While there are lots of great comics out there, it can be difficult to find graphic novels that feature girls or women as protagonists or that have female creative teams. To fill that gap, we’ve attempted to put together a list of the very best graphic novels for girls and teens released in the past year.
While the list is intended for kids, many of the books are wonderful for adults as well. Good literature transcends age.
Without further ado, here are the 10 best graphic novels of 2017 for girls and teens.
In a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future,15-year-old Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astral project to other planets while she sleeps. After she accidentally causes a young man to get hurt, she must figure out how to control her new powers so she can return to set things right. Meanwhile, back on Earth, her parents have temporarily left her in charge of Inotu, her 13-year-old brother. When Inotu draws the ire of a cybernetically enhanced bodyguard, the siblings are forced to flee across the barren desert. As her situation becomes more perilous, will Boetema be able learn to learn from her mistakes and to trust her brother? Writer Leila del Duca and artist Kit Seaton bring this innovative coming-of-age story to life.
All’s Faire in Middle School
Victoria Jamieson’s follow up to her Newberry Honor-winning debut Roller Girl, is another bittersweet story about the trials and tribulations of middle-school. Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has spent her life being homeschooled and working with her parents at the Renaissance Faire. She’s ready to begin her training as a squire, but needs to prove her bravery. What better way than to conquer the dangerous terrain of public school? In school Impy finds girls that are really nice — until they aren’t. Suddenly she is ashamed of her thrift-store clothes, her messy apartment and her weird lifestyle. Will Impy ever get the courage needed to be a knight? Or will she find out she was really a dragon all along?
America Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez
Young-adult novelist Gabby Rivera and superstar artist Joe Quinones teamed up to bring the solo adventures of former Young Avgener and current leader of the Ultimates America Chavez to life. The queer, Latina interdimensional teen heroine takes on an entirely new challenge: college. Between classes she takes time to break up an alien cult that literally worships the ground that she walks on and takes a jaunt through time to help Captain America accomplish his most important task: punching Hitler in the face.
Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham
Superstar writer Tom King reinvigorates a title that barely needed it: Batman. A new dynamic duo has invaded Batman’s city: a pair of metahumans calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl. With superhuman powers and a drive to protect all that is good, it seems like Gotham is safer than ever. But when the superpowered duo begins to suspect that Batman is the source of the evil that plagues the city, it sets up a showdown for the very soul of Gotham. Simply put, this is one of the best superhero comics on the shelf right now. Pencils by David Finch.
JY (Yen Press)
Svetlana Chmakova’s follow-up to the award-winning Awkward tells the story of Jensen, who is the greatest hero the world as ever known — in his daydreams. Real life is much more difficult. Middle school is full of pitfalls. Math, uncertain friendships, even finding a partner for a project is hard when you are always picked last. Can Jensen overcome his fears to become the hero he always dreamed he could be?
Hawkeye Vol. 1: Anchor Points
Remember Hawkeye? No, not him. Her. The one who has her life together. (Sort of.) As the only Hawkeye left in the game, Kate Bishop moved to the West Coast, got her P.I. license and with bow in hand, she’s bringing law and order to the City of Angels. Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero pick up where Matt Fraction and David Aja left off — exploring the everyday adventures of one of Marvel’s most compelling young heroes.
Mighty Thor Vol. 2: Lords of Midgard
Jason Aaron continues his epic run on The Mighty Thor in this second volume. Thor has her hands full battling the twin evils of the Roxxon Oil Company and the Dark Elf Malekith. So how is she going to fight off a new threat: the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And Loki spins an age-old tale from the far past when a young Odinson fought a hulking enemy that you definitely don’t want to make angry. The book is beautifully illustrated by longtime penciller Russell Dauterman.
The Stone Heart: The Nameless City
The Stone Heart, the second novel in Faith Erin Hicks “Nameless City” trilogy, picks up where the original left off. Kaidu and Rat are recovering from the assassination attempt on the General of all Blades. But now Kaidu is faced with a new challenge. He is almost certain that he has discovered the formula for the lost weapon of the founders of the City, but if he gives this vital weapon to his superiors, Rat woud see it as the ultimate betrayal. Can Kai navigate these treacherous waters and manage to avoid all-out war while still maintaining his friendship?
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 6
If you bet that 2017 was the year that Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was going to stop being one of the most awesome things on the planet — well, you lost some money. Ryan North and Erica Henderson continue to knock it out of the park in this latest volume, which finds Squirrel Girl the recipient of a high-tech suit that allows her to fly — making her even more unbeatable (if that’s possible). There is no chance that this is secretly a supervillain attempting to corrupt our hero, is there? Oh, and there are bears with machine guns. BEARS WITH MACHINE GUNS! Why are you still reading this instead of buying the book? Go!
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One
Since her debut in Sensation Comics #1 in 1942, Wonder Woman’s powers, personality and origins have been continually updated to reflect changes in cultural norms and the world around her. For the recent DC Rebirth event, master storyteller Greg Rucka updates the Amazon champion’s origin — but instead of erasing the numerous contradictory origin stories that preceded his run, Rucka clevely wove them into the narrative — revitalizing Diana’s origins while honoring the work that had come before. Coupled with Nicola Scott’s gorgeous pencils, and you have one of the very best books of the year.