2023 Staff Picks: Graphic Novels

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • The Talk

    2023 by Bell, Darrin

    A poignant exploration of life as a Black man and parent, this book explores racism with gravity, vulnerability, and humor. Intricately weaving a narrative that includes ‘the talk’ and his lifelong struggle against racism and ongoing prejudice, this is a work of hard-earned wisdom. Suggested by Chris.

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  • In Limbo

    2023 by Lee, Deborah

    I often reach for graphic novels when I want to read something in one sitting, but I had to process this book one piece at a time. There’s a lot to take in, and it’s all worth it. It’s a beautiful example of art and vulnerability, with themes of identity, culture, mental health, friendship, and family. Suggested by Elise.

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  • A Guest in the House

    2023 by Carroll, Emily

    A striking blend of horror, fairy tale, and every day banality. This book will keep you on your toes with great plot twists, gorgeous illustrations, and a shocking ending. Suggested by Susanne and Rummanah.

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  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures

    2023 by Payne, CRC

    While I normally like my superhero stories to be dark, violent, and grim, sometimes I need a palate cleanser. There’s none better than these brisk, cheerful, and bright stories set among Batman’s found family of youthful sidekicks, including multiple Robins. Suggested by Steven.

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  • Hungry Ghost

    2023 by Ying, Victoria

    I was captivated by this emotional young adult graphic novel. Valerie is a young woman struggling with an eating disorder, grief, and family issues. As she finds the path to healing, she must reevaluate the influences in her life. Suggested by Brenna.

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  • Northranger

    2023 by Terciero, Rey

    I loved this queer, contemporary take on Austen's Northanger Abbey. It is a wonderful coming-out story with nuanced relationships and a gothic creep factor that proves, "yes, a horse farm in Texas can be haunting." Suggested by Grace.

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  • Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me about Life, Death, and Hope

    2023 by Krosoczka, Jarrett

    I am a big fan of Krosoczka's graphic memoirs, as his art has a special way of taking the hardest moments of his life and sucking me right in. Be prepared for some tears! Suggested by Denise.

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  • Nottingham: A King's Ransom

    2022 by Hazan, David

    Since I was a kid, I have loved the legend of Robin Hood and have read nearly every retelling and reimaging there is. Hazan has accomplished the impossible--make Robin Hood seem fresh and new to me. This is a bloody, gruesome dark take on Robin and his not-so-merry men and I loved every violent page. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    2023 by Muniz, Deya

    I was absolutely charmed by this delightful, sweet rom-com graphic novel that explores questions of identity, honesty, and being true to oneself. A great pick for fans of Heartstopper. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics


    Twenty-nine trans and nonbinary artists contributed to this anthology about their personal journeys. I enjoyed the different viewpoints, as well as the different flavors of art. Suggested by Susanne.

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  • Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story

    2023 by Wertz, Julia

    I devoured this graphic memoir chronicling Wertz’s journey to sobriety. There’s nothing dark or tragic in these pages, and it’s sometimes meandering, but she’s a master of making the quotidian entertaining, and you can’t help but root for her. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Pearl of the Sea

    2023 by Silverston, Anthony

    I love octopuses and thought this was a lovely graphic novel about one teenager's unusual friendship with a giant octopus. Reading it, I was touched by how her kindness, determination, and courage changed her life and small town. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Project Nought

    2023 by Furedi, Chelsey

    I love a time travel, dystopian-esque adventure story about teens rising up against corruption. Add in an adorable queer romance and mind-blowing science-fiction twist, and I was hooked. Suggested by Grace.

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  • This Country: Searching for Home in (Very) Rural America

    2023 by Mahdavian, Navied

    Mahdavian’s graphic memoir beautifully encapsulates his three-year sojourn in rural Idaho, seeking the ‘millennial dream’ with his wife. Open-hearted and beautifully illustrated, he portrays their life in the wide expanse of the landscape and the casual bigotry of their neighbors. A beautiful, heartfelt self-exploration of identity and place. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Nervosa

    2023 by Gold, Hayley

    Disordered eating is an insidious, debilitating illness and Gold’s graphic memoir unflinchingly details her own experience with anorexia nervosa. Dark, gallows humor helps. That the book ends without closure makes all that's come before all the more heartbreaking and courageous. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Washington's Gay General: The Legends and Loves of Baron Von Steuben

    2023 by Trujillo, Josh

    I enjoyed learning about an often undiscussed part of history: that of LGBTQIA history makers. This is the story of Baron von Steuben, a key figure in the Revolutionary War who was largely omitted from the history books. Suggested by Susanne.

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  • Roaming

    2023 by Tamaki, Mariko

    Capturing a lively weekend getaway in NYC with three Canadian undergraduates, this graphic novel gets what it’s like to be young, searching, cynical, queer, and wanting only to connect. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller, the Man Who Created Nancy

    2023 by Griffith, Bill

    A brilliant graphic biography by Bill Griffith, who happily takes us through the life of Ernie Bushmiller and his famous Nancy comic. Of course, Griffith himself is a wildly inventive comic savant, and this work overflows with affection, whimsy and comic-strip history. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Lore Olympus

    2021 by Smythe, Rachel

    I love this modern interpretation/retelling of the love story between Persephone and Hades because it is dark, sweet, and full of beautiful art. I liked seeing Greek mythology brought to life in a modern retelling. Suggested by Susanne.

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