Picture it: you’re deep into the FBC readathon, you’ve been reading for hours and you need a break, but are still in the mood to keep going. Enter the graphic novel. Easy to digest, usually quick-paced, and aesthetically pleasing, graphic novels and comics are a great way to visually break up all the reading that will be happening. Maybe you want to take a break from a long novel you’ve been working on, like myself (hey there, Plain Bad Heroines) and want to use the readathon to only read graphic novels. Either way, they’re a lot of fun. Keep reading for five (mostly) light-hearted graphic novel recommendations, from me to you.
Sheets by Brenna Thummler
CW: Grief, Death of a parent, Child death, Bullying. This middle grade graphic novel follows 13 year old Marjorie Glatt, a lonely girl who has a lot more to deal with in her life than most children her age do. She attends school and runs her family’s laundry business, where she deals with rude customers pretty often. Wendell is a ghost who died at a tragically young age, and is trying to make a new life for himself. Even though these two are from different worlds, in Sheets, they merge in an unexpected way. I enjoyed reading this one during winter, and am actually planning to read the sequel, Delicates, over the readathon weekend.
Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Gus Allen and ND Stevenson
CW: Violence. This comic book series follows 5 friends at a summer camp for “hard-core lady-types” who are destined to have a great time together. Lumberjanes also features a magical quest and an ever-looming mystery that grows with each issue. This book has been described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls, and that’s all we need to know, basically. It’s been a few years since I read the first couple volumes, but with summer approaching and the sweet friendships this series offers, I may have to reread sooner rather than later. You can also read more about Lumberjanes in Steph’s roundup of 7 Comics That Feature Kick-Ass Women Kicking Ass.
Mermaids by Kat Leyh
CW: Alcohol, Mental illness, Suicidal thoughts, Violence. The premise: three tipsy mermaids all out of shipwreck wine decide to use magic to transform into humans with the goal of acquiring more booze. I can tell you with certainty that Thirsty Mermaids is as hilarious as it sounds, and has more heart than you would expect upon first picking this book up. It is set in an oceanside town in summer, so you can count on fun vibes throughout the story. This one was in my top 5 reads of 2021, and brought me so much joy when I read it.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
CW: Alcohol, Cursing, Homophobia, Bullying. Originally a webcomic, Check, Please! follows Bitty, a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team. Originally a figure skater, Bitty is a vlogger and excellent baker with a terrible fear of being checked during a game. In this graphic novel that follows his freshman and sophomore years, we get to see Bitty and others on the team grow as characters. The story is a very sweet and uplifting read. I picked up the whole series in summer of 2020, and it was a good time.
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag
CW: Bullying, Body horror, Animal death. In a family where girls are raised to be witches, and boys are raised to be shapeshifters, Aster feels out of place. He has not yet shifted, and is captivated by witchery. A mysterious danger forms against the other boys, and the only way Aster can help is as a witch. Aster has no other choice but to be himself. The Witch Boy challenges gender constructs, is full of spooky magic, and features a character learning to be authentic to themselves. I have not read this yet, but it makes me think of Cemetery Boys and I am here for it.