2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

The list of 79 titles, drawn from 108 official nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.

In addition, the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee created a Top Ten list of titles that exemplify the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences, denoted by an asterisk.

“The 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list celebrates the enormous variety of the graphic format including tales about forgotten heroes and heroines, online rebellions, new takes on beloved characters, and so much more.” said Chair Marcus Lowry. “The richness of these titles will engage and delight teen readers for years to come.”

Members of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee are Marcus Lowry, chair, Ramsey County Library, Roseville, MN; Emily Farmer, Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN; Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, Eugene, OR; Thomas Maluck, Richland Library, Columbia, SC; Elizabeth Moss, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA; Jayla Parks, Houston Public Library, Houston, TX; Karen Perry, High Point, NC; Jason Poole, Webster Public Library, Webster, NY; Kristina Reynolds, Portland District Library, Portland, MI; Andrea Sowers, Joliet Public Library, Joliet, IL; Bonnie Svitavsky, Puyallup Public Library, Puyallup, WA.

* denotes the title was selected as a top ten.

Download a handout of the list here.


Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics. Edited by Chris Duffy. Illus. by the author. First Second,  paper, $24.99, (9781626720657). A collection of World War I trench poetry and lyrics interpreted by modern cartoonists.

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.  By Box Brown.  Illus. by the author.  First Second, $17.99, (9781596438514). Andre the Giant, famous for his wrestling career, has always been considered larger than life, but his story fascinates well beyond the mat.

The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft. By Reinhard Kleist.  Illus. by the author. Self Made Hero, paper, $22.95, (9781906838775). Harry Haft overcomes extreme odds during the Holocaust to become a famous boxer in America.

The Dumbest Idea Ever! By Jimmy Gownley.  Illus. by the author. Graphix/Scholastic, paper, $11.99, (978-05454534790).  Jimmy Gownley's memoir about his teenaged years and how he started drawing comics.

El Deafo. By Cece Bell. Illus. by the author.  Abrams, $21.95, (9781419710209). Cece tells the story of navigating school, friendships, crushes, and being okay with not being able to hear.

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story By Vivek J. Tiwary. 2013, illus by Andrew C Robinson. M Press, $19.99, (9781616552565). Worldwide phenomenon The Beatles hit the big time with the help of an extraordinary and secretive manager.

Gandhi: My Life is My Message. By Jason Quinn. 2013. Illus. by Sachin Nagar. Campfire, paper, $16.99, (9789380741222). Biography of the legendary peace-maker of India.

The Great American Dust Bowl. By Don Brown. Illus. by the author.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, paper, $18.99, (9780547815503). A speck of dust is a tiny thing, but in 1920s America dust cause widespread devastation.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale. By Nathan Hale. Illus. by the author.  Amulet, $12.95, (9781419708084). Anthropomorphic retelling of the events of World War I.

I Remember Beirut. By Zeinia  Abirached.  Illus by the author.  Graphic Universe, $26.34, (9781467738224).  A remembrance of the author's childhood in Lebanon during its civil war.

Shackleton. By Nick Bertozzi. Illus. by the author. First Second, $16.99, (9781596434516). An account of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition in the early 1900s.

Sisters. By Raina Telgemeier. Illus by the author.  Graphix/Scholastic, $24.99, (9780545540599).  The true story of how fun and frustrating relationship between sisters can be.

Strange Fruit – Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History. By Joel Gill. Illus. by the author.  Fulcrum, paper, $23.95, (9781938486296). Great stories of lesser known African American throughout American history.

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir. By Liz Prince. Illus. by the author. Zest Books, paper, $15.99, (9781936976553.) She wasn't a girly girl, nor one of the guys, but somewhere in the middle.

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. By Peter Bagge. Illus. by the author, Drawn and Quarterly, $21.95, (9781770461260).  The story of the Planned Parenthood founder who tirelessly fought for reproductive rights her entire life.



