2016 Finalists: Young Adult Graphic Novels

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey
by Ozge Samanci
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Nominated by: Linda Baie

Dare to Disappoint follows the main character Ozge as she grows up in Turkey. This autobiographical graphic novel has an interesting art style that feels a lot like a scrapbook. It captures Ozge’s spirit as she faces the challenges of her life. She is struggling to figure out who she wants to be, while also fighting the expectations of her family and society. She a strong character brought vividly to life. Perfect for fans of Persepolis, and any reader looking for a fresh perspective on life.

Benedict Hutchinson, A Goblin Reviews Graphic Novels

Faith Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine
by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage
Valiant books
Nominated by: Tiffa

Faith features a diverse, likable cast with an interesting premise. The titular character is very human, characterized with flaws and believable motivations. The story starts in medias res, when we meet Faith as an established superhero. She has to gather her friends back together to defeat a mysterious alien threat. Fortunately, she is plucky and powerful enough to do what it takes. Faith is a great addition to the ranks of strong women superheros!

Benedict Hutchinson, A Goblin Reviews Graphic Novels

Lucky Penny
by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota
Oni Press
Publisher/ Author Submission

“If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” pretty much Describe’s Penny’s view of her life when this story opens. But what she lacks in luck she more than makes up for in determination, adaptability and imagination, as well as a wicked sense of humor. With clear, engaging artwork, surreal humor, and a character that readers will cheer for, Lucky Penny is a winner.

Liz Jones, Lizjonesbooks

March: Book Three
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Top Shelf Productions
Nominated by: Becky L.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis’s memoir about his time as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement uses stark black and white artistry (by Nate Powell) to evoke painful emotions about a pressing time in our nation’s history and the fight that continues today. The three volumes in the series use President Obama’s 2009 inauguration as an opportunity for  Lewis and Aydin to reflect on how much progress our country has made, but even that optimism doesn’t quite soften the blow for the unnecessary deaths and inconceivable injustices participants on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement faced. Police violence, elected officials who turn a blind eye, allies who think of politics before justice, and in-group fighting among the protesters — this book feels more like a how-to manual for ethical protest in today’s world than a history of what was.

Amy Estersohn, No Flying, No Tights

Monstress Volume 1: Awakening
by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
image comics
Nominated by: Charlotte

At first look Monstress is a beautiful, terrifying comic that blends Asian mythology, fantasy and elements of horror. The world is richly detailed by artist Sana Takeda’s steampunk meets art-deco style (pay special attention to the detailing on the clothing) while writer Marjorie Liu offers a tale of racism, war and violent magic. Maika’s struggles to control her power and find answers as to why her mother was murdered are just the tip of the iceberg as Liu explores the difficulties of surviving in a post-war era. As an opening volume to the series this book draws you in to learn the secrets of the world vast in scope and imagination.

Lexie Cenni, For the Sake of Reading

Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous
by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adriean Alphona, and Nico Leon
Marvel Books
Nominated by: Sussu Leclerc

Packed with mad science, superhero action, humor and heart, Super Famous can stand alone. Despite the fact that it is volume 5 in the series, new readers will have enough context to enjoy Kamala’s adventure and fans of the series will enjoy this installment even more. Now that Ms. Marvel has joined the Avengers, she is finding herself pressed for time. Can she take her superhero skills to the next level and still keep her grades up? What about when her brother and her best friend both announce they have girlfriends she knew nothing about? Character growth, solid art, and themes that teens can relate to make Super Famous stand out. The fun of this series is that it mixes genre tropes with Muslim-American life, and Super Famous delivers that fun in a big way.

Alysa Stewart, Everead

by Derf Backderf
Harry N Abrams
Nominated by: Gary Anderson

Part infographic, part memoir, part Beavis-and-Butthead style grossout, Trashed raises issues about the important civil service work of trash collecting in a relatively uncivil way. Backderf’s long-nosed, narrow, and awkwardly lumpy protagonists are vaguely turd-shaped, which makes sense given their line of work and their proclivity for potty-mouthed language. However, trash isn’t the only filthy thing going on in this volume: what’s even more disgusting is the way the men in desk jobs treat those on active curbside duty. (Duty… get it?)

This book is bound to appeal to a range of teen readers, either because Backderf takes an ordinary copy and makes us care about it or because it’s a tale with no clear hero in sight. It should also serves as a model for future authors and artists who want to create narrative nonfiction or hybrid nonfiction.

Amy Estersohn, No Flying, No Tights