16 Best Must-Read Graphic Novels

for young and adult readers

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Graphic novels are essentially pictorially illustrated representations of interesting and fascinating stories. The stories may be true, fictional, fantastical, sci-fi, or romantic. Whatever the narrative these stories hold a common thread – beautiful and expressive illustrations depicted in a sequential manner.

Some of these books I have read in the physical form and of course, they appealed to me more. But the e-format is very easy to handle as well with functions like zoom on a tile, click on dialogs to enlarge, etc. many of these titles are available free with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

Get These Books on Kindle Unlimited 

Unique Book Recommendations to help you find your next read!

Graphic Novels for Adults

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn

The story basically follows Alana, from the Winged World and Marko, from the Horned World. They're fighters belonging to warring species. But Alana and Marko fell in love when Marko relinquished himself because he was wearied of living at war all the time. Their love bore consequence in the way of Hazel a baby who had the best of both worlds (horns and wings) and it's her narrative that we're perusing.

The graphics are beautiful and truly so suggestive. The cosmos created is mystifying.
And the uncanny but delightful characters had me chuckling and marveling at the author’s imagination. There is a series for this story that has reached volume 40 now.

Read my Review Here

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is the story of a girl, who lived in Iran, and was daring, exceptional, and insightful beyond her age. Her great-grandfather was the prince of Iran. Her family although living in orthodox and hardhanded governance were forward-thinking and wanted nothing more than the safety and good education for their only child.

Through this novel, we get to see the history and growth of a country, Iran, at the same time we're exposed to the workings of the country that were tyrannous, unjust, and occasionally absolutely ludicrous. We see the significance given to oil reserves, we see the ascent of the Burqa, the fleeing of the citizens to European countries, the unjust treatment of by the European citizens to nonnatives, the captivity and death of so many servicemen and so many further radical revolutionist events.

This book is an eye-opener to the boons and best of everything we receive and devour.

Read my Review Here

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

Maus chronicles Spiegelman’s father's adventures during the Holocaust as a surviving Jew. It follows his story frame- by- frame from youth, to matrimony in pre-war Poland to captivity during the war in Auswitchz. The survivor’s story that results is astonishing, pure, and forthright.

One of the actualities of the Holocaust is that still numerous stories you hear and how much ever the torments of it appall you, you just cannot imagine what must’ve actually happened. It’s beyond us. The number of sketches in this thick and heavy book will surprise you and shock you and the truthfulness will most surely touch you. The novel is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.   

Read my Review Here

Kari by Amruta Patil

They were close – until the day they jumped. Ruth, saved by safety nets, leaves the cosmopolis. Kari, saved by a sewer, crawls back into the struggle of the living. She writes ad copy for hair care products and ill-fitting lingerie, falls for kitties and roadside rogues, and the occasional adventuress in an eatery.

As Danger Chhori, her PVC- suit- clad alter ego, she opens sewers and observes the secret lives of people. And with girls of Crystal Palace forming the chorus to her song, she explores the dark heart of Smog City – loneliness, sewers, sleeper success, and death – and the memory of her missing better half.

Sensuously illustrated and livened by a wry narrative on life and love, Kari gives a new voice to graphic fiction in India.

Read my Review Here

Suit by Samarth

Suit offers a peek into the caste-based horrors and the exploitation rampantly inflicted in the lives of safai karmacharis or cleaners and sweepers in our cities. Samarth, the author imagines a future in Mumbai where these workers have been given a suit before entering the life-threatening filth of this society.

The author’s monochrome dialog and illustrations record the endless repetition of trauma, humiliation and tragedy in the lives of these sanitation workers. 

Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir by Malik Sajad

A beautifully depicted graphic novel that illuminates the ambivalent land of Kashmir, through a youthful boy’s childhood.

Seven-year-old Munnu is growing up in Indian- governed Kashmir. Life revolves around his family Ma, dad, sister Shahnaz, brothers Adil and Akhtar, and, his beloved, elderly brother Bilal. It also revolves around Munnu’s two favorite belongings – sugar and sketch.

But Munnu’s is a childhood endured against the background of the conflict. Bilal’s classmates are crossing over into the Pakistan- allocated portion of Kashmir to be trained to fight the ‘occupation ’; dad and Bilal are regularly taken by the armed forces to identification procedures where informers will point out ‘terrorists ’; Munnu’s school is closed; close neighbors are killed and the homes of Kashmiri Hindu clans lie abandoned, as once close, hybrid communities have ruptured under the pressure of Kashmir’s partitions.

Munnu is an astonishingly poignant insight into everyday life in Kashmir. Closely predicated on Malik Sajad’s childhood and times, it's a beautiful, evocatively depicted graphic novel that questions every angle of the Kashmir situation – the weaknesses and faults of every side, the history of the region, the part of Britain and the West, the possibilities for the future. It opens up the story of this disputed and discarded land, while also giving a brilliantly close, funny and warm-hearted portrayal of a boy’s childhood and coming-of-age.

Monstrous by Sarah Meyer : A transracial adoption story

I picked this book because it combined two of my favorite genres – graphic novels and memoirs – and I made the perfect choice.

This isn’t a novel or a book it’s a genuine and heartfelt outpour of what goes through a mind of a person who is made different by other people because of how they look or because of the choices they make. It is the growing-up saga of Sarah who was born to Korean parents but was adopted by American parents and grew up in a small American town full of prejudices and biases.

