Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Top Tens in 2015: Megan's Year of Graphic Novels

Megan couldn't keep her picks down to ten... but since we're librarians, we let her give all the books love:

This was apparently my year to fall in love with graphic novels. I’ve always liked them, but when looking back over my year I read A LOT of them and many of my favorite books for 2015 fell in the genre! I also, am apparently SUPER indecisive, since I couldn’t narrow my list down to 10 and am instead giving you 15...

In no particular order:

1.    Simon vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (see all our posts)

This is the book that I’ve recommend to everyone. Beyond a story that keeps you guessing and problems with growing up and friends that feel very familiar, the characters in this are just so real and wonderful that I just want to step into the pages and make them all my friends. While there’s certainly a romantic storyline, I loved that it wasn’t the whole story and that Simon as a son and brother and friend and person was so very developed, rather than just Simon as a boyfriend.

2.    Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (see our full review)
 I attended my first roller derby match right before I read this book and seeing where someone might start their roller derby career was a wonderful way to look at a sport that I find incredibly cool. It also reminded me A LOT of Raina Telgemaier’s work (Smile, Drama, and Sisters) which can only be a good thing

3.    El Deafo by Cece Bell
I love any kind of memoir, particularly one done in graphic novel format. I like to say it’s because I’m a student of humanity, when in reality I’m just nosey. In El Deafo the struggle of the main character to come to terms with what makes her different was an enlightening personal story told from a fun, unique perspective.

4.    Cinder by Marissa Mayer (see our posts)
I am obviously extra late to this party, but this series encompasses so many things I love in YA books, that it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Retold fairytales, space travel, possible future global disasters, and, last but not  least, girls taking names and kicking butt on their own terms? Nothing not to love.

5.    Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
I love, love, love Sarah Dessen’s early works, but was not feeling some of her more recent titles all that much. They felt a little sugary sweet and formulaic to me, with main characters who were a bit one dimensional. This book reconfirmed my love for her as it felt like some of her earlier titles. There’s a bit of romance involved, because it wouldn’t be Sarah Dessen without it, but more importantly Sydney, the main character, is figuring out her life and how to relate to the world around her.







6.    Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Oh how very much I loved Saga! I started this series on a Monday and was finished with the currently available volumes on Wednesday. And then went and bought them, because I never wanted to live without them. An intergalactic space epic crossed with a bit of Romeo and Juliet and a lot of clever dialogue and beautiful artwork makes this is a series I plan on enjoying for a VERY long time.

7.    Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova (see our full review)

Super charming book about trying to find a place in middle school and discovering that there’s room for all sorts of interests in the world.

8.    Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick
An amazing look at deciding who you want to be in relation to the world around you and the expectations it may have for you.

9.    A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall (see our full review)
No relationship happens in a bubble and this light hearted romance tackles this idea in a really interesting way. While the story is about the growing relationship between Gabe and Lea you never actually hear from them, instead watching them grow into something special from the perspective of their friends, teachers, random acquaintances, and even the friendly campus squirrel.

10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (see all our posts)
I am not generally not a poetry reader. I tend to get lost in the language and never get to the meaning and purpose of a poem. Jaqueline Woodson’s account of growing up moving between the North and the South during the civil rights was so clear and evocatively written that I always understood and deeply felt the purpose of the passage.

11. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
SUPER CREEPY! I’m a big baby and hate anything overly scary, so I get my thrills from subtle creepiness and this book fit the bill perfectly!

12. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
 Lots of people agree with me about the amazingness of this book, since it did win the Pulitzer this year, but honestly I didn’t even care about the story (which was great), because the writing itself was so beautiful, that I just loved seeing how the author put words together.

13. Dumplin by Julie Murphy
Extra charming story of a teen girl refusing to conform to the role society sets for her. The title character also names her car, something I do and highly endorse.

14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

In all honesty I am a total Neil Gaiman fangirl and would read his grocery list if it was available, but this book was head and shoulders above that. A fairytale about the existence of everyday magic and the ability of good to triumph over evil.

15. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
This book is quite frankly a downer. A portrait of life in the dictatorship of North Korea as told by defectors now living in South Korea, it portrays a totalitarian society where every aspect of life is governed and the possibility of starvation, deprivation, disease, and arrest are very real facts of life. It is also however an incredibly well researched book that could absolutely devolve into a list of facts, but instead is a completely engrossing narrative.

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