Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Surviving the City, vol. 2: From the Roots Up by Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan

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Surviving the City, vol. 2: From the Roots Up by Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan
HighWater Press
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
ISBN: 9781553798989

Miikwan and Dez’s story continues in this second volume of The Debwe Series. After her grandmother passes, Dez struggles with her loss and grief. She lives in a group home, but feels lonely and out of place. Dez’s romantic relationship with Kacey grows, but Dez hesitates to make it public. Meanwhile, Miikwan develops her own romance with new student Kiel, who is also dealing with a loss. The four attend an after-school gathering called Mino Bimaadiziwin, but when Dez tries to sit at the drum with the other young men, she is initially denied until an elder, Geraldine, intervenes. Miikwan also defends Dez, and Dez finally reveals her identity as a Two-Spirit person. The four students convince Geraldine that the old protocols are exclusionary and antithetical to Mino Bimaadiziwin or “the good life,” and Riel’s Auntie Alex is invited to share about Two-Spirit teachings. Afterward, everyone, no matter their gender or sexuality, is welcomed back into the circle.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin

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Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
ISBN: 9781684156061

Everyone’s favorite supernatural detective, Lottie Grote, is back and ready to show the world who the best detective is! Fresh from her time in John Allison’s Giant Days and Bad Machinery series, Lottie is now 19 years old and wanting to start her dream life off right. She’s on her way to Oxford, ready to be on her own, and on top of that, she’s finally being recognized for her years of stellar detective work by being nominated for the National Solver’s Teen Detective of the Year Award. But, things go horribly awry when Charlotte is framed for attempted murder at the very awards ceremony where she was going to wow them all. Her choice: go to jail or join up with the local police to try and clear her name. She decides she’ll show them all just how talented of a detective she really is or maybe just how well she can fix everyone a nice cuppa.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz

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I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz
Street Noise Books
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 9781951491055

In this autobiographical comic book, De La Cruz talks about how she discovers her sexuality and what it means to be a woman of color. She also reflects on the racial and sexual oppression that she and others face in American society. Through this book, we learn how she decides to reject social norms and standards to define herself the way she wants.

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

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that 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.


Alienated. By Simon Spurrier. Art by Chris Wildgoose. 2020. BOOM! Studios. $19.99 (9781684155279). 

Three teenagers named Sam (Samuel, Samantha, and Samir) encounter an alien with incredible powers that bonds to them. But will they use those powers for good or for evil?

Asadora!, v.1. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature. $14.99 (9781974717460). 

A storm sweeps into Nagoya, and young Asadora—with the help of unlikely friends—must find a way to rescue her family. But there’s more to the storm than just rain and wind as Asa soon discovers.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 2-3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le

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Ghosted in L.A., vol. 2–3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: September 1, 2020; December 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781684155415, 9781684156047

In the second and third volumes of Ghosted in L.A., college student Daphne adjusts to her new home with the ghosts of Rycroft Manor. On top of school work and navigating relationships with her ghost roommates, she also must deal with sinister forces both inside and outside the house. Meanwhile, her gay ex-boyfriend Ronnie joins the Rycroft crew and tries to fit in among the other queer students at college. These worlds collide in the culmination of the series, which wraps up tidily in the third and final volume.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of What If We Were by Axelle Lenoir

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What If We Were by Axelle Lenoir
Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
ISBN: 9781603094801

Nathalie and Marie have been best friends for their whole life, and nearly that whole time, they have been playing a game called “What If.” One of them will start the game by saying “what if we were Vikings” or fruit or something else just as silly, and then they will go back and forth describing their lives in this scenario. Sometimes a game will take all afternoon or just a few seconds between classes in high schools. Each game lasts a few pages before jumping to the next game, allowing glimpses into their lives, minds, and friendship.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Odessa by Jonathan Hill

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Odessa by Jonathan Hill
Oni Press
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
ISBN: 9781620107898

