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    Updated on Jul 29, 2020. Posted on Jul 29, 2020

    20 Graphic Novels And Nonfiction That YA Readers Will Love

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these books are worth a heck of a lot of words.

    1. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

    Balzer + Bray, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Jan. 28, 2020

    What It's About: When their "visit" to friends in Alabama unexpectedly becomes a relocation following her mother's engagement announcement, Robin is devastated. After all, for so long it was just her and her mother against the world, living in Seoul. But now, she's got a new stepfamily (who she doesn't fit in with), a new school (where she doesn't know the language), and a new emotion towards her mother (fury). But a light appears in the darkness — Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, and all of a sudden, a new window of possibility opens.

    Get it from Bookshop for $11.95, Target for $10.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    2. Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux

    DC, CapozKnows Photography, Taylor Woodworth

    Release Date: Feb. 4, 2020

    What It's About: Cassandra Cain has been trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin — after all, her parents are super-villains, and her father is threatening the world. But she's kind of going through an identity crisis right now, and in order to figure out who she wants to be, she's decided to learn everything she possibly can about Batgirl. But that could be tough, considering Batgirl hasn't been seen in Gotham for years...

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Target for $15.29, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    3. The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson

    HarperCollins, Eric Charbonneau

    Release Date: March 3, 2020

    What It's About: Noelle Stevenson — author of the National Book Award finalist Nimona and showrunner of the recently completed She-Ra and the Princesses of Power — journeys through eight years of her life in this graphic memoir. Through essays and mini-comics, Stevenson chronicles the highs and lows of being a creative human. The imagery Stevenson builds around mental health and burnout is so well-crafted and sincere that it should be added into the mental vocabulary of every creative human.

    Get it from Bookshop for $18.39, Target for $14.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    4. The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp and Manuel Preitano

    DC, Via mariekenijkamp.com, Manuel Preitano

    Release Date: March 10, 2020

    What It's About: Barbara Gordon is certain that something is amiss at the Arkham Center for Independence. After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed, Babs is adjusting to a new normal — something not quite helped by the appearance of strange sounds and disappearances of other patients. When fellow patient Jena asks for Babs's help in finding her twin brother, the Center's Dr. Maxwell insists that he died in the fire that took their parents. Now determined to discover what is going on, Babs must use her hacking skills and rely on her newly made friends to crack the case.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Target for $13.59, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    5. Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

    Macmillan, Albert Law

    Release Date: March 17, 2020

    What It's About: Gene works at a high school where all anyone can talk about is the Dragons, the men's varsity basketball team that is inching closer to the California State Championships. His year of following the team is chronicled in this graphic novel, discussing the players, the coaches, and Gene himself. And trust me, even if you aren't super into sports –whatever the opposite of a "sports person" is, that's me – you're going to love this. And you can trust me, because I full on sobbed at the end of this book.

    Get it from Bookshop for $22.49, Target for $13.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    6. The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge

    Amulet Books, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: April 7, 2020

    What It's About: Mona Starr is smart, geeky, and creative, but sometimes the world feels like just too much for her to handle. Her depression takes on a concrete form, what she refers to as her Matter, and it whispers in her ear, telling her she's not good enough and other negative things. But therapy, art, writing, and some good friends start to help Mona understand her Matter and how to live alongside it. If you've been looking for a spiritual twin to Pixar's Inside Out in the form of a mental health focused teen graphic novel, this is it.

    Get it from Bookshop for $13.79, Target for $12.29, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    7. Check Please: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu

    First Second, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: April 7, 2020

    What It's About: Volume two of the absolutely lovely slice-of-life webcomic Check Please follows Bitty into his junior year at Samwell University. While Jack, last year's team captain and Bitty's new, secret, long-distance boyfriend, is now in the professional hockey world, Bitty is navigating new teammates and high stakes games. As someone who read the last few pages of volume one at least 30 times between its release and book two's release, you can trust me when I tell you that you won't be disappointed.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Target for $11.59, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    8. Witchlight by Jessi Zabarsky

    Random House, Jessi Zabarsky

    Release Date: April 14, 2020

    What It's About: Lelek the witch moves from town to town, making her living by swindling the locals. When she comes across peasant girl Sanja, and realizes how good she is with a sword, Lelek kidnaps her so that she might learn swordplay. And as they travel, and search for the source of Lelek's magical abilities, they grow more entangled.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Target for $13.79, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    9. Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder

    Dial, Via tylerfeder.com

    Release Date: April 14, 2020

    What It's About: Tyler Feder's graphic memoir follows the journey from her mom's first oncology appointment to the afterward that lies beyond the funeral. Anyone who has experienced loss will be able to relate to her depictions of post-death firsts (like holidays and traditions) as well as the brief moments of forgetting that they are gone. You're probably going to cry, but it's worth it.

    Get it from Bookshop for $17.47, Target for $16.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    10. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

    Graphix, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: May 5, 2020

    What It's About: Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. Charlie overthinks things. The thing he's overthinking right now? His crush on Nick, a rugby player at his school. While he doesn't think he has a chance, Nick soon develops feelings of his own for Charlie, and their love story begins.

