Book List

7 Awesome Illustrated Novels

July 17, 2017
Sarah Jane Abbott
Riveted Editorial Board

I’m just gonna say it: I like my books with pictures.  If kids can have awesome illustrations throughout their books, why can’t we?!  Luckily, there are lots of books out there for grown-ups that incorporate art in fun and exciting ways.  Here are some of my favorite books to read—and look at the pictures.

Draw the Lineby Laurent Linn

Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background at his Texas high school.  He feels most comfortable expressing himself through art, crafting a secret world for his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite.  But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be.

The book features sections that are Adrian’s Graphite comics.  BTW, Graphite lives in a giant palace on the moon.  Seriously what could be cooler than that. (Go check out the extended excerpt of Draw the Line now!) 

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawleyby Shaun David Hutchinson

After Andrew’s whole family died in a tragic car accident, he started living at the hospital, blending in to near invisibility and hiding from his grief and guilt.   His only solace is in the world of the superhero he’s created—Patient F.  Then one night, Rusty is wheeled into the hospital, badly burned by hateful classmates.  As their relationship develops, Andrew finally begins to have hope for the future.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indianby Sherman Alexie

Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, he leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Junior’s quirky and poignant drawings are spread throughout the novel.

The Invention of Hugo Cabretby Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

The artwork in this novel is absolutely magnificent.  The book is very heavily illustrated, so it’s almost like a mash up of a novel and a 533 page picture book for adults.  Seriously, just read it.  You’ll be amazed.

Eliza and her Monstersby Francesca Zappia

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. When Wallace Warland transfers to her school, Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this book is unique and innovative.

I Am Princess Xby Cherie Priest

Libby and her best friend May created the kick-ass Princess X—Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the stories, and Princess X slayed the dragons.  That is, until Libby was killed in a car accident and Princess X died with her.  But then one night, May sees a sticker of Princess X on a window, which leads her to the popular webcomic  Could the person behind it somehow be…Libby?

Illustrated throughout with the Princess X webcomic, this is a mystery, a friendship story, and all-around awesome.

The Year of Beastsby Cherie Castellucci

Every summer the trucks roll in, bringing the carnival and its infinite possibilities to town. This year Tessa and her younger sister, Lulu, are unchaperoned and want to be first in line to experience the rides, the food . . . and the boys. Except this summer, jealousy will invade their relationship for the first time, setting in motion a course of events that can only end in tragedy, putting everyone's love and friendship to the test.

The novel alternates chapters of prose and comics by the talented illustrator of the MARCH series.  Also, I mean, look at that cover.  Enough said.

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