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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Each year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) division of the American Library Association selects a list of graphic novels suited for readers ages 12–18. Since it first premiered in 2007, the list has been inspiring young readers and guiding parents, teachers, and librarians to make age-appropriate selections for the young adults in their lives. See below for the Top 10 GGNFT lists for each year. 




See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2014 picks here!


  • Lewis, John, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. March: Book 1. 2013. Illus., paper, Top Shelf, $14.95, (978-1603093002.) John Lewis is a Congressman now, but back in the 60s he was a teenager standing up for justice.


  • Gulledge, Laura Lee. Will & Whit. 2013, Illus., paper, Amulet Books, $18.95, (978-1419705472.) Will faces her fear of the dark, new friends, love, a hurricane and the death of her parents.
  • Hicks, Faith Erin. The Adventures of Superhero Girl. 2013, Illus., Dark Horse. $16.99, (978-1616550844.) The life of a superhero is not all monsters and flying - especially when you have no archnemesis and a more popular superhero brother.
  • Keenan, Sheila and Nathan Fox. Dogs of War. 2013, Illus., Scholastic/Graphix, $22.99, (978-0545128872.) Dogs can be heroes, too.
  • Kindt, Matt. MIND MGMT V.1: The Manager. 2013, Illus., Dark Horse, $19.99, (978-1595827975.) A journalist trails a missing passenger from “Amnesia Flight 815” and discovers a much bigger mystery.
  • Lepp, Royden. Rust V. 2: Secrets of the Cell. 2012, Illus., Archaia, $24.95, (978-1936393589.) Is Jet a killing machine or just a boy who's been used to fight a distant war?
  • McKay, Sharon and Daniel Lafrance. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. 2013, Illus., Annick Press, $27.95, (978-1554514892.) Kids are kidnapped and forced to be killers in Uganda's Resistance Army.
  • Sakisaka, Io.

Strobe Edge V.1. 2012, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421550688.)
Strobe Edge V.2. 2013, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421550695.)
Strobe Edge V.3. 2013, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421550701.)
Strobe Edge V.4. 2013, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421552705.)
Strobe Edge V.5. 2013, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421553139.)
Strobe Edge V.6. 2013, Illus., paper, VIZ Media, $9.99, (978-1421553146.)

Ninako has fallen in love for the first time and must learn how to navigate her feelings.

  • Shen, Prudence and Faith Erin Hicks. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. 2013, Illus., paper, First Second, $16.99, (978-1596436596.) The Cheerleaders and the Robotics Club join forces to get money for their school activities.
  • Yang, Gene Luen.

Boxers. 2013, Illus., paper, First Second, $18.99, (978-1596433595.) Little Bao's peaceful village is disrupted when a priest and a group of soldiers begin terrorizing the locals.
Saints. 2013, Illus., paper, First Second, $15.99, (978-1596436893.) Four-Girl is unwanted by her family, and finds solace amongst the Christians who are invading her country.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2013 picks here!


  • Backderf, DerfMy Friend Dahmer. 2012, illus., Abrams, paper, $17.95, 978-1419702174.
  • Fetter-Vorm, JonathanTrinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb. 2012, illus., Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, $22.00, 978-0809094684.
  • Lambert, JosephAnnie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. 2012, illus., Disney Hyperion/Disney Book Group, $17.99, 978-1423113362.


  • Bendis, Brian Michael and Sara PichelliUltimate Comics Spider-man, V.1. 2012, illus., Marvel, $24.99, 978-0785157120.
  • Hicks, Faith Erin. Friends with Boys. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $15.99, 978-1596435568.
  • Kwitney, Alisa, Rebecca Guay and others. A Flight of Angels2011, illus., DC/Vertigo, $24.99. 978-1401232009.
  • Long, Mark, Nate Powell and others. The Silence of Our Friends. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.99, 978-1596436183.
  • Murakami, TakashiStargazing Dog. 2011, illus., NBM Publishing, paper, $11.99, 978-1561636129.
  • Telgemeier, RainaDrama. 2012, illus., Scholastic/GRAPHIX, $23.99, 978-0545326988.
  • Waid, Mark, Paolo Manuel Rivera and Marcos MartinDaredevil V. 1. 2012, illus., Marvel, $19.99, 978-0785152378.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2012 picks here!

