20 New Graphic Novels & Memoirs To Pack In Your Carry-On This Summer
Looking for something a little different to pack in your book bag for your next vacation? I've got 20 new graphic novels you can read this summer to bring a little variety to your TBR. Check out my recommendations below, and be sure to pick one out to pack in your carry-on this season.
Graphic novels aren't all superheroes and spandex — although I've got some of those on this list, if that's your thing. These days, you can find memoirs and travelogues, YA romances and scary stories, and just about any other type of literature you can imagine, all in a convenient, graphic format. If you haven't read a comic book or graphic novel since you picked up Archie in the third grade, it may be time to revisit this wonderful and diverse genre.
This list isn't just for graphic novel newcomers, however. The books on the list below are all new releases in 2019, so there's a high chance that even the most dedicated readers of sequential art can find something of interest here. Check out the 20 graphic novels I've picked out for you to read this summer:
'Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations' by Mira Jacob
Based on conversations between the author and her six-year-old son, Z, who is half-Indian and half-Jewish, Mira Jacob's Good Talk explores identity amid rising inter-community tensions in America.
'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood and Renée Nault
The graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale came out earlier this year, and, if you're a fan of the novel or the Hulu series, you owe it to yourself to check out Renée Nault's take on the classic dystopian story.
'Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression' by Teresa Wong
A touching memoir, written as a letter to the author's daughter, Teresa Wong's Dear Scarlet explores the realities of living with postpartum depression, including Wong's desperate attempts to cure her frightening condition with a variety of therapeutic strategies.
'Alienation' by Ines Estrada
Set in a post-apocalyptic near-future in which wildlife and fossil fuels are distant memories, Ines Estrada's Alienation centers on a couple, Elizabeth and Carlos, who are trying to keep their relationship afloat as they begin to realize just how far from humanity their society has fallen.
'When I Arrived at the Castle' by Emily Carroll
This erotic, lesbian horror story combines Carmilla with fairy tales to create an all-new hero tale. When I Arrived at the Castle follows its cat-girl heroine into the heart of a vampire Countess's castle, from whence no one ever returns.
'Cannonball' by Kelsey Wroten
Centering on art-school grad Caroline, Kelsey Wroten's Cannonball examines the life of a queer, aspiring writer searching for purpose in an unfriendly world.
'Shuri, vol. 1: The Search for Black Panther' by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero
The first five issues of Nnedi Okorafor's comic series about King T'Challa's supergenius kid sister are collected in this trade paperback book about Shuri's efforts to save her brother, with the help of Storm, Rocket, and Groot.
'I Was Their American Dream' by Malaka Gharib
Another graphic memoir, Malaka Gharib's I Was Their American Dream recounts the author's experience growing up as a Filipino-Egyptian-American kid, and carving her space in a world that found her identity difficult to accept.
'Waves' by Ingrid Chabbert and Carole Maurel
A semi-autobiographical story, Waves probes into the lives of a young couple whose dream of having a child is seemingly fulfilled by a wanted pregnancy, before being crushed by the unexpected loss of their son.
'Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me' by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell
High schooler Freddy only wants to be with Laura Dean, who hasn't proven she can be a great girlfriend, unfortunately. As Freddy's heart gets dragged around, she starts to lose other meaningful people in her life, and must come to terms with the fact that maybe she isn't the greatest, either.
'Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider, vol. 1: Spider-Geddon' by Seanan McGuire and Rosi Kämpe
In this fun trade paperback, Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy finds herself trapped in an alternate version of our world, with no way of getting home, and no way of helping the Spiders of the multiverse battle it out against the evil entity that's trying to destroy them all.
'The Book of Sarah' by Sarah Lightman
A beautifully illustrated coming-of-age story, The Book of Sarah moves through the author/subject's life, examining her path from orthodox Judaism to her own, feminist version of her faith.
'Gender Queer: A Memoir' by Maia Kobabe
Penned by author Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, Gender Queer tracks Kobabe's journey through identity, as e comes to discover that e is genderqueer and asexual, and begins to define those identities on eir own terms.
'Midnight Radio' by Iolanda Zanfardino (June 4)
Dealing with contemporary social issues, the four stories in this graphic novel connect through their characters' attunement to a late-night radio show.
'Hot Comb' by Ebony Flowers (June 18)
A collection of stories revolving around black women and their hair, Ebony Flowers's Hot Comb explores the complex relationship between appearance, empowerment, subjugation, and society.
'Skip' by Molly Mendoza (July 4)
Two friends, one who wants to return home, and one who wants nothing more than to escape it, bounce through a variety of parallel dimensions in this graphic novel that's marketed toward Black Mirror fans.
'Monstress: Book One' by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (July 9)
Collecting the first 18 issues of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda's Monstress, this tome brings to lush, vibrant life a vision of matriarchal Asia where monsters — and worse — roam the earth.
'Grass' by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (July 16)
In this heart-rending nonfiction tale of wartime Korea, a young girl named Lee Ok-sun is forced into sexual slavery as a "comfort woman" at one of Japan's military brothels. Separated from her family for decades, Lee shares her harrowing story in Keum Suk Gendry-Kim's Grass.
'House of Whispers, vol. 1: The Power Divided' by Nalo Hopkinson (July 30)
Part of an effort to expand the universe of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Nalo Hopkinson's House of Whispers centers on Erzulie Fréda, who uses her scrying abilities to peer into a human world she cannot access. When a mysterious illness begins to trap its victims in the realm of Dream, and her own powers go soft, Erzulie Fréda finds her home pitched into the Dreaming, where Morpheus himself lives.
'Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples' by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran (Aug. 20)
Neil Gaiman's twisted version of Snow White turns the Evil Queen character into a heroine, who must save her kingdom from her unnatural monstrosity of a stepdaughter. Gaiman's short story comes to life with illustrations from comics legend Colleen Doran in this edition.