ICPL's Favorite Books of 2019: Graphic Novels

Every year ICPL staff vote on their top books published that year, identifying their favorite reads in 10 categories: FICTION; YOUNG ADULT; PICTURE BOOKS; MIDDLE GRADE AND CHILDREN'S; MYSTERY; ROMANCE; SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY; BIOGRAPHIES and MEMOIRS; NONFICTION; and GRAPHIC NOVELS.

Join us as we share our favorites in each category, then be sure to check out what titles were named BEST OF THE BEST for 2019. To make our BEST OF THE BEST list, a book had to be nominated by more than one employee. The book with the most staff nominations is ICPL's BEST BOOK of 2019!

We'll announce the BEST OF THE BEST for 2019, and our pick for BEST BOOK of 2019, on December 31. For now, enjoy our favorite GRAPHIC NOVELS of 2019!

New kid

Jerry Craft

jGRAPHIC NOVEL Craft
Fiction, Kids, Graphic Novels

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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Funny graphic novel with something important to say about systemic racism, microaggressions, and school segregation.
- Anne W

Best friends

Shannon Hale

jGRAPHIC NOVEL Hale
Graphic Novels, Fiction, Kids

When she becomes part of the in-crowd, Shannon begins to question whether she wants to remain there, in a story about popularity, first boyfriends, and finding a path in life.

MISTER MIRACLE.

TOM KING

COMIC/Mister/2017
Graphic Novels

"Mister Miracle is magical, dark, intimate and unlike anything you've read before. Scott Free is the greatest escape artist who ever lived. So great, he escaped Granny Goodness' gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made quite a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, who has counted him among its ranks. You might say Scott Free has everything--so why isn't it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick--except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out. From Hugo Award nominated writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads, the team behind The Sheriff of Babylon, comes an ambitious new take on one of Jack Kirby's most beloved New Gods in Mister Miracle!"--

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This was easily my favorite comic series that came out last year, and a new high-water mark for comic book storytelling.
- Brian

Bloom

Kevin Panetta

GRAPHIC NOVEL Panetta
Graphic Novels

"Baked with love! Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band--if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom...that is, if Ari doesn't ruin everything."--Page [2] of cover.

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A sweet love story that takes place in a sweet place -- a bakery!
- Meredith

Pumpkinheads

Rainbow Rowell

GRAPHIC NOVEL Rowell
Graphic Novels

"Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they've worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they're reunited every September 1. But this Halloween is different -- Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye. Josiah's ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn't ready to let him. She's got a plan: What if -- instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut -- they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he's been mooning over for three years ... What if their last shift was an adventure? Beloved writer Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award-winning artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create this tender and hilarious story about two irresistible teens discovering what it means to leave behind a place -- and a person -- with no regrets."--

The Giver

Lois Lowry

GRAPHIC NOVEL Lowry
Graphic Novels, Young Adult

Jonas' life assignment is as the Receiver of Memory, where he will apprentice the Giver and become a storehouse of all the things humanity left behind when it entered utopia: color, emotion, and even more complicated secrets.

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Lois Lowry's classic novel smoothly makes its transition to comics, and fans of and newcomers to the book will be captivated by the visual storytelling.
- Angie

Laura Dean keeps breaking up with me

Mariko Tamaki

GRAPHIC NOVEL Tamaki
Graphic Novels

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend. Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love. Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

Guts

Raina Telgemeier

jGRAPHIC NOVEL Telgemeier
Kids

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

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I'm always into whatever Raina Telgemeier puts out, and this is not exception. Closer in tone to her more autobiographical works like Sisters or Smile this one deals with how sometimes kids can struggle with putting words on their emotions and inner life. A great title for all ages, and because it took me so little time to read I had the privilege of passing my copy on to my nephew. Win-win!
- Frannie