Amir and Khalil. “Zahra’s Paradise.” First Second, 2011

Bendis, Brian Michael and Alex Maleev. “Scarlet.” Marvel/Icon Comics, 2011.

Brosgal, Vera. “Anya’s Ghost.” First Second, 2011.

Gladstone, Brooke, Josh Neufeld, and others. “The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media.” W. W. Norton and Company, 2011.

Langridge, Roger, Chris Samnee, and others.
“Thor: The Mighty Avenger V. 1.” Marvel, 2010.
“Thor: The Mighty Avenger V. 2.” Marvel, 2011.

McLeod, Kagan. “Infinite Kung Fu.” Top Shelf, 2011.

Mori, Kaoru. “A Bride’s Story V. 1.” Yen Press, 2011.

Nicolle, Malachai and Ethan Nicolle. “Axe Cop V. 1.” Dark Horse, 2011.

Ralph, Brian. “Daybreak.” Drawn and Quarterly, 2011.

Shimura, Takako.  “Wandering Son V. 1.” Fantagraphics Books, 2011.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2011 picks here!

Aristophane. The Zabime Sisters. Trans. by Matt Madden. First Second, 2010. $16.99. 9781596436381.
Experience the first day of summer vacation with three sisters on their island home of Guadelupe.

Dayton, Brandon . Green Monk. Self-published, 2009. $4.99. 9780615382838.
A young monk with the most powerful blade of grass EVER wanders into battle with a fierce giant.

Iwaoka, Hisae. Saturn Apartments V. 1. VIZ Media, 2010. $12.99. 9781421533643.
Mitsu takes on his late father's dangerous job as a window washer on the space ship Saturn Apartments.

Kim, Susan, et. al. Brain Camp. First Second, 2010. $16.99. 9781596433663.
Two teens discover there is something far more sinister than nature hikes going on at their summer camp.

Layman, John and Rob Guillory. Chew V. 1: Taster’s Choice. Image Comics, 2009. $9.99. 9781607061595.
When Tony Chu has to investigate murder, just about anything can end up down the hatch.

Neri, G. and Randy Duburke. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Lee & Low Books, 2010. $16.95. 9781584302674.
The life, death and aftermath of an eleven-year-old gangbanger, based on a true tragedy.

Shiga, Jason. Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. Amulet Books, 2010. $15.95. 9780810984233.
Have you played any comics lately? Choose your own adventure.

Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Graphix, 2010. $10.99. 9780545132060.
Brace yourself: Middle School plus orthodontia equals dental drama.

TenNapel, Doug. Ghostopolis. Graphix, 2010. $14.99. 9780545210287.
Garth Hale has gone to the other side, but he’s not dead yet.

Weing, Drew. Set to Sea. Fantagraphics, 2010. $16.99. 9781606993682.
A lumbering poet discovers hardship and wisdom on the high seas.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2010 picks here!

Hardison, Jim and Bart Sears. The Helm. Dark Horse. 2009.

Igarashi, Daisuke. Children of the Sea, vol 1. VIZ Media. 2009.

Jensen, Van and Dusty Higgins. Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer. SLG Publishing. 2009.

Kelly, Joe and J.M. Ken Nimura. I Kill Giants. Image. 2009.

Lethem, Jonathan and Farel Dalrymple. Omega the Unknown. Marvel. 2008.

Love, Jeremy. Bayou, vol 1. DC Comics/Zuda. 2009.

Neufeld, Josh. A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge. Pantheon Books. 2009.

Siddell, Tom. Gunnerkrigg Court, vol 1: Orientation. Archaia Studios Press. 2009.

