A Journey of Self Discovery: Graphic Novel Edition

I’m all about discovering new ways to meet my Goodreads challenge, and one such method I’ve discovered is reading graphic novels. Surprisingly, I did not read very many graphic novels until recently, which is only surprising because of how often I read them now. However, I’m well aware of my reasons I didn’t read them earlier.

See, for one thing, graphic novels are set aside from the other books many times in libraries and book stores. Which means that it was more difficult to discover them on my own since I stuck to the sections with “real” books in them.

Then, of course, there was the issue that I thought comics and graphic novels were the same thing. I also thought that all graphic novels/comics had to do with superheros. Both of these were issues because I don’t like violence in picture form. (No violent comics, movies, or TV shows for me.) And since I thought that all graphic novels were violent superhero comics, it took me a while to start appreciating graphic novels.

scared homer simpson GIF

The last thing that held me back from immersing myself into the genre was art style. I now know what appeals to me in terms of art style, but back in my first ventures it was trial and error. Since I started off with a lot of styles that weren’t my thing, I almost gave up on the genre in its entirety. Thankfully, I didn’t and now my love for graphic novels is keeping me reading during my busy weeks.

My Start Into Graphic Novels:

What kept me interested in the genre was my discovery of middle-grade graphic novels, in specific Raina Telgemeier. When I read Smile, I was drawn into the bold lines, and the bright colors. I started reading her other works, and after that, I took the next step to find books with similar art styles.

Smile

Some favorites I soon discovered include El Deafo, Roller Girl, and Sunny Side Up. They all are middle grade and have pretty similar art styles, but each one was unique, and I enjoyed them all for different reasons. I’d also highly recommend each of them, as well as any graphic novel I mention in this post.

El Deafo Roller Girl Sunny Side Up

I have a lot of graphic novels that I’m mentioning in this post, so I’m going to try to give just a short and snappy one liner about what I liked about each book, and you can click on the cover to see more details about all of these books!

El Deafo: Semi-autobiographical tale of a girl who uses her hearing aid as a superpower. It’s super cute!

Roller Girl: A girl discovers the awesomeness that is roller derby. The roller derby team is awesome!

Sunny Side Up: A girl goes to live with her grandfather in Florida for the summer.

These are my favorites out of all middle grade books I binged, but after I dipped my toe into the genre, I started looking at other genres.

The Series-ly Weird Books:

The next thing I discovered in my graphic novel journey, was that I don’t just like contemporary graphic novels. I like when there’s a little bit of weirdness thrown in. I also didn’t mind reading graphic novel series, and luckily for me, the two overlapped a quite a bit.

First up we have our purely weird standalones.

Nimona The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil Fake Blood

Nimona: Follows a shape-shifter sidekick to a supervillain. It was a really fun time!

The Gigantic Beard That was Evil:  About a town that thrives on uniformity, when one day a man’s beard doesn’t stop growing. It’s cute and quirky but it also has some pretty great messages woven into the story!

Fake Blood: A boy pretends to be a vampire to attract the attention of the girl he likes. But that might not have been the greatest plan… I won’t tell you why though! (But it’s in the weird/fantasy section, so figure it out.)

Now we come to the series I discovered! I’ve finished Scott Pilgrim and Alex + Ada. In fact, I binged them both. But the first Adventure Zone book has been out for less than a year already, so I can’t speak about the rest of that series.

Scott Pilgrim Alex and AdaThe Adventure Zone

Scott Pilgrim: SO WEIRD! I honestly have no clue what this series is about even after finishing it! It’s like reading a video game. Please go read it! And watch the awesome movie once you’ve finished!

Alex and Ada: Man falls in love with his robot companion. Sounds weird, but it’s really good! Also, I warned you about the weirdness. At least I’m delivering on my promise.

The Adventure Zone: A Dungeons and Dragons adventure based on a real game that you can find as a podcast with the same name. Even the Dungeon Master gets to be a part of this book!

My Recent Reads:

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to read a bunch of fantastic graphic novels in a row that I want to recommend.

Kiss Number 8 On a Sunbeam Bloom Pilu of the Woods

Kiss Number 8: An absolutely fantastic book about a girl discovering her identity and sexuality. She deals with friendships and crushes and it’s JUST SO GOOD! Plus it was absolutely hilarious! It had me laughing out loud in public, even when I tried for silent giggles!