Adventure Time.  By Ryan North. Illus. by Braden Lamb and others.

V. 4. KaBOOM!, $14.99, paper,  (9781608863518)

 V. 5. KaBOOM!, $14.99, paper,  ( 9781608864010).  More fun from the land of Ooo

Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake. By Natasha Allegri.. 2013. Illus. by the author. KaBOOM!, paper, $19.99, (9781608863389). It's up to Fionna and Cake to save the day from the Ice Queen.

*Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale. By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illus. by Francesco Francavilla. Archie Comics, paper,  $17.99, (9781619889088).  A zombie outbreak in Riverdale forces Archie and his fellow survivors to take refuge in Veronica's mansion.

Alex + Ada vol 1. By Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. , Illus. by Jonathan Luna. Image, paper, $12.99, (9781632150066).  Alex gets a humanoid robot as a present from his grandmother and decides to give it sentience.

All Star.  By Jesse Lonergan. Illus. by the author.  paper, NBM, $13.99, (9781561638352). Carl Carter, high school baseball star, discovers the inequality inherent in the system when he gets into trouble with the law.

All You Need Is Kill. By Ryosuke Takeuchi. Art. by Takeshi Obata. Viz, paper, $14.99, (9781421576015).  Humanity's battle against a formidable alien race is placed on hold when Keiji begins reliving the same day's events over and over.

Bad Machinery. By John Allison. Illus. by the author.

                               V.2: The Case of the Good Boy. Oni Press, paper, $19.99, (9781620101148). The kids of Tackleford solve the mystery of a toddler eating monster in the woods.

                              *V.3: The Case of the Simple Soul , Oni Press, paper, $19.99, (9781620101933). Linton and Sonny investigate who has been setting fire to old barns. Could it be the troll living under the bridge.

Baltimore vol 3: A Passing Stranger and Other Stories. By Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. 2013, illus. by Ben Stenbeck . Dark Horse, $24.99, (9781616551827).)   Lord Henry Baltimore battles monsters in his search for the vampire that killed his family. 

Barbarian Lord. By Matt Smith. Illus. by the author.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99, (9780547859064). Barbarian Lord recruits allies and battles monsters, ghouls, and bad poets in his quest for justice.

Batman: Black and White. Vol 4. By Various. Illus. by Various authors and illustrators. DC, $29.99, (9781401246433).  Batman short stories written and  illustrated by an all-star cast.

Batman ’66. Vol. 1. By Jeff Parker. Illus. by Jonathan Case. DC, paper,  $14.99, (978-1401249311). When crime strikes in Gotham City, police commissioner Gordon calls upon the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin.

Beautiful Darkness. By Fabien Vehlmann. Illus. by Kerascoët. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95, 9781770461291).  A community of tiny people emerge from a dead girl's body.

Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread, V.1. By Nathan Edmondson.  Illus. by Phil Noto.  Marvel, paper $17.99, (9780785188193). When not fighting as part of the Avengers, Black Widow seeks redemption on her own terms.

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem. By Steve Niles. Illus. by Dave Wachter.  Dark Horse, $14.99, (9781616553449). A Jewish village brings to life a giant monster to defend themselves against the Nazis.

Brilliant, vol. 1. By Brian Michael Bendis. . Illus. by Mark Bagley. Marvel, $24.99, (9780785159148). A group of college students figure out how to give themselves superpowers with disastrous consequences.

Buzz. By Ananth Panagariya.  2013. Illus. by Tessa Stone. Oni Press, paper, $19.99, (9781620100882).  Webster finds himself swept up in the cutthroat world of competitive, head-to-head spelling bees. 

Cast Away on the Letter A. By Fred.  Illus. by the author.  TOON books, $16.95, (9781935179634). Philemon falls into a well that transports him to an island in the Atlantic that doesn't exist.

Cleopatra in Space. Book One: Target Practice. By Mike Maihack.  illus. by the author.  Graphix/Scholastic, $12.99, (9780545528436.) There is a prophecy that says Cleopatra will save the world, but she's just trying to learn algebra.

