The Best Graphic Novels, as Chosen by a High School Comic Book Club

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Lucas Maxwell


Lucas Maxwell has been working with youth in libraries for over fifteen years. Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, he's been a high school librarian in London, UK for over a decade. In 2017 he won the UK's School Librarian of the Year award and in 2022 he was named the UK Literacy Association's Reading For Pleasure Teacher Champion. He loves Dungeons & Dragons and is the author of Let's Roll: A Guide for Setting up Tabletop Roleplaying Games in Your School or Public Library. You can follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

In the high school library that I manage, we have a thriving comic book club that meets once weekly during lunch. This is a mixture of manga readers and comic book fans that come together to draw, talk about their favourite titles, and play games related to both comic books and manga. It’s hard for us to all sit and read the same comic book or manga series together, as the age ranges are from 11 to 18. What happens is that a huge range of titles are discussed, and it also ensures that nobody feels left out at all.

There is a lot of evidence out there to show that reading comics and manga is great for the brain and can develop literacy skills just like — or in some ways, better than — reading standard, traditional novels. That said, there is still a lot of stigma around comic books and manga, we still have students coming in with their comic books in hand telling me that their teacher or parent has sent them in to get a “real book.”

If you’re looking to get a tween or teen into comics, this post is all about the eight most popular graphic novels that our comic book club returns to on a continual basis. I hope you enjoy these titles as much as they do!

Booked book cover

Booked Graphic Novel (The Crossover Series) by Kwame Alexander

This is based on the verse novel by the same name, which is also extremely popular in our library. Booked is a thrilling story about a 12 year old named Nick who is the star of the soccer pitch. Throughout the story, he has to deal with a ton of emotionally draining and anxiety inducing events, such as the divorce of his parents. All of this, along with bullying he’s dealing with, build up and threaten his role as a soccer player and even as a student at his school. This is really great story that every library should have and one our comic book club loves.

Sheets comic book cover

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

I love this series as does our comic book club. This is dark, funny, strange, and melancholic, all wrapped into one great story. Marjorie is 13 years old and must take care of her father’s laundromat after the loss of their mother. Marjorie feels like she’s losing her own youth, but when she discovers a ghost in her washing machine, her life changes forever. The new ghost in her life introduces her to the ghost world and everyone in it. Soon, Marjorie’s world and the ghost world collide with unexpected and strange consequences. This one is a favourite with our teachers who use the library as well!

Rema Chronicles Book Cover

The Rema Chronicles Amy Kim Kibuishi

When Tabby’s father is found dead, she becomes obsessed with learning the truth. Following the bread crumbs, she is led to a strange tree which eventually hurtles her into the world of Rema. Rema is a weird and wonderful place, but it has its problems: it’s being invaded by a planet near to them in order for them to harvest Rema’s resources. Desperate to get home, Tabby finds herself locked into a battle between two worlds and inevitably discovers that she is meant for much more than she originally thought.

Wingbearer Cover

Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu and Teny Issakhanian

Zuli has had a very comfortable life in an entity known as The Great Tree. She has never had to experience hardship or had to prove herself in any way at all, and she seems to like this just fine. However, a strange and deadly power threatens the Great Tree, prompting her owl friend, Frowly, to give her some motivation to save the day. This comic has a huge twist to it that our readers love, tons of magic and adventure, and a really fun story. It’s new to our library, but our comic book club has taken a big interest in it.

Twins book cover

Twins by Varian Johnson

Maurine and Francine are twins and best friends, but when Francine decides to adopt a new personality and identity in order to stand out from everyone else, including her sister, tensions begin to rise. Our comic book club really loves stories about real life issues and emotions that they themselves might be feeling. Students also want to see strong central characters that look like they do as the heroes of their stories, which is very clear from the most popular comics that are being borrowed from our library.

Accursed Vampire book cover

The Accursed Vampire by Madeline McGrane

Dragoslava is a kid forever. Being a vampire can be fun, but it can also be draining. Even worse, Dragoslava has been cursed by a witch and wants this to end as soon as possible. The witch tells them they will end the curse if they retrieve a special spell book. Dragoslava and their friends take the witch up on this offer, however, this strange quest will change their lives forever! This is a very sweet and fun graphic novel with some very important themes, and I really enjoyed it!

Witch Boy Cover

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Aster knows that in their world, girls are witches and boys are warlocks. However, Aster doesn’t want to be a warlock; he wants to be a witch. The consequences of not complying with these rules are very, very harsh. However, when a dark magic threatens their way of life, Aster has a chance to prove that boys can not only be witches, but they can also save the day being the thing that they are destined to be no matter what society labels them. I cannot keep this title on the shelf! It is by far one of our most popular series.

Allergic cover

Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd

All Maggie wants is a puppy, and when her parents finally let her, she discovers that she’s allergic. It’s a heartbreaking experience for her. Even worse, her friend next door gets a new dog of her own, making her feel worse. Maggie must navigate feelings of disappointment, jealousy, and sadness in order to get through her ordeal. This is a really sweet story that resonates with a lot of readers. Again, it’s a story with a protagonist that could be any one of the students who read it.

It was hard to choose only eight comics, but these are the ones our club goes back to time and time again, I hope you enjoy them!

You might also be interested in The Most Popular UK YA Books As Chosen By Students and Ideas for Running a Comic Book Club In Your School Library.