Great Graphic Novels 2013

The list of 55 titles, drawn from 98 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.

“What do superheroes, serial killers and the stage crew have in common? They all have a place on the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list,” said Chair Rachael Myers. “There is a graphic novel on this list for every teen reader and we think this is a valuable resource for teens and the librarians who work with them.”

Members of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee are Rachael Myers, chair, Horace Mann School, Bronx, N.Y.; Tessa Barber, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, P.A.; Chris Durr, Kirkwood Public Library, M.O.; Heather Gruenthal, Western High School, Anaheim, C.A.; Monica Harris, Oak Park Public Library, I.L.; Summer Hayes, King County Library System, Tukwila, W.A.; Katy Hepner, St. Tammany Parish Library, Mandeville, L.A.; Marcus Lowry, Roseville Library, Maplewood, M.N.; Matthew Moffett, Fairfax County Public Library, V.A.; Emily Pukas, Nashville Public Library, T.N.; Dorcas Wong, San Francisco Public Library, C.A. and administrative assistants Katie Llera, Sayreville Middle School, Parlin, N.J., and Brooke Young, Salt Lake City Public Library, U.T.


Abirached, Zeina.  A Game For Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return. 2012, illus., Lerner/Graphic Universe, $29.27, 978-0761385684.

As the bombs drop on Beirut, Zeina’s family must depend on her neighbors for survival.

* Backderf, Derf. My Friend Dahmer. 2012, illus., Abrams, paper, $17.95, 978-1419702174.

Go to high school with the nation's most notorious serial killer.

* Fetter-Vorm, Jonathan. Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb. 2012, illus., Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, $22.00, 978-0809094684.

A look at one of the most controversial decisions in American history.

Goodwin, Michael and Dann E. Burr. Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (And Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures. 2012, illus., Abrams, paper, $19.95, 978-0810988392.

Who knew economics could be so fun?

Hale, Nathan. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy.  2012, illus., Abrams/Amulet, $12.95, 9781419703966.

A spy on the gallows has a story to tell.

* Lambert, Joseph. Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. 2012, illus., Disney Hyperion/Disney Book Group, $17.99, 978-1423113362.

You thought you knew the whole story.

O'Connor, George. Hades: Lord of the Dead: Olympians V. 4. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.99, 978-1596434349.

Who’s Hade’s queen of the underworld?

Quinn, Jason and Amit Tayal. Steve Jobs: Genius By Design. 2012, illus., Campfire, paper, $12.99, 978-9380028767.

Steve Jobs’ life from birth to death.


Azzarello, Brian and Cliff Chiang. Wonder Woman: Blood V.1. 2012, illus., DC Comics, $22.99, 978-1401235635.

Diana discovers the truth of her parentage in this reboot.

Bendis, Brian Michael and Mark Bagley. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man. 2011, illus., Marvel, $24.99, 978-0785152743.

The fall and sacrifice of Marvel's greatest hero. 

* Bendis, Brian Michael and Sara Pichelli. Ultimate Comics Spider-man, V.1. 2012, illus., Marvel, $24.99, 978-0785157120.

Witness the birth of a new Spider-man Miles Morales.

Bermejo, Lee. Batman: Noël. 2011, illus., DC Comics, $22.99, 978-1401232139.

It's winter in Gotham City and Batman's playing Scrooge.

Brown, Nimue and Tom Brown. Hopeless Maine: Personal Demons V.1. 2012, illus., Archaia, $19.95, 978-1936393572.

Salamandra finds herself in a supernatural orphanage.

Carey, Mike, Leonard Kirk and others. Sigil: Out of Time. 2011, illus., Marvel, paper, $14.99, 978-0785156222.

Samantha discovers her powers and journeys through time to seek vengeance for her mother’s death. 

Cosby, Nate and Chris Eliopoulos. Cow Boy. 2012, illus., Archaia, $19.95, 978-1936393671.

Young Boyd is determined to bring the dastardly Linney family to justice.

