Best of 2021: Graphic Novels

Updated: January 19, 2022

The best books of the year, as selected by Los Angeles Public Library staff. Our staff is recommending graphic novels, for children, teens and adults. The category of graphic novels is a genre that includes fiction and non-fiction. Perfect for holiday gift-giving! More books can be found at LAPL Reads Kids' Path Teen Web.

Book cover for The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor
The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor
Garrity, Shaenon K.
Call Number: 741.5 G242

A humorous read that pokes fun at gothic romances with a multi-verse twist. Recommended for the humor, quirky storyline, and a take charge female heroine.

Book cover for The Girl From the Sea
The Girl From the Sea
Ostertag, Molly
Call Number: 741.5 O8465

One night, 15-year-old Morgan slips on a rocky cliff and almost drowns in the ocean, but is saved by a mysterious girl named Keltie. Swept up in the rescue, the two share a kiss. Morgan wakes up the next morning thinking it was all a dream, but Keltie appears in real life and will not leave Morgan's side. Keltie turns out to be a selkie or a seal that can shed its skin and transform into a human! As Morgan tries to hide Keltie and her strange seal behaviors from her friends and family, she also hides her queer identity. This graphic novel is an adorable fairytale of love, friendship, and being true to yourself.

Book cover for In : a graphic novel
In : a graphic novel
McPhail, Will
Call Number: 741.5 M172

Longtime New Yorker contributor Will McPhail, freed from the constraints of a one-panel cartoon, employs his signature drawing style to tell the story of Nick, a millennial everyman who visits increasingly absurd coffee shops for human connection, stumbles into a relationship with a woman he meets in a bar, and tries to learn to relate to his mother as an adult.

Book cover for My last summer with Cass
My last summer with Cass
Crilley, Mark
Call Number: 741.5 C929-4

A realistic look at the highs and lows of friendship. A cute story about two friends from grade school, all the way to adulthood, and an action that almost ended their friendship for good. An excellent story with amazing artwork. 

Book cover for Nubia: Real One
Nubia: Real One
McKinney, L. L.
Call Number: 741.5 N962Mc

This is a Wonder Woman story with Nubia as the Amazon Super Hero! This story incorporates the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, issues with consent, and a school shooting, all in one impactful graphic novel. Nubia is a high school student struggling to do what's right in a world that doesn't accept her. She is forced to hide a part of herself (her powers) from everyone, except her parents. This is a story about identity, equality, friendship, and standing up to forces that are against you. These topics are part of a wonderful story and can also start some group discussions.