Still want to reach your Goodreads goal, but behind schedule? Why not read a few graphic novels? I’m recommending a lot of them in this post!
Of course, it is absolutely not necessary to reach your Goodreads goal. The point is to have fun, so if it’s no longer fun but stressful instead, definitely give yourself a break 🙂 But if you do think it would be fun to try to still reach your goal, I hope these recommendations are helpful!
Back in March, I also recommended 10 graphic novels, so check out that post as well! Almost all of the books I recommended in that post are LGBTQ+ too.
Katie O’Neill – The Tea Dragon Society & The Tea Dragon Festival
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.
Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.
I would urge you to read The Tea Dragon Society and The Tea Dragon Festival if only because of their artstyle, but their also so soft and full of love and thought-provoking, as well as really diverse. These are the perfect examples of graphic novels that feel like a warm hug.
Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu – Mooncakes
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
Mooncakes was one of my favourite reads of 2019. It has a romance between two childhood friends, one of which is a girl who’s hard of hearing, and one of which is a non-binary werewolf. Both of them are Chinese-American, and the girl has sapphic grandmothers! It’s really such a heartwarming book. You can read my full review here.
Mariko Tamaki – Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
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.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me was more or less a cover buy for me, and it couldn’t have been more accurate, because this graphic novel is beautiful. The art work is truly incredible: muted colour tones, lots of detail, and varied panels. Combined, this worked incredibly well, and it makes this one of the most creative graphic novels I’ve read. The art literally gave me goosebumps with how pretty and evocative it was.
Story wise, I really enjoyed this as well. It’s a quiet novel, and story and art really enhance each other. I do wish the relationship between one of the side characters and an adult man was discussed more. It wasn’t condoned, but I still felt like it could have been addressed more appropriately. Other than that though, this was a really amazing story with a lot of character growth.
Natalie Riess – Space Battle Lunchtime Vol. 1 & 2
Earth baker Peony gets the deal of a lifetime when she agrees to be a contestant on the Universe’s hottest reality TV show, Space Battle Lunchtime! But that was before she knew that it shoots on location… on a spaceship… and her alien competitors don’t play nice! Does Peony really have what it takes to be the best cook in the Galaxy? Tune in and find out!
It’s almost time for the season finale of Space Battle Lunchtime, and finalist Peony (the only Earth contestant) is nowhere to be found! That’s because she’s been kidnapped and taken to the set of Space Battle Lunchtime’s biggest rival, Cannibal Coliseum, where chefs compete to cook… each other. Up against some of the most dangerous aliens in the galaxy, will Peony even make it to the end of the show? Stay tuned!
I’m recommending this graphic novel duology in one go, because they’re very fast reads that are best enjoyed when you read them back to back. Space Battle Lunchtime is essentially Master Chef in space, with a sapphic main character and so many aliens. The art work is absolutely fantastic!
Katie O’Neill – Princess Princess Ever After
“I am no prince!”
When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all.
Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what happily ever after really means — and how they can find it with each other.
Princess Princess Ever After is short, but super sweet, and so empowering. I loved how the princesses saved each other, each in their own ways, and how they taught each other and gave each other space to be better people, together and apart. It was just a very cute, very healthy portrayal of a sapphic romance, and I really enjoyed it.
Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks – Pumpkinheads
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?
This graphic novel is delightful. I read Pumpkinheadsin October, which I think is the perfect time for it, but of course it can be enjoyed at any time of year. One of the main characters is fat, black and queer. I absolutely loved the art style in this book as well.
Molly Ostertag – The Witch Boy
In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.
When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.
The Witch Boy is such a lovely middlegrade which uses a fantasy story to unpack gender roles, toxic masculinity, and the importance of accepting people for who they are. The main message is clear: if someone tells you who they are, believe them, and accept them. It was rather short, I thought, but I did love Aster, the main character, and the art is amazing! Lucky for us, there are two more installments, with more to come (as far as I’m aware this will be a longer series).
Melanie Gillman – Stage Dreams
In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor–also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk–robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.
“To our queer and trans ancestors. Far too many of your stories were lost, but we remember you.”
If that isn’t a heartwarming dedication, I don’t know what is.
First off, I absolutely loved the characters in Stage Dreams. I haven’t read many books in a historical setting featuring queer characters, and I especially haven’t seen a lot of transgender characters represented in a historical setting. The characters were both really lovable as well.
I did think the context was somewhat confusing and the story felt a little rushed, but I did still really enjoy this and would definitely recommend that you check it out!
Terry Blas – Hotel Dare
It’s not your typical family vacation when Olive, and her adopted siblings Darwin and Charlotte find themselves falling into other worlds as they explore Grandma Lupé’s strange hotel.
OPEN THE DOOR. ADVENTURE AWAITS.
Olive and her adopted siblings Charlotte and Darwin are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel and it’s all work and no play. They’re stuck inside doing boring chores but they soon stumble upon an incredible secret… Behind each room door of the hotel lies a portal to a different strange and mysterious place. The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are opened, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before they tear themselves apart.
Written by Terry Blas (The Amazing World of Gumball) and illustrated by the talented Claudia Aguirre (Kim & Kim), this world-hopping fantasy tale breaks down the door to imagination and dares you to embrace the idea that family is everything.
“We all come from different worlds, but as long as there’s people who love you where you’re at, you’ll always be fine.”
Hotel Dare is such a fun, diverse, heartwarming read about found/chosen family. The story is inspired by Aztec mythology, and the art work is beautiful. I absolutely loved the characters, and even though it took me some time to figure out the story, I ended up really enjoying that as well.
Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle – Moonstruck, Vol. 1
Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.
I read some mixed reviews, but I really really loved Moonstruck! The art is honestly incredible, I loved it a lot. And the characters and setting are amazing, so imaginative and fun. The plot was a little less developed, and it was quite rushed towards the end, so I do get why people may have liked this less, but overall, I really enjoyed this.
What graphic novels would you recommend?
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