I love a good swoony romance, and you can’t beat a romantic graphic novel or comic for swoon factor. The visuals of first love or falling in love playing out are just so fun to read, and I am always so impressed by the various illustrators’ interpretation of those tentative first connections — the furtive glances, first time holding hands, and of course, first kisses. Graphic novel illustrators really understand that first love is all about the small moments of connection!
Surprisingly, there aren’t as many YA graphic novels that I would classify as purely romance out there, but there are plenty that explore romance and new relationships blended with other genres, such as coming-of-age, sports stories, paranormal, and fantasy. Plus, one of the great things about YA graphic novels and comics in general is that they tend to showcase queer characters in greater proportions than prose fiction, and many, many, many of these books are very queer! So without further ado, here are some of the most romantic and swoon-worthy graphic novels and comics for your reading pleasure — I hope they make you feel all the happy feelings as you read!
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
The inspiration behind the new Netflix TV series, this is the first in a four-book series about Charlie and Nick, two boys who have always existed in each other’s periphery, but when they’re forced to sit next to each other at school, they strike up a friendship and soon Charlie is falling for Nick…even though he’s sure he doesn’t have a chance.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Nova is a witch who is investigating some supernatural oddities in the woods one night when she stumbles upon Tam, a werewolf and her estranged childhood friend, battling a demon. Nova takes in Tam and learns that they are cursed, and she promises to help them break it. But as they investigate what they need to do to free Tam, they find themselves falling for each other.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
Deja and Josiah are best work friends at the Disneyland of pumpkin patches, and it’s the Halloween of their senior year, so it’ll be their last night working together. Josiah wants to go to work like normal, but Deja is insistent that they throw duty to the wind and give Josiah the chance to finally profess his love for his crush. Their plan goes hilariously awry, but they both might find unexpected love by the end of the night.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Eric used to be a figure skater, but now he’s the newest member of his college hockey team and it’s not like anything he ever expected. On top of the physical demands of the sport, there’s Jack, Eric’s very cute and very off-limits captain. As Eric works to survive his first two years of college, he finds himself falling for Jack.
Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau
Ari wants nothing more than to escape to the city and start his life, but he’s anchored at home by his family’s Greek bakery. When Ari meets Hector, his replacement at the bakery, he thinks it’s the perfect solution…but as Ari shows Hector the ropes, they start to develop feelings for each other. If he falls for Hector, where does that leave all of Ari’s plans to get away?
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Morgan is a teenager living on an island community where she feels boxed in on all sides. She can’t wait to leave home and start her real life, one where she doesn’t have to pretend that she doesn’t like other girls. But when she meets Keltie, a fun and intriguing girl who seems to have come from the sea, Morgan’s view of herself and her life is challenged. They begin to fall for each other, but can they truly be together when they both are keeping so many secrets?
Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Jamie Green
In this fun, new series, Vi is excited to start at Arden Hall, and it’s not long before she develops a crush on Orsino. She wants to ask him to the dance, but things get messy when she realizes that everyone assumes she’s not into guys…and then Orsino asks Vi to help him woo his crush, Olivia…who has a crush on Vi!
Batter Royale by Leisl Adams
Rose is a small town waitress who inadvertently impresses a food critic and finds herself competing in an intense 10-day baking competition with her best friend Fred at her side. Despite her talent and grit, the competition can get a little dirty — can Rose hack it while also finding love?
Crumbs by Danie Stirling
In this lightly magical book, Ray is a seer who loves nothing more than visiting a bakery where the treats make you feel various emotions. She enjoys indulging in romance, but finds the real deal with Laurie, a barista and musician. When Ray is unable to predict her future with Laurie, it leaves her questioning everything about her first romance.
Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise, and Oscar O. Jupiter
Annie is an antisocial lesbian strong-armed into trying out for the cheer squad by her mom and principal. Bebe is the cheer team’s first openly trans member, and their captain. The two girls strike up a friendship when Annie makes the squad and they spend time training together. As their friendship deepens into romance, Annie learns how to support Bee as she finds her voice and her footing as a true captain and not just a figurehead.
Looking for more great YA graphic novel recommendations? Check out our roundup of the newest releases!