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YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2011

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens. This year’s list includes 63 titles, which were drawn from 89 official nominations. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.

In addition, the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee created a Top Ten list of titles that exemplify the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences.

» Click here to see the complete list.

Brain Camp written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan; illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Neither artistic, dreamy Jenna nor surly, delinquent Lucas expected to find themselves at an invitation-only summer camp that turns problem children into prodigies. And yet, here they both are at Camp Fielding, settling in with all the other losers and misfits who’ve been shipped off by their parents in a last-ditch effort to produce a child worth bragging about.

But strange disappearances, spooky lights in the woods, and a chilling alteration that turns the dimmest, rowdiest campers into docile zombie Einsteins have Jenna and Lucas feeling more than a little suspicious . . . and a lot afraid.

Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice written by John Layman; illustrated by Rob Guillory

Special Introductory Price! Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. Collects CHEW #1-5.

Ghostopolis written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel

A page-turning adventure of a boy's journey to the land of ghosts and back.

Imagine Garth Hale's surprise when he's accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don't have, and he's stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth's newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

Green Monk by Brandon Dayton

Green Monk follows the adventures of a Monk cast out of his order, wandering a mythical Russian countryside. His only companion is a magical blade of grass that draws him into a brutal struggle against a terrifying foe.

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path, 3,856 Story Possibilities written and illustrated by Jason Shiga

Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (which is as ominous as it sounds). Down each of these paths there are puzzles, mysterious clues, and shocking revelations. It’s up to the reader to lead Jimmy to success or disaster.

Meanwhile is a wholly original story of invention, discovery, and saving the world, told through a system of tabs that take you forward, backward, upside down, and right side up again. Each read creates a new adventure!

Set to Sea written and illustrated by Drew Weing

The central character is a big lug and an aspiring poet who runs up tabs at the local bars by day and haunts the docks by night, writing paeans to the sea-faring life. When he gets shanghaied aboard a clipper bound for Hong Kong, he finds the sailor’s life a bit rougher than his romantic nautical fantasies. He helps rebuff a pirate assault, survives a gunshot to the eye, and learns to live—and love—a Conradian life on the sea, all the while writing poetry about pirates, bad food, unceremonial funerals, foreign ports, and unexpected epiphanies. By the end of his life, he’s found satisfaction in living a life of adventure and finding a receptive and appreciative readership. What more could one ask for?

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty written by G. Neri; illustrated by Randy Duburke

Eleven-year old Roger is trying to make sense of his classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's death, but first he has to make sense of Yummy's life. Yummy could be as tough as a pit bull sometimes. Other times he was as sweet as the sugary treats he loved to eat. Was Yummy some sort of monster, or just another kid? As Roger searches for the truth, he finds more and more questions. How did Yummy end up in so much trouble? Did he really kill someone? And why do all the answers seem to lead back to a gang-the same gang to which Roger's older brother belongs? Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is a compelling graphic dramatization based on events that occurred in Chicago in 1994. This gritty exploration of youth gang life will force readers to question their own understandings of good and bad, right and wrong.

The Zabime Sisters edited by Aristophane and Matt Fadden

Master storyteller Aristophane’s The Zabime Sisters takes a keen look at some of the universal experiences of children on the cusp of growing up, in the fascinating setting of Guadeloupe. Aristophane’s bold, graphic brushwork weaves a wild texture through this gentle, clear-eyed tale.

More books like the ones on this list »