Your Guide to Summer 2024 YA Graphic Novels and Comics Releases


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Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She’s the editor/author of (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Are you a fan of YA books? What about comics and graphic novels? Then you’re in for dozens of treats as this summer’s collection of YA comics and graphic novels is out of this world good. There are cozy fantasies, engaging memoirs, and so much more.

This roundup of summer 2024 YA comics and graphic novels has a few parameters. It does not include titles from superhero series or long-time franchises, nor does it include ongoing manga series. Those are worthy of discussion, but this isn’t the particular post for it. Instead, what you’ll find here are comics and graphic novels written explicitly for YA readers and published either as brand-new series or stand-alone titles.

Over the last several years, the world of YA comics publishing has exploded, and more publishers have developed imprints that exclusively put out works for teen readers (and not-so-teen readers who enjoy these stories).

Although the list below is not comprehensive, it is pretty thorough and covers a wide range of YA comics hitting shelves between July and September 2024. I’ve broken them down by publication date. Though there are plenty of comics on here for these summer months, the number of comics hitting shelves is smaller than in earlier seasons and smaller than what you’ll see in the coming ones. That means that the selection here isn’t quite as diverse as usual—but don’t worry because this is but a slice of titles in a specific time frame and far from representative of YA comics this year, let alone more broadly.

I use both the terms “comics” and “graphic novels” interchangeably in this post and in other writing about these types of books for a purpose. Comics are a format of presenting a story through illustration. It’s a broad and encompassing term of all the genres and styles within it. Graphic novels are a little more specific in that they are fictional stories told through the comic format. Compare that to graphic nonfiction or graphic memoir—both of which tell true stories in the comic format. Still, the phrase “graphic novel” is one that is used interchangeably with comic, even though it is more specific, so it’s worth utilizing both to help those who are just discovering or beginning their journey into these books. (And as a related aside, “graphic” used in front of “novel” or “memoir” or “nonfiction” makes these books easy targets for book banners because folks who seek to remove these titles from schools and libraries do not care that “graphic” refers to the format and not the content itself).

All of the titles include the author, as well as the illustrator and colorist, if those differ from the author. If you only see one name, that is who created all elements of the book.

Now onto the YA comics!

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First Test by Tamora Pierce, illustrated by Becca Farrow

Pierce’s spin on knights, rendered in her The Protector of the Small series, gets a graphic novel take. Tortall has a new rule that women can train for knighthood, and Keladry is going to be the first to take advantage of it. She knows it’ll be a lot of work, but the challenge she’s worried about isn’t the work of being a page. It’s Lord Wyldon, who doesn’t believe women should have the right to become knights. As training master, his say has too much influence—and the consequences for Keladry aren’t small. She will be forced to undergo a year-long trial that none of her male peers have ever endured. But Kel will fight until she succeeds.

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Woe: A Housecat’s Story of Despair by Lucy Knisley

Knisley began this series of comics online, telling the story of a housecat named Linney. Linney is dramatic, to say the least. This book collects the original webcomics and offers readers a hilarious view into the world of a cat who has a whole lot to say.

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Sparks Volume 1: Portals by Revel Guts

A coming-of-age queer space romance? Say no more!

Philo isn’t a great student, and that’s not because he doesn’t have powers—those are, err, too good—but because he’s just unmotivated. But he’s nearing graduation and his lack of ambition is catching up with him.

Atlas is a star student, opposite of Philo in just about every way. When the two are teamed up for a group project, things go haywire when Philo’s magic sends them far from home. Can they conquer their differences and get back before it’s too late?

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Youth Group by Jordan Morris, illustrated by Bowen McCurdy

Kay’s mom is forcing her to join the church youth group. Kay is not exactly looking forward to the clean-cut “fun,” especially because she is the furthest thing from youth group material imaginable.

But when Kay goes and discovers that her peers and the youth group leaders are participating in an exorcism, her perspective shifts. There’s a war brewing. A secret war. The youth group is preparing to go to battle.