Costa, Mike, Jon Armstrong and Ryan Browne. Smoke and Mirrors. 2012, illus., IDW, paper, $19.99, 978-1613774021.

Stage magician Terry Ward finds himself lost in an alternate world where magic is real.

DeFilippis, Nunzio, Emma Vieceli and Christina Weir. Avalon Chronicles: Once in a Blue Moon, V. 1. 2012, illus., Oni Press, $19.99, 978-934964750.

Aeslin is sucked into her favorite childhood storybook only to find that her family and this fantasy world are intertwined.

Gauld, Tom. Goliath. 2012, illus., Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95, 978-1770460652.

David and Goliath told from the perspective of the un-assuming giant. 

Giallongo, Zack. Broxo. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.99, 9781596435513.

Princess Zora and Broxo uncover the secrets of his past.

Graham, Brandon. King City TP. 2012, illus., Image, paper, $19.99, 978-1607065104.

Joe doesn't have much except a cat who can be changed into almost anything.

Hatke, Ben. Legends of Zita the Spacegirl. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, 18.99, 978-1596438064.

Zita has won the hearts of the whole universe, but will a robot clone take it all away from her?

* Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $15.99, 978-1596435568.

From homeschool to high school, Maggie learns to let go of her past and make new friends.

Inzana, Ryan. Ichiro. 2012, illus., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99, 978-0547252698.

After the death of his father, Ichiro moves to Japan and encounters gods and monsters.

Isayama, Hajime. Attack on Titan V. 1. 2012, illus., Kodansha Comics, $10.99, 978-1612620244.

The walls have kept the bloodthirsty giants out of the walled city. Until now…

Jeon, Hey-jin and Ki-ha Lee. Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries V.1. 2012, illus., Seven Seas, paper, $11.99, 9781935934806.

A young writer finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

Kashyap, Keshni and Mari Araki. Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary. 2012, illus., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.95, 978-0618945191.

A philosophy class assignment transforms into a portrait of Tina's high school experience.

Kovac, Tommy and Andy Hirsch. The Royal Historian of Oz. 2011, illus., SLG Publishing, paper, $14.95, 978-1593622169.

Frank is held ransom when his father steals Dorothy’s shoes.

* Kwitney, Alisa, Rebecca Guay and others. A Flight of Angels. 2011, illus., DC/Vertigo, $24.99. 978-1401232009.

An angel lies dying in a forest while its denizens decide his fate.

L'Engle, Madeleine and Hope Larson. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel V. 1. 2012, illus., Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19.99, 978-0374386153.

A dark and stormy night is just the beginning in this classic tale of a fight against evil.

Lepp, Royden. Rust: Visitor in the Field V. 1. 2011, illus., Archaia, $24.95, 978-1936393275.

Will the mysterious boy with the jet pack be the salvation or ruin?

* Long, Mark, Nate Powell and others. The Silence of Our Friends. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.99, 978-1596436183.

In 1966 two families have the courage to become friends against a backdrop of riots and racism.

Merey, Ilike. A + E 4ever: a graphic novel. 2011., illus., Lethe Press, paper, $18.00, 978-1590213902.

Two misfits find each other as they explore their sexual identities.

Morrison, Grant and Sean Murphy. Joe the Barbarian Deluxe Edition. 2011, illus., DC Comics/Vertigo, $29.99, 978-1401229719.

A bullied teenager is sent on an otherworldly adventure through a fantasy landscape.

* Murakami, Takashi. Stargazing Dog. 2011, illus., NBM Publishing, paper, $11.99, 978-1561636129.

The heart-breaking story of a man and his dog as they search for happiness in a life that rejects them.

Neel, Julien. Lou! Secret Diary. 2012, illus., Lerner/Graphic Universe, paper, $8.95, 978-0761388685.

The highs and lows of becoming a teenager.

