Boys Run the Riot

Keito Gaku

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Just about the only time Ryo is happy is when he goes out into the city, dressed how he likes. Not only is Ryo pretty sure he's trans, he's also really into street fashion. He's not out to anyone, not at school, or even at home, and it makes life lonely. When Jin transfers to Ryo's class, he's struck by how Jin lives how he wants. The two end up working together to create a clothing brand, bonding over their mutual fashion interests.

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Great for manga readers who remember Paradise Kiss and are looking for more fashion-centered stories that also grapple with gender norms and societal expectations, or for fans of Our Dreams at Dusk looking for slice of life stories with LGBTQ+ themes.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender Identity: Trans

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender Identity: Gender Nonconforming, Trans
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Bubble

Jordan Morris

Tony Cliff

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Based on the podcast by the same name, Bubble is a near future satire of the gig economy where everyday citizens use an app to take job killing dangerous alien creatures that penetrate the bubble like dome protecting the city. This graphic novel is full of humorous quips, lovable characters, and a healthy dose of self aware jabs at podcasting.

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Fans of the podcast will love seeing the story brought to life in a new format, but lovers of sci-if and satire who are new to Bubble will also find something to love here.

Content Notes

drug use, language, and overt sexual scenes

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5366
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms

Crystal Frasier

Val Wise

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This graphic novel flips the classic head cheerleader dates the quarterback trope on it's head when the head cheerleader falls for the newest addition to the squad instead. This is a sweet story of two friends reconnecting and figuring out that their feelings may go a little deeper than friendship.

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Fans of Heartstoppers, Check, Please!, and Fence will love this sapphic take on the sporty queer romance sub-genre.

Content Notes

Transphobia

Creator Identities:

  • Gender Identity: Intersex, Trans

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5363, 5366
  • Gender Identity: 5929
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Himawari House

Harmony Becker

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Nao was born in Japan but grew up in the US. She decided to take a gap year in Japan to reconnect to her roots and find a sense of belonging that she felt she was missing in the US. During that year she shares lodging with two other young woman who are also searching for their place in the world and their identity. A bittersweet story about growing up, finding the place you belong, and the people you belong with.

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Shojo and slice of life manga lovers will love this western love letter to Japan.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6778

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5975, 5454, 5736
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Life of Melody

Mari Costa

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A fairy and beast raise a baby human girl in what starts as a reluctant partnership but becomes much more.

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I’m a huge fan of the humanoid creature trying to be human trope and Life of Melody delivers. With its bright, colorful artwork and touching, often humorous, story, Life of Melody is a delight to read.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6733, 6933

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5362
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Nubia: Real One

L.L. McKinney

Robyn Smith

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Nubia's moms have always made sure she knew she was special, not just to them, but to the world, and that specialness needed to be kept secret. It's why they've moved so many times after Nubia accidentally shows her abilities. But now, Nubia has friends and a cause she wants to fight for. It's time for Nubia to shine.

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It's an easy pick for fans of Wonder Woman (and particularly Nubia), but its themes of standing up against injustice and speaking truth will resonate with just about every reader.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Black, Jamaican

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Black
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Salt Magic

Hope Larson

Rebecca Mock

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Vonceil has had trouble reconnecting with her brother ever since he returned from the war and decided to marry a girl from town. A witch appears asking for her brother, and when he refuses to go with her, the witch turns Vonceil's family's well water to salt water. Vonceil makes a deal with the witch: she will find a way to resurrect the witch's true love in exchange for her brother's freedom and the restoration of her family's water.

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I'm a sucker for fairy-tale inspired fantasy, and this historical fantasy-fairy tale was a treat. With its vibrant illustrations and an engaging coming of age narrative with distinct Studio Ghibli vibes, Salt Magic will appeal to readers who loved The Magic Fish.

Creator Identities:

  • Gender Identity: Gender Nonconforming
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Shadow Life

Hiromi Gato

Ann Xu

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Kumiko flees her nursing home in order to live independently in the time she has left. Kumiko will have to fight to hold onto that time--in addition to the usual frailties of aging, she also has to contend with a shapeshifting shadow of death! But Kumiko is not willing to give up without a fight.

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Ann Xu’s striking black and white illustrations and Hiromi Goto’s compelling narrative made this a treat to read. Kumiko is an awesome character-she reminded me a bit of Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle--and the story is full of adventure, humor, and love.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6756, 7130

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5927, 5397
  • Sexuality: 5364
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag

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Morgan is facing her parents' divorce, her brother's anger, her friends' lack of support, and her own secret, but everything will be fine because she has a plan to get off the island before anyone has to know. Then Keltie comes into her life. She's wonderful and Morgan feels less desperate around her. But Keltie's own secrets could cause problems not just for them, but for so many others. This won't end in a happily ever after, but that's one of the worst things about growing up.

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This is a great choice for fans of selkie myths, as well as fans of books like Snapdragon or Mooncakes.

Creator Identities:

  • Sexuality: Queer

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Canadian
  • Sexuality: Lesbian
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

This is How I Disappear

Mirion Malle

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Clara struggles to maintain her mental health as she juggles a challenging job and suffers from writer's block for her book of poems.

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This book made me cry. Malle perfectly captures the challenges of balancing life while you’re struggling with your mental health.

Content Notes

Depression; discussion of sexual assault

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6802

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5877
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Wake

Rebecca Hall

Hugo Martínez

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Historian Rebecca Hall documents her quest to research women-led slave revolts in this compelling graphic novel.

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I quickly found myself engrossed in this compelling mix of memoir and history. Hugo Martinez’s powerful black and white illustrations capture Rebecca’s physical and emotional journey as well as the interpretations of her research. This is a great read if you’re interested in historical nonfiction that challenges conventional narratives.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6704

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5974, 5357
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Yummy

Victoria Grace Elliott

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This graphic novel is a colorful exploration of the history of some of the world most popular deserts. Food sprite Peri with her friends Fee and Fada look into the origins of cakes, cookies, ad other confections with science lessons and recipes throw in the mix.

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Anyone who loves sweet and is interested in how those treats came to be.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

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