New Comics and Nonfiction in July, Plus YA Book News, July 11, 2024

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Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She’s the editor/author of (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Hey, YA Readers!

Nearly everyone is talking about how it’s hot because it’s summer, and rather than add to that (true) chorus, how about this: have you taken a walk and seen how nature is popping right now? I’ve been letting my daughter run around outside after school lately and I’ve used that time to delight in really seeing the world around me. My lavender is blooming (and it smells so good), I have milkweed that’s bringing all of the bumblebees to the yard, the baby bunnies are becoming teenage bunnies, and I even had a big ole dragonfly hanging out on the underside of a plant in my native garden. The cicadas that the media got obsessed with were really not a big deal, either, except that because the birds had such a field day with them, many other insects have been thriving this year–see the earwigs!

Now that you’ve gotten the nature report from the upper midwest, how about what you’re really here for: the books. Today, let’s dive into the comics and nonfiction hitting shelves in July, then take a look at the latest in YA book news.

Bookish Baubles

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Image courtesy of CherylTeganDesigns on Etsy

I love brightly colored bookmarks, and these two postage stamp-themed options are particularly great. Grab one for $3.

New Comics and Nonfiction for July 2024

Let’s take a look at all of the comics and YA nonfiction hitting shelves this month. The titles below without a date beside them are available now, while those with a date will be coming soon.

This is such a fun roundup of titles. We’ve got nonfiction about pay equality in women’s soccer, paired with a comic adaptation of a YA fantasy classic, a surprising twist at a church youth group, a funny cat, and more. Note that while this particular list is heavy on white authors, that doesn’t represent the broader diversity in YA comics nor YA nonfiction.

First Test coverFirst Test cover

First Test by Tamora Pierce, illustrated by Becca Farrow

Pierce’s The Protector of the Small series gets a graphic novel take. Tortall has a new rule that women can train for knighthood, and Keladry is going to be the first to take advantage of it. She knows it’ll be a lot of work, but the challenge she’s worried about isn’t the work of being a page. It’s Lord Wyldon, who doesn’t believe women should have the right to become knights. As training master, his say has too much influence—and the consequences for Keladry aren’t small. She will be forced to undergo a year-long trial that none of her male peers have ever endured. But Kel will fight until she succeeds.

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The Ghostkeeper by Johanna Taylor (7/23)

Dorian Leith sees ghosts, but no one in town believes him. Dorian doesn’t just see ghosts, though. He’s there to listen to their problems as a way for them to get admission into the afterlife.

This is all a schtick to the townspeople. The only people who believe him and his ability are his grandmother, who is helping him make a living from the work (she’s dead, btw), as well as a local bookstore owner. This isn’t a curse to Dorian. It’s what he’s meant to do.

So when the key to Death’s Door goes missing, locking every ghost out of the afterlife, the ghosts are begging Dorian to do something. Only he knows their problem, meaning only he knows how to solve it and find the key. If they can’t get into the afterlife, they will be consumed by rot.

Dorian wants to help them, but he will need help himself in order to make it happen. Can he convince the people in his real life about the ghosts? About their need for help? Or will everyone be dealing with the effects of ghost rot, whether living or attempting to find the afterlife?

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A Greater Goal: The Epic Battle for Equal Pay in Women’s Soccer-and Beyond by Elizabeth Rusch

Despite the passage of Title IX which made it possible for women to play in more professional sports, women have been routinely underpaid and poorly treated compared to their male counterparts. This book is about how the women who have played on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team fought to earn equal pay and treatment through their union and by working with the men’s team (and that contract to get them equal compensation did not happen until 2022!!!).

Pair reading this one with Karen Blumenthal’s fantastic Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America.

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Our Beautiful Darkness by Ondjaki, illustrated by António Jorge Gonçalves, and translated by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (7/23)

In 1990s Angola, in the midst of a civil war, the power goes out in the neighborhood. That leads to a teen boy and teen girl starting a conversation in a backyard. The darkness lends itself to the two of them sharing some of their most vulnerable stories and feelings, creating a connection that has more power than electricity itself.

This is translated from Portuguese and among the rare few comics for teens in translation (that’d make an awesome newsletter theme, wouldn’t it?).

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Sparks Volume 1: Portals by Revel Guts (7/16)

Philo isn’t a great student, and that’s not because he doesn’t have powers—those are, err, too good—but because he’s just unmotivated. But he’s nearing graduation and his lack of ambition is catching up with him.

Atlas is a star student, opposite of Philo in just about every way. When the two are teamed up for a group project, things go haywire when Philo’s magic sends them far from home. Can they conquer their differences and get back before it’s too late?

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Woe: A Housecat’s Story of Despair by Lucy Knisley

Knisley began this series of comics online, telling the story of a housecat named Linney. Linney is dramatic, to say the least. This book collects the original webcomics and offers readers a hilarious view into the world of a cat who has a whole lot to say.

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Youth Group by Jordan Morris, illustrated by Bowen McCurdy (7/16)

Kay’s mom is forcing her to join the church youth group. Kay is not exactly looking forward to the clean-cut “fun,” especially because she is the furthest thing from youth group material imaginable.

But when Kay goes and discovers that her peers and the youth group leaders are participating in an exorcism, her perspective shifts. There’s a war brewing. A secret war. The youth group is preparing to go to battle.

As much as Kay wants to stay out of it all, she cannot help but do so. She doesn’t have the power her peers have and in this war, not having it means she’s a target. Now she has to put her trust and her time into the hands of her youth group in this comic compared to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

YA Book News

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As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll see you later this week to talk even more YA books and book news.

Happy reading!

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