    Get it from Bookshop for $13.79, Target for $12.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    11. Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju, Ryan Estrada

    Iron Circus, Stacy Schmittling

    Release Date: May 19, 2020

    What It's About: Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983, during the military regime of South Korea's Fifth Republic, which entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. After being invited to a reading group by the editor of the school newspaper, she found herself the youngest member of an underground club reading great works of illicit literature in a world of fear and violence.

    Get it from Bookshop for $13.80, Target for $10.49, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    12. Suncatcher by Jose Pimienta

    Random House Graphic, Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    Release Date: May 19, 2020

    What It's About: When Beatriz discovers her grandfather's soul is trapped in an old guitar, she learns the only way to free him is to play his perfect song...which he never wrote down. Her obsession with the song grows more and more each day, as she attempts perfection — but it's at the cost of her friendships, her band, and her health. She'll need to make a lot of hard choices before it's too late for her grandfather, and for herself.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Target for $14.39, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    13. A Thief Among the Trees by Sabaa Tahir, Nicole Andelfinger, and Sonia Liao

    Archaia, Via goodreads.com, Via sonialiao.com

    Release Date: July 14, 2020

    What It's About: This prequel to Tahir's bestselling Ember in the Ashes quartet follows Elias and Helene in their training to become recruits for the Martial Empire at Blackcliff Academy. During their mission on Isle South, where they are sent to steal a heavily-guarded poison, they'll find themselves up against enemies they never expected...including other recruits. If you haven't already read the series, this graphic novel does read as a standalone, so this could be your entry point into one of the best YA fantasy series of the last decade.

    Get it from Bookshop for $18.39, Target for $17.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    14. A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong

    First Second, FRANK

    Release date: Aug. 4, 2020

    What It's About: Ren and Luna meet at a beachside basketball court and become friends — a friendship which fractures when Luna moves back to Oahu and doesn't answer Ren's messages. But now, years later, Luna is back, and wants to rekindle their friendship. And since both Ren and Luna are on the newly formed women's basketball team at their school, they'll be spending a lot of time together. But Ren isn't sure she's willing to open herself back up again, especially in the midst of family troubles and dropping grades.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, from Target for $17.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound.

    15. Displacement by Kiku Hughes

    First Second, Via kikujhughes.wixsite.com

    Release Date: Aug. 18, 2020

    What It's About: The first time the displacement happens, Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco. All of a sudden, she's in the 1940s, in the interment camp that her late grandmother was forcibly placed in during World War II. Eventually, Kiku finds herself stuck back in time, living among the Japanese-American citizens, including her grandmother, in the camp. While there, she learns just how much she wasn't told in school, and starts to wonder how to make sure it never happens again.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.54, Target for $17.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    16. Flamer by Mike Curato

    Henry Holt, Via goodreads.com

    Release Date: Sept. 1, 2020

    What It's About: Mike Curato's first book for teens features stunning illustrations that are almost entirely in black and white, with the notable exception of fire. Aiden Navarro is away at camp during the summer between middle school and high school. He's on a path of self-discovery — one complicated by bullies, religion, and the boy he can't stop thinking about.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.54, Target for $17.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    17. Class Act by Jerry Craft

    Quill Tree Books, Via jerrycraft.com

    Release Date: Oct. 6, 2020

    What It's About: Although the companion novel to Jerry Craft's Newbery Award winning book New Kid might technically live in middle grade, Craft is one of my favorite graphic novelists, so I had to include it! Drew Ellis has always worked ten times as hard as his classmates, but he's still not getting the same opportunities as other students, like his friend Liam. And pretending like everything is fine doesn't seem like it's an option.

    Get it from Bookshop for $11.95, Target for $12.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    18. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

    Random House Graphic, Laura Duholm

    Release Date: Oct. 13, 2020

    What It's About: Tiến is trying to navigate life through fairy tales. After all, he loves to read stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the library. But communicating with them in his own words is harder, since his parents are struggling with their English and Tiến isn't sure how to tell them that he's gay. Drawing parallels between the fairy tales and Tiến's life, Trung Le Nguyen's debut is a lyrical masterpiece.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.62, Target for $16.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Ten Speed Press, Via mikkikendall.com, A. D'Amico

    Release Date: Nov. 5, 2019

    What It's About: Technically speaking this was published on the adult side — but this illustrated history primer is essential reading for every household, and worth including. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists tells the story of women's rights and how they've evolved (and in some cases, devolved) across cultures and centuries, and introduces the reader to some significant historical women along the way.

    Get it from Bookshop for $18.39, Target for $15.59, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

    20. Nubia: Real One by L. L. McKinney and Robyn Smith

    Via llmckinney.com, Robyn Smith

    Release Date: Feb. 2, 2021

    What It's About: Okay, I know this one isn't out until next year, but can you blame me for being excited? Nubia pushed over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat...as a baby. While she's always showcased Amazonian-like qualities, the world seems to have no problem reminding her that they see her as a threat rather than Wonder Woman. But when her best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all to protect her.

    Get it from Target for $16.99, or from a local independent bookstore through Indiebound here.

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