Urasawa, Naoki and Takashi Nagasaki. Pluto. VIZ Media. 2009.

Yoshinaga, Fumi. Ooku: The Inner Chambers, vol 1. VIZ Media. 2009.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2009 picks here!

Abel, Jessica, Gabriel Soria and Warren Pleece. Life Sucks. First Second. 2008. 978-1-59643-107-2. $19.95.

Ashihara, Hinako.
Sand Chronicles, v. 1. VIZ. 2008. 978-1-4215-1477-2. $8.99.
Sand Chronicles, v. 2. VIZ. 2008. 978-1-4215-1478-9. $8.99.
Sand Chronicles, v. 3. VIZ. 2008. 978-1-4215-1479-6. $8.99.

Clevinger, Brian and Steve Wegener. Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne. 2008. Red Five Comics. 978-0-9809302-0-7. $18.99.

Inoue, Takehiko.
Real, v. 1. VIZ. 2008. 978-4215-1989-0. $12.99.
Real, v. 2. VIZ. 2008. 978-1-4215-1990-6. $12.99.

Ito, Junki. Uzumaki, v.1. VIZ. 2007. 978-1-4215-1389-8. $9.99.

Landowne, Youme and Anthony Horton. Pitch Black. Cinco Puntos Press. 2008. 978-1-9336-9306-4. $14.00.

Steinberger, Aimee Major. Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan. Go Comi. 2007. 978-1-933617-83-1. $16.99.

Tamaki, Mariko and Jilliam Tamaki. Skim. Groundwood Books. 2008. 978-0-8889-9753-1. $18.95.

Way, Gerard and Gabriel Ba. Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. Dark Horse. 2008. 978-1-59307-978-9. $17.95.

Wilson, G. Willow and M. K. Perker. Cairo. Vertigo. 2007. 978-1-4012-1140-0. $24.99.



See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2008 picks here!

Abadzis, Nick. Laika. First Second, 2007. $17.95 (ISNB13: ISBN13: 978-1596431010). How a small dog became the first cosmonaut.

Carey, Mike. Re-Gifters. DC/Minx, 2007. $9.99 (ISNB13: ISBN13: 978-1-4012-0371-9). Win the championship or get the guy? Fiction.

Fleming, Ann Marie. The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. Penguin Group, 2007. $14.00 (ISBN13: 978-1594482649). Ann Marie traces the path of her great-grandfather's life, uncovering her roots and the magic behind them. Nonfiction.

Giffen, Keith. Blue Beetle: Shell-shocked. DC Comics,        2006. $12.99 (ISBN13: 978-1401209650); Blue Beetle: Road Trip. DC Comics, 2007. $12.99 (ISBN13: 978-1401213619). It's tough being a superhero when you have a curfew. Fiction.

Iwahara, Yuji. King of Thorn, vol. 1. Tokyopop, 2007. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-59816-235-6); King of Thorn, vol. 2. Tokyopop, 2007.     $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-59816-236-3). Awaking to a dangerous new world, can seven strangers escape their doom when danger lurks around every corner? Fiction.

Loux, Matthew. Sidescrollers. Oni Press, 2007. $11.95 (ISBN13: 978-1-932664-50-8). Slacker vs. jock. Good cat vs. bad cat. And the love of a girl hangs in the balance. Fiction.

Mizushiro, Setona.
After School Nightmare, vol. 1. Go Comi!, 2006. $10.99 (ISBN13: 978-1933617169)
After School Nightmare, vol. 2.” Go Comi!, 2006. $10.99 (ISBN13: 978-1933617176)
After School Nightmare, vol. 3. Go Comi!, 2007. $10.99 (ISBN13: 978-1933617244)
After School Nightmare, vol. 4. Go Comi!, 2007. $10.99 (ISBN13: 978-1933617336)
After School Nightmare, vol. 5. Go Comi!, 2007. $10.99 (ISBN13: 978-1933617480).
Ichijou's struggle through the dream world will help him determine his identity. Fiction.