As much as Kay wants to stay out of it all, she cannot help but do so. She doesn’t have the power her peers have and in this war, not having it means she’s a target. Now she has to put her trust and her time into the hands of her youth group in this comic compared to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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The Ghostkeeper by Johanna Taylor

Dorian Leith sees ghosts, but no one in town believes him. Dorian doesn’t just see ghosts, though. He’s there to listen to their problems as a way for them to get admission into the afterlife.

This is all a schtick to the townspeople. The only people who believe him and his ability are his grandmother, who is helping him make a living from the work (she’s dead, btw), as well as a local bookstore owner. This isn’t a curse to Dorian. It’s what he’s meant to do.

So when the key to Death’s Door goes missing, locking every ghost out of the afterlife, the ghosts are begging Dorian to do something. Only he knows their problem, meaning only he knows how to solve it and find the key. If they can’t get into the afterlife, they will be consumed by rot.

Dorian wants to help them, but he will need help himself in order to make it happen. Can he convince the people in his real life about the ghosts? About their need for help? Or will everyone be dealing with the effects of ghost rot, whether living or attempting to find the afterlife?

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Our Beautiful Darkness by Ondjaki, illustrated by António Jorge Gonçalves, and transalted by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

In 1990s Angola, in the midst of a civil war, the power goes out in the neighborhood. That leads to a teen boy and teen girl starting a conversation in a backyard. The darkness lends itself to the two of them sharing some of their most vulnerable stories and feelings, creating a connection that has more power than electricity itself.

This is translated from Portuguese.

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Hovergirls by Geneva Bowers

Cousins Jalissa and Kim Vasquez have just moved to Los Aguaceros. Jalissa had a mega breakdown last year and this is her opportunity to pull herself together. Kim, on the other hand, has her sights set on fame through modeling and fashion design.

But then something weird happens at the beach, leaving the cousins with supernatural powers….and leaving the city teaming with monsters. Kim sees it as the chance for the cousins to become famous as they save their city. Except it won’t be as easy as it sounds, since Los Aguaceros has secrets of its own beyond the monsters attacking it.

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Loving, Ohio by Matthew Erman, illustrated by Sam Beck

Sloane, Elliott, Cameron, and Ana just lost a friend to suicide, and they’re holding onto one another and hoping to just make it through the rest of high school unscathed. That won’t be easy in Loving, Ohio, though. Loving is the home to and fuel for the growth of The Chorus, a cult which has taken hold throughout town. Can they survive when every person they should trust and believe in has ties to The Chorus?

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Ash’s Cabin by Jen Wang

Ash doesn’t believe anyone cares about the world around her like she does. Grown-ups seem oblivious to the climate crisis, and people her own age are way too into celebrities to worry about the future of the planet. Grandpa Edwin felt different, though. He often told Ash that he planned to build a secret cabin deep in the woods.

Now Ash needs to know: did he build it? As they venture into the wilderness to find out, Ash must learn whether or not they are prepared for the self-discovery journey upon which they’ll begin to embark.

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Full Shift by Jennifer Dugan, illustrated by Kit Seaton

Tessa doesn’t fit it. She doesn’t feel like she can confess the way she feels about her friend Maggie, and she feels like an outsider in her werewolf family, since she’s unable to shift into her full werewolf form.

Then hunters begin to infiltrate her pack’s home. Word is that they have found a way to return werewolves to their human form. Tessa’s excited about this, thinking it would help her solve a lot of her problems. Of course, nothing is that straightforward, as the hunters have a whole host of other plans. But Tessa might be the only one who can step in and protect the people she loves most.

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Indiginerds edited by Alina Pete

Created by an entirely Indigenous creative team, this anthology of 11 short comics showcases the breadth and depth of contemporary Indigenous culture. Some of the themes throughout the collection include fandom, garage bands, missed connections at pow wow, and more.

September

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Little Moons by Jen Storm, illustrated by Ryan Howe

Over the last few years, the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have become a topic seen more frequently in the media and in literature. In Little Moons, 13-year-old Reanna and her family are grieving the disappearance of Reanna’s older sister Chelsea. She went missing on her way home from school a year ago, and it threw the family into chaos. Reanna’s mom cannot stand to live on the reserve anymore because of how the memories are haunting her, so she moves to the big city, leaving Reanna, her little brother, and her father behind.