Eight years after Virgina (Ginny) Crane, her two brothers, and her father survived a massive earthquake that physically split their home state of California and left them in a post-apocalyptic America, Ginny prepares to venture out into the unknown to find their mother, Odessa, who left them years ago. To her surprise, frustration, and then relief, her younger brothers also join her on this journey. Safely navigating this questionable landscape of strangers, gangs, and less-than-helpful ferrymen will prove to challenge Ginny’s grit and desire to see how far she really will go to have family questions answered.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Black Panther Party by David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson

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The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
Ten Speed Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781984857705

The Black Panther Party documents the rise of the revolutionary party from its inception in 1966 Oakland, California, to its dissolution in the 1980s. Key figures like Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, Tarika Lewis, and Elaine Brown are introduced and highlighted, as well as the Party’s still-relevant Ten Point Program and the lethal influence of the FBI’s illegal counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction & Steve Lieber

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 field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.


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Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber 
DC Comics
Publication Date: October 27, 2020 
ISBN: 9781779504623

Iconic sidekick Jimmy Olsen is the focus of this comedic limited series. Jimmy is a Pulitzer award-winning photographer, a member of one of the oldest and richest families in Metropolis, and also a goofy content creator for the Daily Planet‘s website whose antics keep the newspaper in the black. However, when one of his stunts ends up destroying a major landmark, he becomes embroiled in a mystery. After an assassin “kills” his decoy body, Jimmy goes into hiding to try and solve his own murder. 

This is an offbeat, fast-paced comic with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments anchored by an interesting mystery. It definitely helps for readers to have some familiarity with DC comics and the history of Superman, but Jimmy’s shenanigans both reference his classic stories with odd transformations and include more modern hijinks (especially acting as “irresponsible blogger Timmy Olsen” while undercover in Gotham). The artwork and coloring feels like a classic Silver Age comic and is accessible and full of visual humor.

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Introducing Your 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Team

Hello! I’m Crystal Chen, and I’m serving my second year as the Coordinator for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team. In my daily life, I work as a Young Adult Librarian out of a Bronx branch of The New York Public Library. I live in Brooklyn with one cat and lots of cacti.

The 2022 Great Graphic Novels team is gearing up to create another outstanding list of comics for teen readers ages 12 to 18 (check out our 2021 list!). We want our list to reflect the rich diversity of the teen experience and engage readers from all backgrounds, and we’re looking for books with strong writing and seamlessly integrated artwork that conveys clear visual flow and meaning. For Great Graphic Novels, we consider teen titles (and adult titles with strong teen appeal) that are published between September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021. If you wish to recommend a comic for committee consideration, please fill out this field nomination form (note that neither publishers nor authors may nominate their own titles).

Great Graphic Novels team members work together to discover, nominate, and second books; review field nominations; write blog posts and annotations; log internal ratings and reviews; and attend monthly to biweekly virtual discussion meetings. Consistent participation is encouraged and members are required to read nominated titles before casting a vote. Final decisions are made in December, including naming a top ten list. Great Graphic Novels generally reviews 100-200 titles per year and considers books in a series as well as standalone titles.


The #GGNT2022 team is made up of 14 YALSA members from different types of library settings and backgrounds all over the country. They are:

  • Becky Proie, PA
  • Cyndi Hamann, IL
  • Dakota Hall, IN
  • Denise Farley, GA
  • Kacy Helwick, LA
  • Kathleen Barker, MI
  • Kelley Blue, ME
  • Kiera Vargas, KY
  • Mitzi Mack, FL
  • Rachel Johannigmeier, MO
  • Shaira Rock, IL
  • Traci Glass, NE
  • Dana Hutchins, Admin Assistant, TX

We look forward to getting started this year and reading some new and fantastic comics. If you have any questions, please feel free to email crystalchen@nypl.org

—Crystal Chen (she/her)

2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Coordinator