Mori, Kaoru. Emma, vol. 1. CMX, 2006. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-4012-1132-5); Emma, vol. 2. CMX, 2006. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-4012-1133-2); Emma, vol. 3. CMX, 2007. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-4012-1134-9); Emma, vol. 4. CMX, 2007. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-4012-1135-6); Emma, vol. 5. CMX, 2007. $9.99 (ISBN13: 978-1-4012-1136-3). In Victorian England, how long can the love of a lady's maid and a gentleman survive? Fiction.

Sis, Peter. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2007. $18.00 (ISBN13: 978-0-374-34701-7). When your hairstyle, music and art are regulated, how do you find your voice? Nonfiction.

Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. Arthur A. Levine, 2007. $19.99 (ISBN13: 978-0439895293). How do you build a new life when everything around you is so strange? Fiction.




See all the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2007 picks here!

Ellis, Warren, Stuart Immonen. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.(V. 1). 2006. Marvel Enterprises, hardcover, $19.99. (978-0-7851-2278-4).  Kick-@$$ super-agents. Renegade corporations. Widdle cuddly bears of death.

Hernandez, Gilbert, Jared K. Fletcher. Sloth. 2006. DC Comics/ Vertigo, hardcover, $19.99. (978-1-4012-0366-5).  When Miguel wakes up after exactly a year in a coma, he and his friends pursue the truth behind a local urban legend.

Medley, Linda. Castle Waiting. 2006. Fantagraphics Books, hardcover, $29.95. (978-1-56097-747-6).  What happens when happily-ever-after begins? Find out with Lady Jain and the new inhabitants of Briar Rose's castle.

Meltzer, Brad, Rags Morales. Identity Crisis. 2005. DC Comics, paper, $24.99. (978-1-4012-0688-8).  Dirty secrets boil to the surface when a hero's wife is murdered in the DC Universe.

Ohba, Tsugumi, Takeshi Obata.
Death Note (V. 1). 2005. VIZ Media, paper, $7.99. (978-1-4215-0168-0).
Death Note (V. 2). 2005. VIZ Media, paper, $7.99. (978-1-4215-0169-7).
Death Note (V. 3). 2006. VIZ Media, paper, $7.99. (978-1-4215-0170-3).
A brilliant but troubled teen uses a supernatural notebook to kill criminals. Is it justice or just murder?

Vaughan, Brian K, Adrian Alphona.
True Believers: Runaways (V. 4). 2005. Marvel Enterprises, paper, $7.99. (978-0-7851-1705-6).
Escape to New York: Runaways(V. 5). 2006. Marvel Enterprises, paper, $7.99. (978-0-7851-1901-2).
Parental Guidance: Runaways (V. 6). 2006. Marvel Enterprises, paper, $7.99. (978-0-7851-1952-4).
The continuing adventures of teens determined to outrun their parents’ villainous legacy while fighting crime and each other.

Vaughan, Brian K, Niko Henrichon. Pride of Baghdad. 2006. DC Comics/ Vertigo, hardcover, $19.99. (978-1-4012-0314-6).  Freed from captivity by the 2004 bombing of Baghdad, four lions struggle to survive the bloody aftermath.

Whitta, Gary, Ted Naifeh. Death, Jr. 2005. Image Comics, paper, $14.99. (978-1-58240-526-1).  Being the Grim Reaper's son can have its down sides. 

Wood, Brian, Becky Cloonan. Demo: The Collection. 2005. AiT/Planet Lar, paper, $19.95. (978-1-932051-42-1).  Despite extraordinary powers and abilities, the young adults in these 12 gritty stories discover that decisions about life still don’t come easy.

Yang, Gene Luen, Lark Pien. American Born Chinese. 2006. Roaring Brook Press/ First Second, paper, $16.95. (978-1-59643-152-2).  Three seemingly unrelated tales expose an unexpected connection to form a tale of self-acceptance and identity.