Discovering a new genre of books can be overwhelming, so if you’re new to graphic novels here are a few recommendations for starting out:
1. “Blankets” by Craig Thompson
This is an autobiographical novel that tells the tale of the relationship between two brothers growing up in snowy and isolated Wisconsin. Along with the relationship between siblings it also tells the story of a developing romance.
From a teenager’s perspective, this book really peaked my interesting in its attempts to dissect how both familial and romantic relationships develop as a young adult.
Overall, “Blankets,” is a great starter graphic novel because it is the whole package: interesting characters, incredible illustrations and color scheme, and a compelling storyline.
2. “Lost At Sea” by Brian Lee O’Malley
I already reviewed this book in my previous article but I had to include it in this list as well.
This was the first graphic novel I read as a teenager and it is what made me interested in reading more.
It’s about a teenage girl graduating high school that goes on a journey of self discovery. More specifically, she thinks a cat stole her soul so she embarks on a cross country road trip with some classmates. So, it’s a unique take on navigating that transitional period in a young adult’s life.
Not only did this short, sweet, and to the point book strike a nerve in 17 year old me, but “Lost At Sea,” pulled me in with it’s cartoony illustrations and entertaining dialogue.
3. “Essex County” by Jeff Lemire
This novel is actually not one book but it is split up into a trilogy.
It’s difficult to summarize this story because it is so in depth, but in short the trilogy focuses on a farming town in Canada and follows the townspeople throughout the years. The novel covers a wide range of themes including family, sadness, aging, and countless more.
The pictures are amazingly emotional as is the dialogue.
So, while this story is relatively long and in depth, I think everyone needs to read “Essex County,” no matter how new you are to graphic novels.