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 (#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 Himawari House by Harmony Becker

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Himawari House by Harmony Becker
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781250235565

A young American, Nao, travels across the globe to attend school in Japan and to reconnect with her Japanese heritage. There, she discovers that her desire to fit in is complicated by her Americanness but finds a makeshift sense of belonging with other foreign exchange students Hyejung and Tina, who are also forging their own paths far away from home.

This coming-of-age story accurately captures the joys and pangs of young adulthood and the uncertainty of being caught between two worlds. Teens will find Nao, Hyejung, and Tina’s search for belonging, friendship, and identity both timeless and familiar. The art is at turns humorous and tender, and every character feels fully realized. A strength of this book is Becker‘s effective use of language (often phonetically described) to dismantle reductive and stereotypical ideas of bilingual speakers or speakers with accents. Instead, characters that speak in dialect, with accents, or with uneven syntax are shown to be just as deeply human, complex, and radiant as native or majority language speakers.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

Any Way the Wind Blows Audiobook by Rainbow Rowell - cover art

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell; Narrated by Euan Morton
Macmillan
Release date: July 6, 2021
ISBN: 9781250803122

Simon and the gang are back in London after their American adventures, and there’s trouble in the world of mages. After Simon’s downfall new ‘Chosen Ones’ keep popping up, Baz’s stepmum is missing, and Penny is dealing with a demon-cursed “normal”. Furthermore, Simon, Baz, Penny, and Agatha need to decide how to move forward in the aftermath of their trauma regarding events of the first two books. Any Way the Wind Blows takes a complicated and honest look at healing and moving forward. 

Euan Morton masterfully narrates the many different points of view in Any Way the Wind Blows. He captures Simon’s confusion, Baz’s angst, and Smith’s mania perfectly. His accents are spot on and bring the world of mages alive.

Fans of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston and books by Maggie Stiefvater will enjoy Any Way the Wind Blows

-Abby Lance

Other Nominated Titles

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson; narrated by Marcella Cox (September 14, 2021)


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 previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley

My Last Summer with Cass Cover Art

My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 9780759555457

Childhood friends Megan and Cass, separated for years by a move, have reconnected for a summer adventure in New York City where Cass currently lives. Both are artists, but each have different ways of exploring and learning about art—rebellious Megan challenges Cass’s way of creative thinking and way of life. They collaborate on a personal art project that could bring them both to a new level of artistry, but is it too big of a step for them as artists and as friends?

A coming-of-age tale with an artistic flair, My Last Summer with Cass brushes all the right strokes of the challenge of growing up and sometimes growing apart. Going off to college always creates that complication, and the question of saving versus giving up on a childhood friendship is one that all teens can end up relating to. The soft and subtle coloring beautifully complements and elevates the expressive artwork. This is a heartfelt tale about standing up for yourself, even if sometimes the person you have to stand up to is you.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

Pumpkin Audiobook by Julie Murphy cover art

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy; narrated by Chad Burris
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: May 24, 2021
ISBN: 9780063088764

Look out, Clover City, you’ve got a new queen.

It’s not always easy to be the fat, flamboyantly gay kid in small-town Texas, which is why Waylon Brewer can’t wait until graduation. Then, he and his twin, Clementine, can move to Austin, and he can go full Waylon and become his best, fabulous self.  

Except Clementine doesn’t want to go to Austin, something Waylon finds out the same night his boyfriend dumps him. When Waylon hears the news, he impulsively creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show. Much to his dismay, the video is shared with his whole school, and he is nominated for Prom Queen. With help from some friends and some fellow queens, Waylon decides to embrace the nomination. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have to wait to be fully himself.

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Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

This Is Not the Jess Show Audiobook by Anna Carey cover art

This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey; narrated by Suzy Jackson

Blackstone Publishing

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781094032535

Jess is living in the 90’s and dealing with some complicated issues. She has a major crush on her childhood best friend, unsupportive friends and a younger sister sick with a terminal illness. To make matters more complicated, unexplainable things start happening to Jess. She hears chanting no one else can, a flu knocks out half her classmates, and her best friends keep pressuring her to date the annoying school jock. When her sister ends up in the hospital, it’s the catalyst that Jess needs to slowly unravel a deep secret about the town.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Renegade Rule by Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck

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Renegade Rule by Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck
Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: June 2, 2021
ISBN: 9781506718019

Renegade Rule follows up-and-coming team The Manhattan Mist as they compete for a spot in the national Renegade Rule Tournament. Renegade Rule is a virtual reality video game similar to capture the flag where two teams play against each other, trying to eliminate players from the other team or find the prize objective on different maps. The Manhattan Mist team is composed of four friends who enjoy spending time with each other and playing the game, all while handling other complications such as family illness, impostor syndrome, and more. 

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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 (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 17 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Drifting Dragons Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara Book Cover
Drifting Dragons, Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara

Drifting Dragons, vol. 1–5 by Taku Kuwabara
Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: December 17, 2019; December 17, 2019; February 18, 2020; April 3, 2020; August 25, 2020
ISBN: 9781632368904, 9781632369444, 9781632369451, 9781632369512, 9781632369529

Drifting Dragons is a historical fantasy and cooking manga that chronicles the daily life and adventures of the crew of a draking (dragon-hunting) airship. The Quin Zaza is introduced as one of the few draking ships still in operation in this world, and the crew has no port to call home. They follow the dragons and sell the meat, oil, and other byproducts to the locals wherever they are after a successful hunt. The series features a large ensemble cast, but the main characters are Takita, a young woman who is new to the ship and the draking world, and Mika, a brazen man whose driving motivation is how much he enjoys eating dragons. Mika’s appetite leads to many scenes of food preparation and chapters often end with a recipe.

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