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CYBILS Reviews 2022: Young Adult Graphic Novel Finalists and Winner

This is my final CYBILS post for this cycle. Here are the reviews for the CYBILS finalists for the category of Young Adult graphic novels.

Check out the locations of these books on my 2023 Google Calendar.

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American written and illustrated by Laura Gao. WINNER

5 stars. For anyone who has ever wondered who they are, how they fit in, and if there parents will ever stop nagging them, this graphic novel is spot on. I like that it gives Wuhan some context, broaches the Covid pandemic without making it the center of the story, and tells a story that many teens can relate to.

Across A Field of Starlight written and illustrated by Blue Delliquanti.

3.5 stars. While I think this graphic novel is well done (especially after reading the author's note at the end), and I like the illustrations, it didn't really work for me. But, I am not a sci-fi person. That said, the themes of small actions having big impact, people of all identities working and living together, helping one another is appealing. I think YA sci fi fans will really enjoy this.

The Greatest Thing written and illustrated by Sarah Winifred Searle

4.5 stars. There is so much in this graphic novel that teens will relate to: friendship, eating disorders, anxiety, crushes, parents, and dealing with course work on top of it all. And, it shows how they can ask for help without being preachy.

Huda F are You? written and illustrated by Huda Fahmy

4.5 stars. The simple but fun illustrations in this graphic novel set the tone. Every teenager can relate to feeling awkward, wondering who we are and how we fit in. While relatable to all teens, Fahmy also educates a wider audience about what it's like to be Muslim in the US without being preachy.

M is for Monster written and illustrated by Talia Dutton

4 stars. This is a story about family, unconditional love, figuring out who we are and our expectations of others. At first I wasn't sure about the all green illustrations, but I ended up feeling like they fit the story well. I think YA readers will like this one.

Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting written and illustrated by Kindra Neely

5 stars. Wow. This is so well done and tackles an issue (panic attacks, PTSD, etc) that can connect to many issues that teens deal with. The author is honest, raw, and shows that there is hope when she thought there was none. The illustrations compliment the text well.

Victory, Stand! Raising my Fist for Justice written by Tommie Smith, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile, and cowritten by Derrick Barnes

5 stars. I loved this graphic novel and how it covers both Tommie's growing up and his famous race/podium statement. The illustrations are great, conveying the emotions of the story. I think this would do really well with YA readers.

Challenges for which these books count:

  • Alphabet Soup (title)--A, G, H, M, N, V
  • Alphabet Soup (author)--A, B, D, F, G, N, S, W, 
  • Literary Escapes--Mexico, outer space, Michigan, California, China, Texas, Pennsylvania
  • Nonfiction--sports
  • Popsugar--Fat lead in a romance; main character's name is in the title; retelling of a classic (Frankenstein); forbidden romance; about a family

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