Down Set Fight!. By Chad Bowers and Chris Sims., illus. by Scott Kowalchuk.  Oni Press, paper, $19.99, (9781620101162). Football star Chuck Fairlane was expelled from the sport for fighting, but finds unlikely fame when mascots track him down for revenge.

*47 Ronin. By Mike Richardson.  Illus. by Stan Sakai. Dark Horse, $19.99, (978159582954). The Japanese Legend of the 47 Ronin and their epic mission to avenge their wronged master.

The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. By Stephen Collins.  Illus. by the author. Picador, $20.00, (9781250050397). Dave lives in the tidy world of Here when his beard begins to grow uncontrollably.

The Graveyard Book. By Neil Gaiman. Illus. by P. Craig Russell.

V.1. Harper Collins, $19.99, (780062194817)

V. 2. Harper Collins, $19.99, (9780062194831). The story of Nobody, a boy raised in a graveyard, and the danger that threatens his life.

*In Real Life. By Cory Doctorow, illus.by Jen Wang.  First Second, paper,  $17.99, (9781596436589). Anda’s online persona discovers a bigger world than she can imagine.  

Les Miserables. By Victor Hugo and Crystal Silvermoon. Illus. by SunNeko Lee. Udon, paper, $19.99, (9781927925164).  A classic tale of passion and tragedy in 19th century France.

Mara. By Brian Wood. 2013, Illus. by Ming Doyle. Image, paper, $12.99, (9781607068105). A volleyball player in the future gets superpowers and it changes her life.

Moonhead and the Music Machine. By Andrew Rae.  Illus. by the author.  Nobrow Inc., $24.95, (9781907704789).  When the school’s talent show is announced, Joey Moonhead sets out to create a music machine that is out of this world.

*Ms. Marvel: V.1. No Normal.  By G. Willow Wilson. Illus. by Adrian Alphona. Marvel, paper, $15.99, (9780785190219).  Kamala Khan is a geeky teenager navigating her Muslim identity and parents’ expectations when she gains bizarre and inexplicable powers.

My Little Monster. By Robico.  Illus. by the author.

V.1. Kodansha Comics, paper,  $10.99, (978-1612625973)

V.2. Kodansha Comics, $10.99, paper, (9781612625980)

V.3. Kodansha Comics, $10.99, paper, (9781612625997). Mizutani is distracted from being the top student in her grade, when Haru decides to be her friend.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Volume 5 By Katie Cook. 2014, illus. by Andy Price, IDW Publishing, $17.99, (9781631401053). The ponies travel to a new world that mirrors their own.

My Love Story!: Vol.1. By Kazune Kawahara.  Illus. by Aruko.  Viz Media, paper, $9.99, (9781421571447).  Takeo wonders if he will play second fiddle to his best friend when it comes to dating girls.

Red Sonja.Vol 2:The Art of Blood and Fire. By Gail Simone. Illus. by Walter Geovani. Dynamite, paper,  $19.99, (978-1606904817.)  A dying king promises to free 1000 slaves if Sonja will  bring him the world’ s greatest artisans in time for his last hurrah.

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. By Ben Hatke. illus. by the author.  First Second, paper, $12.99, (9781596438767). Zita will need help from friends to stop the plan of an evil intergalactic prison warden.

Rust vol 3:Death of the Rocket Boy. By Royden Lepp. Illus. by the author. Archaia, $24.99, (9781608864133). Jet’s secret might force him off the farm where he works while risking the family that took him in.

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette. By Mary M. Talbot. Illus. by Kate Charlesworth. Dark Horse, paper, $19.99, (9781616555474). Sally Heathcote is drawn into the politics of the women's suffrage movement in early 1900s England.

*Seconds: a Graphic Novel. By Bryan Lee O’Malley. illus. by the author. Ballantine Books, $25.00, ( 9780345529374). Katie is not satisfied with her life and discovers a way to make some changes to the past using magic mushrooms.