The story is heart-wrenching, her feelings and expressions are so real. The graphics are detailed intimate and feel so real. I’ve read at least a few dozen graphic novels in my reading life but never have I encountered such detailed and perfect expressions through the eyes, the face, and the overall body language.

This book is an upcoming release and I have no clue how it will do once it is in print form. But be assured I will recommend this book to anyone and everyone looking to understand the perspective of a person who is different or even to readers who want to know what a brilliant graphics novel looks like.

This novel is going to be the next in line with Maus and Persepolis. Fingers crossed.

Global - One fragile world. An epic fight for survival by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin

" Global" tells the narratives of two children. Sami, a boy, who lives in Myanmar along the Indian Ocean, in a small fishermen hamlet. And Yuki, a girl, in northern Canada, inside the Arctic circle.

They live at two different ends of the world, their lives are so distinctive and yet so alike as they are touched by climate change and all the challenges that come with it. Sami tries to hunt for more fish with growing storms and receding fish around. While Yuki finds melting snow and decides to help the endangered polar bears.

The book explains and discusses a truly important theme in a simple, realistic and profound way and with beautiful sketches and illustrations.

Graphic Novels for Teens

Heartstoppers by Alice Osman

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms rapidly, but could there be something more.

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at a Grammar School for Boys. The last academic year hasn't been too great, but at least he is not being bullied now. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the academy rugby squad. He is heard a little about Charlie the youth who was ousted last time and bullied for numerous months- but he has in no way had the shot to talk to him.

They swiftly become buddies, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he does not suppose he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and occasionally good things are waiting just around the corner.

Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best pals.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the entire wide universe. ( Not a lot of people are aware that the best pumpkin patch in the entire wide universe is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it surely is.) They say goodbye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is distinct? Josiah and Deja are now seniors, and this is their concluding season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last goodbye.

A fun read with beautiful illustrations. Perfect as a coffee table book especially for young readers. I loved getting to know the myths, traditions, and food around the pumpkin season. 

Read my Review Here

Jungle Nama by Amitav Ghosh a story of the Sunderban

We are running through the story of Dokkhin Rai, a demonic presence in the Sunderbans who manifests himself as a tiger to prey on Humans. In the story we encounter Dhona a rich merchant the uncle of Dukhey, a fatherless boy, poor but contently living with his mother. Dhona tempts Dukhey with the promise of riches and leaves him at the door of Dokkhin Rai in return for a treasure.

The plot is captivating no doubt, but the poetic narration is absolutely spell-binding and yet very easy to grasp. You are fully absorbed in the tale and are worried for Dukhey, and the dark illustrations by Salman Toor only further emphasize the sordid tale.

The poetry ends with a moral for all, I only wish it was longer.

Lumberjanes by N.D.Stevenson, Ellis and Allen

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things aren't what they feel. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caverns. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt- remonstrating best buddies determined to have a marvelous summer together. And they are not gonna let a magical hunt or an array of supernatural beasts get in their way! The puzzle keeps getting larger, and it all begins then.

Oddball by Sarah Anderson

I was absolutely excited to read this beguiling, cherished book, and I am happy to say I loved it. The graphics are clever, suggestive, thought-provoking, and occasionally funny. Ranging from weighty themes like being odd/ different or the trials of an artist to light and breezy ones, like the factuality of a cat person, or encouragements of a writer/ author, they were all genuinely relatable.

I appreciate this newest collection of her scrawls, and I look forward to reading her coming creation.

Taproot by Keezy Young

Blue has been living as a ghost for a time when he meets Hamal, a beautiful and special gardener who has the capacity to see and communicate with ghosts. Together, their friendliness develops into something more, but being a ghost, Blue can never truly be linked with Hamal. A genuinely charming queer love story of a necromancer gardener and specter. 

Inquilab Zindabad : A Graphic Biography of Bhagat Singh by Ikroop Sandhu

Inquilab Zindabad is a graphic biography of Bhagat Singh, an Indian revolutionary, written by Ikroop Sandhu. Right from how he was driven into the freedom movement with inspiration from his Uncle to the day he was hanged and the after-effects in the country post his death. I have read the book Why I am an atheist by Bhagat Singh, a collection of his letters/statements to the government or speeches and even to his friends and family members. The fiery spirit of this young man shines through in both books. Because his words were said with such honesty and determination to do the right thing you are affected by them.

Although considered dangerous by the British in that era, his ideas were rational and well thought out. His actions were never sporadic. His sentiments never betrayed his country. His spirit was indomitable. He fought until the very end. This book does bring out all these radical incidents and portrays them through equally fiery illustrations. I liked that the graphics are in black and white because adding color I feel would have taken away the gravity and the importance of the man to the freedom movement. That time in Indian history was dark and should be shown accordingly.

Overall I enjoyed revisiting Bhagat Singh’s history through this graphic tale and uncovered some new facts about him like the indecent disposal of his body carried out by the jail authorities etc.

Any reader interested in history or in India’s past must read this biography.

Hope On by various Artistes

Hope On is a compilation of six real life stories from real people who were strangers. But each story has a unique theme that stands out like optimism, compassion, kindness etc. These stories were adapted into comics by different artists and that is how Hope On came to be.

I loved the book for this concept of bringing together stories from unknown people. Either directly or indirectly these stories relate to or make women the hero of it. The highlight their efforts to step up in difficult occasions or their efforts to better themselves.

This post contains affiliate links.  Read my Disclosure Policy.