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Find more Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens
The Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is compiled annually by a committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and comprises recommended graphic novels for readers ages 12 to 18. The titles below make up the top 10 picks from the full list, which is available at ala.org/yalsa/2020-great-graphic-novels-teens-top-ten. Titles published in 2018 are noted; all others were published in 2019.
Bloom. By Kevin Panetta. Illus. by Savanna Ganucheau. First Second, $24.99 (9781250196910).
A recent high school graduate, Ari works in his family-owned bakery and plays in an indie band with 4 of his best friends in a small coastal town. When an accident occurs at the bakery, Ari has to rethink what he wants to do with his life and what will bring him happiness.
Cosmoknights. By Hannah Templer. Illus. by the author. Top Shelf, $19.99 (9781603094542).
Pan lives a very ordinary life on a planet called Verdian. She spends most of her time working in her father’s shop and hanging out with her friend, Tara, who is a princess. But when Tara’s life takes a very different turn, Pan gets a chance to bring down an archaic, medieval-type jousting tradition.
I Was Their American Dream. By Malaka Gharib. Illus. by the author. Clarkson Potter, $16.99 (9780525575115).
Malaka tells the story of being Filipino, Egyptian, and American while growing up in Cerritos, California. She details her life as the “perfect Filipino kid” during a year with her mom while also trying to navigate the customs of her father’s home in Egypt during the summer.
Kiss Number 8. By Colleen AF Venable. Illus. by Ellen T. Crenshaw. First Second, $24.99 (9781250196934).
The first seven kisses 16-year-old Amanda experienced were less than exceptional. But after finding out that her father, her ultimate best friend, is keeping a secret from her and realizing she may have a crush on Cat, her best friend from her conservative Catholic school, everything in Amanda’s life starts to shift—which leads to her eighth kiss, the one that changes everything. A 2020 Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. By Mariko Tamaki. Illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Second, $17.99 (9781626722590).
Laura Dean has broken up with Freddy three times. Laura Dean keeps coming back, and Freddy keeps taking her back despite Laura Dean’s blatant cheating. After visiting a medium, Freddy finds herself questioning whether or not Laura Dean can be monogamous and how she can get on with her life without Laura Dean. A 2020 Printz Honor Book.
The Life of Frederick Douglass. By David F. Walker. Illus. by Damon Smyth and Marissa Louise. Ten Speed, $19.99 (9780399581441).
The story of Frederick Douglass is distilled from his own words into this compelling graphic novel. We journey with him from the discovery of his own strength in the hellish care of a slave breaker to his recruiting Black troops and counseling President Lincoln during the Civil War.
Pumpkinheads. By Rainbow Rowell. Illus. by Faith Erin Hicks and Stern Sarah. First Second, $17.99 (9781626721623).
On their final night of work at DeKnock’s Pumpkin Patch, high school seniors and “Patch” friends Josiah and Deja decide to make their final shift an adventurous one as they explore the park’s many sights and tasty treats in search of the Fudge Girl, Josiah’s long-time, unrequited crush. A 2020 Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Simon & Louise. By Max de Radigués. Illus. by Max de Radigués. Tr. by Aleshia Jensen. Conundrum, $18 (9781772620351).
With the school year over, it’s time for Louise to go on her two-month-long family vacation, leaving boyfriend Simon on his own. Within a day, Louise has changed her Facebook status to “single,” and Simon has no idea why. Louise tells him her Dad forbids the relationship, but Simon refuses to accept that and leaves home to hitchhike to the beach town to win Louise back.
They Called Us Enemy. By George Takei and others. Illus. by Harmony Becker. Top Shelf, $19.99 (9781603094504).
Before he played Sulu on the starship Enterprise, boldly going where no one has gone before, actor George Takei was a little boy struggling to understand why his family was packing up and going to live in a horse stable. Readers see history in a clear, concise, compelling context and follow Takei on his journey from childhood ignorance to righteous teenage anger and, finally, to a life of dedicated activism. A 2020 Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature winner and a 2020 Notable Children’s Book.
Witch Hat Atelier.
In Coco’s world, the only way to learn magic is to already be a witch, which Coco is not. One day a band of traveling witches comes to town, and Coco meets the enigmatic Qifrey. Her world is turned upside down when she accidentally performs a spell that traps her mother in stone. To rescue her, Coco must leave with Qifrey and become his magical apprentice in a land far from home.
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