Best of 2020: Graphic Novels

Updated: January 29, 2021

The best books of the year, as selected by Los Angeles Public Library staff. Our staff is recommending graphic novels, for children, teens and adults. The category of graphic novels is a genre that includes fiction and non-fiction. Perfect for holiday gift-giving!

More books can be found at LAPL ReadsKids' PathTeen Web.

Book cover for Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir
Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir
Feder, Tyler
Call Number: 741.5 F293

A moving graphic memoir of a young woman trying to find herself after her mother dies from cancer. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this is a love letter to the author's mother, and a reminder that when you feel alone in loss, someone in the world understands you.

Book cover for Dragon Hoops
Dragon Hoops
Yang, Gene Luen
Call Number: 740.9999 Y22-10

Suspenseful and moving is Yang's true story of one high school team's quest for the title of California State Champions. He seamlessly blends the history of basketball, his own life story, and the personalities of the players to make a book for the ages.

Book cover for Flamer
Curato, Mike
Call Number: e-Book

It's 1995 and Aiden Navarro is spending the summer at scout camp before he starts high school. Camp is an escape from the bullying he faces at school and a break from his family problems. Even at camp though, Aiden still has to learn to stand up for himself and come to terms with his body image, religion and sexuality.

Book cover for Go With the Flow
Go With the Flow
Schneemann, Karen
Call Number: 740.9999 S358

A great middle grade graphic novel about best friends coming together to fight the stigma surrounding menstruation, normalize it, and take action to make tampons and pads accessible in the school restrooms. This is an informative as well as an uplifting story regarding the power of friendship. A section at the end, "How to be a Period Activist", gives tangible examples of how to become a period activist.

Book cover for Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel
Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel
Reynolds, Jason
Call Number: 741.5 R463

Striking art work brings Reynold’s stunningly beautiful novel to life. Set in 60 seconds, a teen must decide if he’s going to get revenge on the one he believes killed his brother.

Book cover for A Man & His Cat: Vol 1
A Man & His Cat: Vol 1
Sakurai, Umi
Call Number: 740.9999 M2665-2 v.1

This manga was a smash hit in Japan and is now available in English. In a pet shop, there is one forlorn kitten that keeps getting passed over by more attractive, charming ones. Just as his expiration date approaches, an older gentleman decides to take the kitten home.

Book cover for Snapdragon
Leyh, Kat
Call Number: x GN

Grades 5 - 9: Snapdragon befriends her town's crotchety old witch, Jacks, after Jacks rescues Snap's dog from a car accident. Snap thinks that witchcraft isn't real and Jacks is just an eccentric old lady, but she soon learns that there's more magic and mystery in the woods—and her own past—than she ever suspected.

Book cover for Venus in the blind spot
Venus in the blind spot
Itō, Junji, 1963-
Call Number: 740.9999 I887-7

A collection of short works by Junji Ito, the Eisner award-winning master of horror, who wrote the nightmare Uzumaki. Each title is a delicacy of horror with topics ranging from a Venus dealing with the pernicious effects of the male gaze to human-shaped fissures in the earth of mysterious origin. “Billions Alone" is the perfect representation of the isolation, desire for companionship, and the need to keep apart that we have all been affected by, due to the pandemic.

Book cover for When Stars are Scattered
When Stars are Scattered
Jamieson, Victoria
Call Number: x GN 305 M697Ja

A nuanced memoir of a Somali boy coming of age in a Kenyan refugee camp. Through the perspective of his younger self, in a slice-of-life manner, Omar presents his loving foster mother, the regular starvation, the joy of Eid celebrations, the helplessness of being one among millions in dire need of aid, and the friends who set him on the right path.