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4 YA Graphic Novels For Your TBR


For the month of May, I’ve selected four YA graphic novels that have teenage/young adult, female protagonists and explore themes of family, courage, friendship, and love despite difficult circumstances.

 

Squire

Nadia Shammas (author) & Sara Alfageeh (illustrator)

Aiza has always dreamed of becoming a knight and winning glory within the Bayt-Sajji Empire. As a member of the subjugated Ornu people, attaining knighthood is her only path to citizenship. The Empire, ravaged by famine and border tensions, appears to be rushing headlong into another war. Desperate for new recruits, the Empire posts the opportunity to join the Squire training program and Aiza jumps at the chance. But the life of a squire is not as glamorous as she had thought. On top of the grueling combat training and menial chores, Aiza has to navigate tentative friendships, rivalries, and hiding her Ornu identity. As her experiences become more dangerous, Aiza becomes aware that the Empire’s promises are not what they seem. She will have to make a hard choice: stand up for herself and the Ornu people or the Empire that continues to colonize them. Nadia Shammas’s world may be a fictional, alternate Middle Eastern history but the themes throughout are very much rooted in reality and showcase the necessity to know one’s history so as not to repeat it or hide from it. Sara Alfageeh illustrates stunning panels, weaving Aiza’s story into a beautiful tapestry of art.


On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden (author/illustrator)

Mia goes from living a normal boarding school life to being sent off with a ragtag restoration crew who travel through space rebuilding dilapidated, ancient structures with mysterious origins. Throughout the story we jump back and forth between Mia’s time at the boarding school, how she and her best friend fall in love only to experience loss and heartbreak, and her travels through deep space with her new crew members who become like family. These timelines and relationships quickly become interwoven in a beautiful way and the limited color palette artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Walden immerses you in a fantastical world full of endearing characters and a heartwarming exploration of the many forms of love and family.



Skyward Vol. 1

Joe Henderson (writer) & Lee Garbett (illustrator)

It seemed like just another day when suddenly the Earth’s gravity field weakened to a fraction of itself. People, animals, objects—everything was suddenly at risk of being pulled out into space, including one-day-old Willa Fowler’s mother. Fast forward 20 years and the world has seemingly adapted to its new gravity. Willa loves the freeing feeling of floating through the air but is weighed down by the fact that her father hasn’t been able to leave the house since losing her mother. He’s figured out how to fix the atmosphere, but his phobia keeps him from putting his discovery into action. Willa takes on the mission of finding one of his old colleagues for help... but his intentions may not be as benevolent as they appear.





Mamo

Sas Milledge (author/illustrator)

Orla O’Reilly, the last of a long line of hedge witches, is compelled to return to her small coastal town after the passing of her grandmother, Mamo. Strange and sinister things have been happening to the town since Mamo’s passing. Fishermen come back empty-handed, crops have failed, and a local girl named Jo Manalo asks her for help to exorcise a poltergeist from her attic. As the two girls search for clues, they discover that Mamo’s passing—or rather, her mislaid bones—has triggered these events. Orla and Jo will have to track down and cleanse Mamo’s bones if there’s any hope of saving their hometown. But Mamo has laid one last trap for Orla so that she will be bound to Haresden and be forced to become its hedge witch like her grandmother always wanted. Will Orla abandon the town to its fate or face her grandmother’s spirit and the expectations that she has never wanted placed upon her?


 

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