Best of 2016: Young Adult Fiction & Graphic Novels

We continue our daily coverage of the Staff Picks Best of 2016 List with our choices from young adult fiction and graphic novels. For a full list check out the Library Newsletter.

Young Adult Fiction


Running Girl by Simon Mason
Garvie Smith is 16 with a genius level IQ, who cannot be bothered with school; he smokes and hangs out with the bad boys. But when 15 year-old Chloe Dow is murdered, Garvie comes up against the ambitious D.I. Singh–and both are determined to solve the murder.

I was so ready for a mystery I could devour, and was surprised to find myself flying through this page-turner. Garvie is an unlikeable main character, but that was actually part of his charm. If that doesn’t make sense, you need to read this! -Carol’s pick

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell
What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?
That tagline was all I needed to know–I had to read this book, so that’s all I’m giving you.

I read this fresh take on “Beauty and the Beast,” one of my favorite tales of all time, completely in one day (literally could not sleep until I’d read the last page). -Carol’s pick

Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

A dystopian novel for those (like me) who dislike dystopian novels. I was so invested in Blanca’s story that I didn’t want it to end. The author will be here in 2017 as part of Everett Reads! So read this while you can! -Carol’s pick

A Study in Charlotte: a Charlotte Holmes Novel by Brittany Cavallaro
Charlotte and Jamie, descendants of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and students at a Connecticut boarding school, team up to solve a murder mystery.

Anything relating to Sherlock Holmes is always a sure bet with me. What made this book stand out was how real the characters felt and how the author handled addiction. -Carol’s pick


Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Experiencing dreams about her soul mate all of her life, Alice meets the real boy, Max, when she moves to a new school and finds that their real relationship is more complicated than their dream one.

I’ve always been obsessed with the fantasy that you could dream about real people without having ever met them, and maybe even communicate with them in the dream. This book explores that idea, with a twist you won’t see coming. -Carol’s pick

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Every day in chemistry class Lily Abbott is finding notes left to her by a mystery boy, love letters really, and she hopes they are from Lucas, her crush. So when she finds out who really wrote them, she’s shocked and unsure about how to respond.

I used to pass notes when I was younger, and so I’m predisposed to enjoy stories like this. While high school tropes abound, I was surprised at the twist at the end and want a re-read. If you want to swoon, read this book! -Carol’s pick

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Eden is a freshman in high school when her brother’s best friend sneaks into her room at night and rapes her, turning her life upside down. She knows she should tell someone but the time is never right, so she attempts to deal with it on her own.

Eden’s efforts to toughen herself and test her level of damage by experimenting with an older boy ring true and accurate. Told in four sections that represent her four years of high school, Eden’s story, all too common, is so important to hear. -Elizabeth’s pick

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Tessa travels back to her childhood hometown to visit her father who is very ill in prison, but instead gets entangled in a murder mystery in which she played a part 10 years before. Did she and ex-friend Callie help convict the wrong man?

In addition to plenty of suspense and mystery, I enjoyed Tessa’s seemingly average character who, despite her challenging past, shows real determination to once and for all learn the true identity of the Ohio River Monster. -Elizabeth’s pick


The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Every 12 years, the settlers of the colony of Canaan lose their memories. Otherwise, life on their beautiful planet would be almost perfect.

I’m always on the lookout for unique science fiction for teens. Something that varies from the current dystopian “formula.”  -Emily’s pick

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Solomon, a teenager with severe anxiety and agoraphobia has figured out what he needs to do to survive— never leave the house. It’s all going fine until Lisa bursts into his life, bent on helping Solomon, and winning a college scholarship in the process.

This novel manages to tell a very funny coming of age story about friendship, love, and all the awkwardness of being a teenager while also talking about mental illness in a respectful and enlightening manner. -Jesse’s pick

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Nix has the power to sail anywhere: to the future, the past, and even into mythical worlds. Now she must decide whether to help her father sail back in time and save her mother’s life, even if doing so might threaten Nix’s very existence.

This book has such a fresh, creative premise. It is a joy to slowly unpeel the layers of Nix’s past in this story that is one part swashbuckling adventure and one part historical mystery. -Jesse’s pick

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
A struggle between a tyrannical empire and a rebel army, who are separated by blood. The sequel to an equally compelling series beginner, Glass Sword showcases the best and worst of people in the tragedies of war, in ways both honest and heart-wrenching.

Amazing characters, engaging plot, and it takes place in a truly unique world. 10/10 would recommend. -Sammy’s pick

Young Adult Graphic Novels


Giant Days by John Allison
Best friends Susan, Esther, and Saisy are rounding out their first semester at university where they find out college is more than academics. Add pub-hopping, hookups, breakups and political scandal–this might be the most eventful semester ever.

The ongoing saga of friendship and personal discovery with laugh-out-loud humor (or humour, since John Allison is English) never fail to impress me and capture my undivided attention. If you’ve never read a comic book, start at volume 1 and thank me later! -Carol’s pick

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson
Goldie wants to one day become the in-house detective at the resort where she lives with her dad, the manager. When the current detective encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery.

Goldie is the girl I always wanted to be: she gets to work with her best friends, drive other people’s cars (she’s a valet), and solve mysteries on the side. Mix adventure, mystery, and a dash of 1960s Florida– Welcome to the Crossed Palms Resort! -Carol’s pick

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat Volume 1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth
Patsy Walker returns to the spotlight in her first solo ongoing series since the 60s!

I know literally nothing about the old-school Patsy Walker. But I do know that our modern lady works as a PI for lawyer She-Hulk and fights crime as Hellcat. There are tons of fun and puns thanks to legend Kate Leth. Lighthearted and witty– pick this up today. -Carol’s pick

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
In this standalone story, Squirrel Girl will encounter her most unbeatable, powerful, and dangerous enemy–herself!

If you haven’t read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, this is your chance to try it out without having to know what’s what. Funny and outrageous, Squirrel Girl will leave you in stitches. -Carol’s pick


One-Punch Man by ONE
An ordinary guy decides to be a hero and discovers that he can defeat anyone with just one punch. Unfortunately, no one takes him seriously or believes that he got his powers by sticking to a simple training routine.

The series uses a lot of deadpan humor and is very self-aware. Each volume is a very quick read (20-30 minutes maximum), which for me, is a definite plus. -Zac’s pick

Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki (translated by Zack Davisson)
This volume introduces Kitaro and includes a few additional stories in a very accessible format. Kitaro, created in the late 1960s and a mainstay in Japanese culture, exists in a world of Japanese folklore.

The detail and explanation of yokai and Japanese folklore is both entertaining and highly informative. Mizuki’s storytelling is a treat for readers of all ages. -Zac’s pick

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