In this blog we delve into the world of young adult graphic novels, which are huge right now.
What is a graphic novel?
A graphic novel is a basically a long, complete comic story. Whereas comic books tell an ongoing story across many issues, a graphic novel tells one complete story. It can be fiction or non fiction, be any theme and tell any story. The term ‘graphic novel’ was coined in 1964 by Richard Kyle in an issue of Capa-Alpha.
What is a young adult graphic novel?
A young adult graphic novel is a graphic novel aimed at 12-18 year olds who want to escape being a teenager. They always have at least 1 teenage protagonist, usually between 15-19 years old. The best graphic novels have characters which the reader can relate to, that they can embrace. Being a teenager isn’t easy and young adult books in general aim to connect with these people and deliver them relatable content which might make them feel a bit better about their teenage years.
LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME BY MARIKO TAMAKI AND ROSEMARY VALERO-O’CONNELL
In this graphic novel Freddie has a problem, his girlfriend, Laura, keeps breaking up with him on major holidays. Freddie starts to look into why this might be, leaving no stone unturned. This book is a great discovery journey into what is and isn’t love - and how to figure out relationships as a teenager. It’s so good it won a Printz Award.
BOXERS & SAINTS BY GENE LUEN YANG
So this is actually 2 graphic novels, but they usually come as a set. They tell 2 parallel stories of 2 young people. Little Bao who’s village is destroyed by Westerners claiming to be doing the job of missionaries. Inspired by the Chinese Gods he is inspired to join the opposition movement. And then Vibiana, a girl who’s village rejected her, is taken by the missionaries and finds a home - where she must decide if she will fully join her new Christian family. It’s a great novel which tackles Chinese history and into the very core of human nature.
SPEAK: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON AND EMILY CARROLL
This graphic novel is a classic story which has been given a graphic novel update. It tells the story of a girl called Melinda, something happened to her at the end of the school year, and now starting a new year in high school and everyone hates her. She doesn’t speak to anyone, doesn’t defend herself. But during an art class she realises how powerful the voice is and how important it is that she speaks up. It forces her to face up to what really happened at the end of the last school year and speak up about it. She was raped by a older student at her school. This is a powerful graphic novel tackling a very taboo subject which unfortunately happens much more often than we think.
PUMPKINHEADS BY RAINBOW ROWELL AND FAITH ERIN HICKS
In this graphic novel best friends Deja and Josiah are working together one last night at the pumpkin patch, where they have worked every fall. Deja is determined to make it a night they will remember by eating all the snacks the place has to offer. She tried to convince Josiah to reveal his feelings to the girl who he has had a crush on for 3 years. But the night doesn’t quite go as planned!