8. By KAITO. VIZ Media, $12.99 (9781974720941). 

The conclusion of Blue Flag sees almost everyone’s secrets revealed and concludes the main characters’ romantic arcs.

Blue Giant Omnibus, v.1-2. By Shinichi Ishizuka. 2020. Seven Seas Entertainment, $19.99 (9781645058649). 

Dai is graduating soon, and while his friends are all cramming for exams, he spends every day playing his sax. Dai is going to be the world’s greatest jazz musician, and to be the best, he will need more than just passion.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration by Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, Ross Ishikawa, and Matt Sasaki

We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration by Frank Abe, Tamiko Nimura, Ross Ishikawa, and Matt Sasaki
Chin Music Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
ISBN: 9781634059763

We Hereby Refuse illustrates the experiences of three individuals—Jim Akutsu, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, and Mitsuye Endo—caught up in the US government’s decision during World War II to treat Japanese Americans as traitors. Betrayed and wronged by their country, they fight to keep their families together while struggling against physical and psychological violence and misleading information. However, their decision to challenge the loyalty oath contract causes problems within the US government and the Japanese American community. The choices they make will lead them to life-altering consequences.

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