If you’re familiar with the graphic novel series, Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman, then you will know it is a really wholesome story about Nick and Charlie as they come to terms with their own identities while still dealing with life as teenagers. I’m so glad the books are being adapted into a TV show by Netflix but I wanted to find some new graphic novels to read that had a similar vibe to Heartstopper.
Here are some I loved:
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The Prince and the Dressmaker is my favourite out of all the ones listed here. It was simply beautiful – from the artwork to the story and I was rooting for all of the characters. I do have to point out that I went into this book without any knowledge at all of what the book entailed as I hadn’t read the blurb. I had heard so many great things though. It follows Prince Sebastian on his journey of self-acceptance. His parents are seeking a bride for their son but he’s hiding a secret. He spends his free time transforming his appearance. He hires his very own dressmaker, Frances, who helps create the most beautiful dresses so Sebastian can wear them. As time passes he finds it more and more difficult to keep the secret. It’s heartwarming to see Frances’ friendship blossom as well as see her designs come to life in the drawings on the page. I especially loved the fact that the author discusses gender identity throughout.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Mooncakes is filled with magic, witchcraft, tight family bonds and queer romance. It follows teen witch, Nova, who works in her grandmother’s magical bookshop. When Nova’s childhood friend, Tam Lang, comes into the shop one day, Nova discovers her friend has to face a dangerous battle with a demon. This is a really cute read and the artwork really brings the story to life. I liked the diversity in this book. Both of the main characters are Chinese-American and Tam is non-binary. I had a great time reading this graphic novel, particularly the character development.
Bloom by Kevin Pancetta and Savannah Ganucheau
If you love baking/ baked goods then this is probably the book for you – just make sure you have plenty of snacks on stand-by in case you get hungry as there are a lot of baking scenes. What I loved about Bloom is the art style. The colour scheme is black, white and a light blue and it’s so pretty. The story is also wonderful. This is a close contender behind The Prince and the Dressmaker as one of my favourites from this list. Ari’s family run a small baking business where they make fresh bread every day. Ari wants to move away from his family to the city. The business is struggling so his family need someone else to replace Ari if he does intend to leave. He helps out to find his replacement and meets Hector who Ari develops a close relationship with. This is a story about falling back in love with old passions as well as showing the importance of family. This is a really sweet story and I love the family dynamics.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
Pumpkinheads is the perfect graphic novel to read around Halloween as it is set during the autumn months. Dejah and Josiah only get to see each other every year during their shifts at the pumpkin patch where they work during the spooky season. However, as they’re both heading to college they want to make this last shift the best one yet as they won’t be returning. The author manages to take the reader on an adventure around the park, while the characters taste all the food and go on all of the rides. I think the plot is strong and the characters and their relationships are very sweet. The artwork gives off an autumnal vibe too with all the bright oranges and browns. It was nice to see the contrast between how the two friends were approaching their last shift together, with Josiah feeling quite sad and nostalgic about the fact their friendship is about to change and Dejah is very hands on wanting to have a blast.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
I loved the concept of this book and it was executed really well. Our main character Bitty is a youtuber and he’s basically documenting his time as a hockey player in his first year at university. He’s struggling as his comfort zone on the ice has always been figure skating competitions. He also doesn’t have the same banter as all the other men on the team who enjoy the life of a frat boy. Bitty also struggles with his identity and the fact he has to tell his teammates that he is gay. I love the friendships he makes on his team and the crush he has on one of his teammates. I like how the story jumps from Bitty documenting his experience as a sort of video diary to the next comic strips showing exactly what had happened the day before on the ice. I think there’s a sequel to this which I haven’t picked up yet but this was a fun story to read. I particularly like the fact that Bitty didn’t care that he didn’t have the same interests as his friends and I’m pretty sure with all his baking his friends weren’t complaining about his hobbies either.
Have you read any of these graphic novels? Which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.
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