Graphic novels? Really? Is it still Emma writing this? Believe it folks, I’m a new woman—I can honestly say I truly (mostly) enjoyed every single book in this post.
But first, some backstory.
I love reading. I love diving into a book, immersing myself in words, drowning out everything else and letting my imagination run loose in brand new worlds. I love all the things I can learn from a book, and all the lives I can vicariously live.
I also love adventuring. I love exploring the world around me, experiencing new sounds and smells and foods and colors, whether in own hometown or halfway across the world.
Buuuuuut, I’m not so great at being adventurous in my reading. While I am afflicted with chronic wanderlust, and trying new things always gives me a rush, long term change is not really my cup of tea (and trust me, I like a LOT of different kinds of tea). I’m a very sentimental person, and nostalgia is a huge motivator in a lot of the decisions I make. When I’m sad or lonely or homesick or bored, my go-to is one of the many chapter books I read as a kid. Betsy-Tacy, Little House in the Big Woods, The Four-Story Mistake—I’ve read them all a million times, and I’m ok with that. I’ve never gotten bored with them, and I don’t mind that I have bushels of books on my shelves that have never been read—I’ve got my favorites, and I’m sticking with them.
Unfortunately, this means that I have trouble branching out in the genres that I read. I’m afraid I won’t like something or it will be a waste of time, just because I don’t regularly read that sort of thing. That’s hardly the way a true bibliophile should behave!
But I’ve been making an effort, really truly! I’m trying to branch out more, step outside my comfort zone, open myself up to change (even in something as insignificant as choosing what to read next 😉). So without further ado, here is the first post in a series of book lists, book lists in genres that I wouldn’t normally read, but I’m glad I did!
Graphic Novels for People Who Don’t Like Graphic Novels
1. Wires and Nerve—Marissa Meyer
My review of the entire Lunar Chronicles series is forthcoming, so I don’t want to give much away, but I will say this. I loved everything about this book, from the illustrations to the dialogue to the action. I felt that it did an excellent job of, without feeling to heavy or long, continuing to develop the characters we already know and love, and explain/redeem several aspects of the original series that I was dissatisfied with.
2. Frazzled—Booki Vivat
This is such an adorable coming-of-age novel, hilariously and sympathetically chronicling one of the most awkward times in MY life, the transition to *dun dun* MIDDLE GRADE. 11-year-old Abi is totally Frazzled, and 100% relatable, no matter what stage of life you’re in!
3. Rapunzel’s Revenge—Shannon Hale
I’m always a sucker for a fairytale twist, especially if it’s Rapunzel. I’m also always a sucker for Shannon Hale, especially when Nathan Hale (no relation) is her illustrator. Can someone say perfect storm? This book is fun and original, goofy and adventurous, and I wished it would never end. Its (sort of) sequel Calamity Jack is no exception!
4. Through the Woods—Emily Carroll
Through the Woods reminded me a lot of what Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was trying to be—quirky, strange, creepy, and beautiful—except this book actually succeeded, and it was gorgeous and hauntingly poetic to boot. It’s nothing too scary, but definitely unsettling in a “I can’t look away and I’m not sure I want to” sort of way. I LOVE IT!
5. Sidekicks—Dan Santat
Captain Amazing is in need of a new sidekick, and his three pets decide to audition! What follows is the greatest rivalry Metro City has ever seen…dun dun duuuun! While this one is quite a bit more juvenile, it’s still really good fun. (The chameleon is my favorite! 🦎)
6. Guardians of the Louvre—Jiro Taniguchi
Last but not least, I knew I couldn’t make a graphic novels book list without at least one manga. Full disclosure: manga is SUPER outside my comfort zone, and I’m still slowly building up to it. I had a bad experience with it when I was younger that has tainted my desire to read more—long story short, I was physically sick after reading one, and I’m still not convinced it was because we were driving up windy roads at the time. Either way, I have a bad taste in my mouth whenever I think of manga. But! I’m trying to branch out, so when I saw one that was about the Louvre, I thought, how bad can this be? And honest opinion—it wasn’t that bad, but still not my jam. I have a hard time with the whole “reading backwards” thing. Oh well. There’s still plenty of time for them to grow on me. 😊