Reanna is, understandably, angry and confused by her mom’s decision. But it’s not just the loss of her sister and mother that’s keeping her up at night. It’s the way she knows she’s not alone, thanks to lights that turn on by themselves, things that move without being touched, and more.

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Luminous Beings by David Arnold, illustrated by Jose Pimienta

Set over one night, this comic is about the ways long-term friendships change and evolve over time and when those within that friendship are on the precipice of huge change. Ty and Burger have been friends forever, and their future plans are pretty straightforward. They’re going to make a documentary about the ways humans are near extinction thanks to invading zombie squirrels (“squizzies”) and use it to apply to film school. Then, they’re going to become the most legendary filmmaking team in history. Their friends Miles and Fib will help them pull it off in one rowdy night.

There’s something else going on, though, besides the ways the squizzies will be conquering humans. Ty has a huge secret, and when it comes out, the course of the future he and Burger have planned will be altered forever.

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Mismatched: A Modern Retelling of Emma by Anne Camlin, illustrated by Isadora Zeferino

Evan Horowitz is a star. He’s gorgeous, smart, and a mega Insta influencer in his town with a knack for matchmaking. When Natalia moves to town, Evan knows he’s got the opportunity to show off those love connection skills. There are so many potential matches for Natalia. When Evan chooses one against the advice of his best friend Davi, it might be that his own ambition becomes not only his downfall but chaos that Natalia, Davi, and others have to deal with, too.

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Morgana and Oz: Volume One by Miyuli

The popular Webtoon is getting its time in print and this volume collects the first 19 episodes of the fantasy series.

Morgana is a struggling witch from a long family line of witches. Oz is an angsty vampire from a clan rivaling Morgana’s family. When the two of them meet by chance (and spell), they cannot help the connection they have. But is it safe? Can they allow each other their feelings, given their roles in the world, or will it lead to nothing but war?

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Please Be My Star by Victoria Grace Elliott

Imagine Phantom of the Opera but as a high school rom-com and you’ve got this comic.

Erika is weird and she’d tell you that herself. She mostly keeps to her own hobbies and interests, including obsessing over pop stars. But when she’s forced to go to a new school, her otherwise keep-to-herself attitude evolves, turning into an obsession with one of the school’s most popular boys, Christian.

Christian is super nice to Erika, despite her being a little off-putting, and he agrees to star in a play she’s written for him. For Erika, this is maybe a chance to hone her creative voice but the longer she’s working with Christian on the play, the more she’s doubting herself and wondering why he’d want to spend so much time with her. But her self-doubt has a way of working itself into and out of her play, just as much as Christian might have a bigger reason behind not only his kindness but his eagerness to star in Erika’s show.

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Between the Pipes by Albert McLeod, Elaine Mordoch, and Sonya Ballantyne, illustrated by Alice RL

Chase is 13 and a goalie for his hockey team the Eagles. He’s got good friends and a good family, but things for him are anything but as simple as they should be. He’s different from his peers, especially on the hockey team, in big part because he knows he’s gay. He worries everyone on the team knows this and that they hate him for it.

That shame has led to difficult dreams at night. He keeps seeing a bear spirit, and he knows that he should listen to what it has to say, rather than continue to hide from it (and who he really is). With the help of an Elder and a Two-Spirit mentor, Chase is going to find the strength and courage to be who he really is while understanding the ways toxic masculinity in his hockey community has made him ashamed of his true self.

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I Felt Myself Slipping by Ray Nadine

Riley is a level 10 gymnast. She’s also hard of hearing and just lost her dad in a car accident, which means when her family moves, she’s struggling to reckon with the grief and to fit in. The new gymnastics gym isn’t as welcoming as she’d hoped, especially because no one knows ASL, nor does it seem like they want to learn in order to communicate with her.

Then she meets Kota, another student at the gym, and they build a quick bond. Kota does make the effort to learn ASL to connect with Riley. The problem is that both girls are Olympic hopefuls and, despite the connections they’re making, that competition might drive a wedge between them.

This one’s for readers who love sports comics, stories about mental health and grief, and the explorations of queer friendship.


If you haven’t yet, check out the spring 2024 YA comics that you can pick up on the shelf right now.





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