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Comics/Graphic Novels

5 YA Novels Turned Comics

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Kelly Jensen


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.

This list of YA novels turned comics was originally published in our YA newsletter, What’s Up in YA? Sign up for it here to get YA news, reviews, deals, and more!

Hey YA Readers!

I love the trends we’re seeing when it comes to adaptation of YA books to comics and adaptation of comics into YA books. It makes these stories accessible to so many more readers, while offering a chance to test the waters in a new format that might otherwise feel off-putting to some readers.

Let’s take a peek today at a handful of YA books that have been reimagined as comics in recent years (as well as one that will be coming out early in 2021).

Descriptions from ‘zon, since I’ve only read one of these so far. I’m itching to get my hands on the rest of them, you better believe it.

cover image of Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel by Ned Vizzini, David Levithan, and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini, David Levithan, and Nick Bertozzi

I love, love, love that this story is being given the chance to be discovered by a whole new generation and this time, as a graphic novel. It’s done well on stage and taking it to a visual story medium makes perfect sense.

Jeremy Heere is your average high school dork. Day after day, he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and dryly notes the small humiliations that come his way. Until the day he learns about the “squip.”

A pill-sized supercomputer that you swallow, the squip is guaranteed to bring you whatever you most desire in life. By instructing him on everything from what to wear, to how to talk and walk, the squip transforms Jeremy from geek to the coolest guy in class. Soon he is friends with his former tormentors and has the attention of the hottest girls in school.

But Jeremy discovers that there is a dark side to handing over control of your life — and it can have disastrous consequences.

cover image of Long Way Down (graphic novel version) by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and Danica Novgorodoff

Will’s older brother, Shawn, has been shot.


Will feels a sadness so great, he can’t explain it. But in his neighborhood, there are THE RULES:

No. 1: Crying. Don’t. No matter what.

No. 2: Snitching. Don’t. No matter what.

No. 3: Revenge. Do. No matter what.

But bullets miss. You can get the wrong guy. And there’s always someone else who knows to follow the rules…

cover image of Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Guy A. Sims, and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile (graphic novel version)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Guy A. Sims, and Dawud Anyabwile

Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions how his ordeal would play out on the big screen.

Guy A. Sims, the acclaimed author of the Brotherman series of comic books, collaborated with his brother, the illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, in this thrilling black-and-white graphic novel adaption of Monster.

Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist. Monster is also now a major motion picture called All Rise starring Jennifer Hudson, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Nas, and A$AP Rocky.

cover image of The Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor and illustrated by Mike Wyatt

The Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor and Mike Wyatt

A mesmerizing blend of vampire thriller and coming-of-age story — now available as a graphic novel. Newcomers to the Otter Lake native reserve don’t go unnoticed for long. So it’s no surprise that 16-year-old Tiffany’s curiosity is piqued when her father rents out her room to a complete stranger. But little do Tiffany, her father, or even her insightful Granny Ruth suspect the truth about their guest. The mysterious Pierre L’Errant has a dreadful secret. After centuries roaming Europe as a brooding vampire, he has returned home to reclaim his Native roots before facing the rising sun and certain death. Meanwhile, Tiffany is deeply troubled—she doubts her boyfriend is being faithful, has escalating disputes with her father, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else. Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L’Errant changes everything as Pierre introduces Tiffany to her proud Native heritage. For Pierre, though, destiny is fixed at sunrise. In this stunning graphic version of the award-winning novel first developed as a play in 1992, artist Mike Wyatt brings a brilliant story to visual life.

cover image of Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll

“Speak up for yourself ― we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless ― an outcast ― because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. With powerful illustrations by Emily Carroll, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak: The Graphic Novel comes alive for new audiences and fans of the classic novel.

So much great reading. If you’ve read the novel, I recommend visiting that story in its visual format, and if you’ve loved the comic, I recommend revisiting as a novel.