Graphic novels are some of my favorite books to read. These novels are always great to pick up when looking for something fun to distract the mind. The publishing industry is currently moving toward having more representation in the market for all readers to identify with, so I decided to share four of my favorite young adult graphic novels that celebrate queer characters and stories. This is a list of some of the best graphic novels on the market with queer representation that you will not be able to put down!
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper is an adorable YA romance that follows the story of Charlie and Nick, two British teenagers navigating life in high school. Nick and Charlie form a beautiful friendship after Charlie joins the high school rugby team and plays alongside Nick. As they begin spending more time together, their friendship develops into something more. This novel explores themes such as sexual identity and mental health. I can’t stress enough how Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper is a must-read for all graphic novel lovers. The good news is that the most recent volume of Heatstopper was just released on January 4, 2022.
Fun fact: You can check out this series for free on Alice Oseman’s Webtoons page.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Mooncakes is a light-hearted and wholesome fantasy that follows Nova Huegen, a hard-of-hearing young witch who works at her grandmother’s bookshop. On the hunt for a mysterious white wolf, Nova runs into Tam Lang, her childhood crush who is also a nonbinary werewolf. In this fantastic adventure, Nova and Tam explore the magic of the world around them and the magic of falling in love. This is a must-read for lovers of witchy stories.
Fun fact: Mooncakes was published by the local Portland publisher, Oni Press.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
This sci-fi graphic novel follows the story of Mia as she joins Alma, Elliot, Jules, and Char, a crew that fixes and restores old, abandoned structures in space. After years of separation from her high school girlfriend, Grace, Mia and the gang decide to risk it all. Following two different timelines, this story explores love, loss, friendships, and betrayal. On a Sunbeam is such a beautifully illustrated novel, and the relationships the characters share are so profoundly moving that you will not be able to put it down.
Fun fact: You can read this story online on Tillie Walden’s website.
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
This heartwarming coming-of-age graphic novel follows the story of Morgan, a young girl who is struggling to hide her sexual identity in her tumultuous life. One night during a near-death experience, Morgan is mysteriously saved by Keltie. As Keltie and Morgan grow closer, they become best friends and quickly fall in love. Molly Knox Ostertag has masterfully illustrated this fantastic graphic novel that is great for readers of all ages.
These are just a couple of my favorite young adult graphic novels that celebrate queer characters. Are there any of your favorites that we might have left out? Let us know!