Petty, J.T., Brian Ralph and Hilary Florido. Bloody Chester. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, $18.99, 978-1596431003.

Getting hired to burn down a ghost town isn't exactly a dream job, but it's the only one Bloody Chester can get.

Pham, Thien. Sumo. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $14.99, 978-159645810.

His NFL career dream dashed, Scott starts life over as a sumo wrestler.

Rioux, Jo. Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine. 2012, illus., Kids Can Press, $17.95, 978-1554536368.

Wannabe monster tamer Suri finds her life thrown upside down when she accidentally meets a real monster.

Rozum, John and Fraser Irving. Xombi. 2012, illus., DC Comics/Vertigo, paper, $14.99, 978-1401233464.

David Kim uses the nanotechnology infecting his body to halt a dangerous, supernatural threat.

Shinkai, Makoto and Yukiko Seike. 5 Centimeters Per Second. 2012, illus., Vertical, paper, $18.95, 978-1932234961.

A poignant look at love, loss, and hope in modern-day Japan.

Simone, Gail, Ardian Syaf and Adam Hughes. Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection V.1. 2012, illus., DC Comics, $22.99, 978-1401234751.

Batgirl is back, fighting new villains and her own personal demons.

Smith, Mark Andrew and Armand Villavert. Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors. 2011, illus., Image, paper, $15.99, 9781607061151.

Teenage villains-in-training.

Snyder, Scott and Greg Capullo. Batman: The Court of Owls V.1. 2012, illus., DC Comics, $24.99, 978-1401235413.

This story rocks Gotham back to its very foundations.

* Telgemeier, Raina. Drama. 2012, illus., Scholastic/GRAPHIX, $23.99, 978-0545326988.

The drama on the stage is no match for drama behind the curtain.

TenNapel, Doug. Cardboard. 2012, illus., Scholastic/GRAPHIX, $24.99, 978-0545418720.

Cardboard + Imagination = Awesome.

Thung, Diana. August Moon. 2012, illus., Top Shelf, paper, $14.95, 978-1603090698.

Fiona discovers magical creatures, a boy who claims to be from the moon, and hidden dangers threatening the town of Calico.

Toma, Rei.

Dawn of the Arcana V. 1. 2011, illus., VIZ Media, paper, $9.99. 978-1421541044.

Dawn of the Arcana V. 2. 2012, illus., VIZ Media, paper, $9.99. 978-1421541051.

Will Nakaba and Casesar’s alliance survive or will politics, rebellion and dark visions nip their slowly blossoming feelings at the bud?

Tomari, MiyoshiA Devil and Her Love Song V. 1.  2012, illus., VIZ Media, paper, $9.99, 978-1421541648.

Beautiful Maria tells you the ugly truth.

* Waid, Mark, Paolo Manuel Rivera and Marcos Martin. Daredevil V. 1. 2012, illus., Marvel, $19.99, 978-0785152378.

Daredevil is back and he has an eye for justice!

Westerfeld, Scott, Steven Cummings and others. Uglies: Shay's Story. 2012, illus., Random House/Del Rey, paper, $10.99, 978-0345527226.

Rejecting life in Prettytown, Shay finds her way to the rebellion.

Wilson, G. Willow and David Lopez. Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice. 2012, illus., Marvel, paper, $14.99, 978-0785156086.

Two orphaned girls are best friends, but only one can become apprentice to the most powerful magician in the land.

Wooding, Chris and Cassandra Diaz. Pandemonium. 2012, illus., Scholastic/GRAPHIX, $22.99, 978-0545252218.

Seifer has always wanted a more exciting life, but being a stand-in for the missing prince might be more than he can survive.

Yang, Gene, Gurihiru and others.

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise Pt. 1. 2012, illus., Dark Horse, paper, $10.99, 978-1595828118.

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise Pt. 2. 2012, illus., Dark Horse, paper, $10.99, 978-1595828750.

The adventure continues as Aang and the gang must find a way to bring peace to a post-war world.