On A Sunbeam: A girl joins a crew that repairs broken down buildings throughout space. It’s a dual timeline, with an awesome cast of characters!  It’s out of my comfort zone both because it’s sci-fi and because I don’t typically go for this art style, but I wasn’t disappointed!

Bloom: Pure fluff and sunshine! A romance set in a bakery. What could be cuter than young love and baked good in the same book? There was one montage page about the hiring process that was just so perfect!

Pilu of the Woods: My most recently read graphic novel! A girl dealing with her monsters after her mother dies meets a tree spirit that’s run away from home, while in the woods.

TBR Books:

Based on all the books I’ve mentioned I’ve found two graphic novels that aren’t out yet, but sound like they’d be up my ally! I don’t know much about them other than the fact that the art style looks like something I’d enjoy and at one point the synopsis intrigued me for them both. (And for Pumpkinheads that it’s Rainbow Rowell.) But luckily for you these covers link to Goodreads if you want to take a closer look!

 Pumpkinheads The Cardboard Kingdom

And there you have my graphic novel journey. From my humble beginning, to the books that made my love for the genre grow, to my recent reads, to my future plans. And now it’s time to hear from you!

2019-04-29 (1)

Do you read graphic novels? Did I mention any favorites of yours? Do you prefer a specific art style? Do you have any recommendations for me based on the graphic novels I’ve enjoyed?

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23 thoughts on “A Journey of Self Discovery: Graphic Novel Edition

  1. Love it! There are still so many graphic novels that I want to read but I just can’t get my hands on here. I’d read them on Kindle on my laptop but I feel like that’d be weird? Just not the same feeling! A few on here that I really want to read (Alex + Ada, Bloom, Pumpkinheads). My favorite graphic novel is Saga 😀

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    1. Thank you! I totally agree, I’ve gotten some e-arcs of graphic novels, but I usually get them from my library after they’ve been released to see everything in its proper place. In fact, I get 99% of my graphic novels from the library! I haven’t read Saga even though I’ve heard such great this about the series!

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  2. Ahh this is a lovely post ❤ I am not used to reading graphic novels, but I've heard so many great things about Nimona and On a Sunbeam, I really want to try them out 🙂 One of the rare graphic novels I've read is Bloom and I loved it so much, it made me so happy ❤ ❤

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    1. Thank you! It took me a while to get into the genre as well. It’s only in the past year or so that I started reading them regularly. Bloom was so adorable! It was so cute and happy! I think Nimona is a great one to start with as well because of how lighthearted it is! I think I’d pitch it as a blend of Vicious and Carry On, so make of that what you’d like!

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  3. Like you, I never read graphic novels until just these past couple of years ago—I don’t think I understood them well, and I thought they were all about the same. Now I love graphic novels, though, especially ones with lush artwork. I really want to read El Deafo—so many people rave about that one.

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  4. WOW! I had almost the same experience and thoughts about graphic novels and manga Malka! I was so turned off at first but because my brother loved manga so much I went back and now I’m a fan of both! And I need to read some really great graphic novels so I’m going to mine your post, thanks!! ❤️

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    1. That’s so cool! I haven’t had the best experience with manga so far, but I think that has to do with how particular I am about art style. I find that manga has too many lines, and I end up confused about what’s going on. But I know that I might have just not found the right one yet, so I’m going to keep trying! And I’m so glad to provide this list as a recommendation! I hope you find a few that you love!

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  5. Oh I loved reading On A Sunbeam. I really relate to this post because I hardly used to read graphic novels until last year. I saw some on netgalley and just decided to request for them. Since then I’ve read several great graphic novels. Pilu of the woods and bloom is on my reading list as well.

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  6. I haven’t read any Graphic Novels before but I do want to try them – and a few comics – out sometime. Mostly I think the reason that I want to give them is a chance is because some of the books that I’ve loved in the past have been turned into Graphic Novels over time. Plus Buffy and Charmed were continued in comic form. I think I want to try and find some at the library before buying any though as I honestly have no idea how I’ll get on with them.

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    1. Almost all of the graphic novels that I’ve read have been library books! Since I have such a particular taste, I found it easiest to acquire my graphic novels that way, and then buy a select few that I loved! I hope you end up enjoying graphic works once you try them out!

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      1. Thanks (: I’ll definitely have to see what my local libraries have graphic novels wise. It certainly seems like a good place to try and find some if you’re not sure how you’ll get along with them. I’m glad that you managed to find some that you loved 😀 I know comics and graphic novels are different but I actually saw that one of the artists that I like has a comic out that is fairly cheap so I might also try that out sometime.

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