When you are in a reading slump and the thought of reading a 300-page novel seems more of a chore than a delight, I’d suggest turning to graphic novels. Not only are they visually stunning, but they can have the exact same impact that a novel can. They are quick reads that can transport you to magical worlds where you encounter ghosts regularly or get to change the past.
I have always been a comic book fan, my pile of Archie’s Double Digest was my most prized possession when I was eight years old. I would re-read them, dog-ear Betty’s Diary and Archie 3000 (which I still reference whenever I Skype with friends) and draw Jughead on any scrap of paper I could find. It wasn’t until recently that I reignited my love for comics. After researching and asking around, I have come across many graphic novels that I was able to relate to and would highly recommend. You may notice a theme in these selections. I am a sucker for a coming-of-age tale and a lady protagonist.
1. Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton
I really want to be friends with Kate Beaton – she is intelligent, funny and talented as all hell. All qualities for a Woman Crush Wednesday for sure. This graphic novel is a collection of her comics featuring historical and literary figures in hilarious situations. This book is giggle out loud funny and you will want to share it with everyone. It was my go-to Christmas gift for a while. I wish she could have taught me history because she makes it interesting and funny which were never words I would have used to describe the subject before reading this graphic novel. I have yet to check out her latest Step Aside Pops! but I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Thanks, Kate!
2. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Anya is a self-conscious girl who doesn’t fit in and feels alone in the world. That is until she meets someone at the bottom of a well. I love the story and the artwork so much in this one and wish it had been around when I was a lonely teenager. It is a definite page-turner and you will likely finish it in one sitting like I did. This one sticks with you for sure.
3. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Emily Carroll gave me actual nightmares. These stories are so creepy and they get ingrained in your head. I would not suggest reading these before bed unless you are into having terrifying dreams. The book contains five chilling stories filled with vivid colours and eerie images. Some are reminiscent of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, while others are more modern. I’d suggest reading this one on a cold winter’s day when the snow is falling outside your window, but make sure the sun is still up.
4. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
From the author of the Scott Pilgrim Series comes a graphic novel about a young woman trying to find her way in life. I would recommend this book to many of my friends as we are all in a similar situation, needing to make big life decisions. Katie, the protagonist in Seconds, is given a unique opportunity that gives her a second chance on some of the decisions she’s made in the past. This sounds like a dream come true, but proves to be much more of a burden than expected. I really enjoy the art in this one, as well, and could definitely relate to Katie’s want to re-do things she regretted. Magical and relatable and a must-read!
5. This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
As soon as I cracked the cover on this one, I was brought back to those summer vacations spent at the beach with friends and their families. This one is particularly visually breathtaking. I could stare at certain pages for ages, there is so much attention paid to detail. Again, this is a coming-of-age tale that follows Rose and her friend Windy through all the drama that could possibly face a teenager. There is something so nostalgic about this book and if you spent any time at a beach or lake you’d likely feel the same. It features the local convenience store where you rent horror movies from scary older boys, while also dealing with difficult issues like depression and loss. I’d suggest reading this one if you are feeling at all nostalgic for teenage summers and all its joys and sorrows.
Did I miss any graphic novels worth a read? Any suggestions or ones you would have on your list? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, let this be a promo for your local public library. Sometimes I think we forget they are there and how amazing they are. They let you borrow books for free and if you are willing to wait for them to be shipped you can get any book you want! Let’s hear it for LIBRARIES!