The Secret Service: Kingsman. By Mark Millar., illus. by Dave Gibbons. Marvel, $14.99, (978-07851654607). A secret service agent takes his deadbeat nephew under his wing.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. By Takaya Kagami. Illus. by Yamato Yamamoto.

V.1. Viz Media, paper,  $9.99, (9781421571508)

V.2. Viz Media, paper,  $9.99, (9781421571515). Yuichiro and his friends try to escape their fate as livestock in the vampire city.

*The Shadow Hero. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Sonny Liew. First Second. paper, $17.99, (9781596436978). Hank Chu helps around his family's grocery store when his mother makes him a superhero suit, and offers to give him rides to fight crime

Silver Surfer. Vol. 1: New Dawn. By Dan Slott. Illus. by Mike Allred. Marvel. Paper, $17.99, (9780785188780). Silver Surfer challenges the Never Queen to save the life of an earth girl he's never met.

Sing No Evil. By JP Ahonen. Illus. by KP Alare. Abrams, $24.95, (9781419713590).  A new metal band struggles to succeed, and save the city from supernatural forces.

Summer Wars. By Mamoru Hosoda. Illus. by Iqura Sugimoto

Part 1. 2013, Vertical, paper, $14.95, (9781939130150).

Part 2. Vertical, paper, $14.95, (9781939130167).  The world's foremost social network is infected with a malevolent AI that threatens to hurtle society into the Stone Age.

This One Summer. By Mariko Tamaki. Illus. by Jillian Tamaki.  First Second, paper, $17.99, (9781626720947).  Summer friends get tangled up in teen love and a family crisis.

Three Thieves. By Scott Chantler. Illus. by the author.

v. 4: The King’s Dragon., Kids Can Press, $17.95, (9781554537785).

v.5: Pirates of the Silver Coast. Kids Can Press, $17.95, (9781894786539). Dessa and her pals continue to search for her brother while the captain of the King’s Guard remains on her trail.

*Through The Woods. By Emily Carroll.  Illus. by the author. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $21.99, (9781442465954).  Five tales of sinister things that live in the woods.

*Trillium. By Jeff Lemire.  Illus. by the author. paper, Vertigo, paper, $16.99, (9781401249007). The twentieth and thirty-eighth centuries meet in a time-travel romance

The Undertaking of Lily Chen. By Danica Novgorodoff.  Illus. by the author.  First Second, $29.99, paper, (9781596435865). According to custom, Deshi needs to find his brother a corpse bride, but meeting Lily changed everything.

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy. By Maki Minami. Illus. by author.

V.1. Viz, $9.99, paper, (9781421559704).

V.2. Viz, $9.99, paper, (9781421559711).

V.3. Viz, $9.99, paper, (9781421559728).

V.4. Viz, $9.99, paper, (9781421559735).

V.5. Viz, $9.99, paper, (9781421559742). Hime wants to be a voice actress like her idol Sakura, but not being able to talk like a princess might dash her dreams.

*Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki. By Mamoru Hosoda. Illus. by Yu. Yen Press, $26.00, (9780316401654). Hana must raise two werewolf children on her own after their father dies in an accident.

The Woods. V.1: The Arrow. By James Tynion IV. Illus. by Michael Dialynas. Boom!,  paper,  $9.99, (9781608864546). A modern-day high school is transported without warning to another world.

World Trigger. By Daisuke Ashihara.  Illus. by the author.

                                V. 1. 2014. Viz Media, paper, $9.99, (9781421577647).

                                V. 2. 2014. Viz Media, paper, $9.99, (9781421577654). Osamu and the mysterious new kid battle monsters from a neighboring dimension.  

X-Men: Battle of the Atom. By Brian Michael Bendis and others.  Illus. by Frank Cho and others. Marvel, $49.99, (9780785189060). X-Men past, present, and future collide.