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Paragraphs to Pictures: YA Books That Would Make Awesome Graphic Novels

Recently, I’ve really wanted to start creating more blog posts about graphic novels, but as I haven’t read many recently, I was stuck for ideas.

I was sitting in front of my bookshelves brainstorming. Then it came to me, inspired partially by the recent news of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses getting a graphic novel adaptation. I started pulling a few books off of shelves and re-imagining them. What if some of my favourite YA books were graphic novels? What would they be like in that format?

So here we go! Five (very different) much-loved YA books – plus why I think they’d be great as comics or graphic novels.


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Banished by Liz de Jager – I love Banished and Vowed to bits and can’t wait for the third and final book. I had to include this book in the post! It’s easily one of my favourite Urban Fantasies, ticking all the boxes for a great graphic novel too; a riveting plot, a terrific fantastical world, awesome mythical creatures, and a gothic fantasy vibe to rival Guillermo Del Toro’s works. Also, of course, Kit Blackhart is a super kick-butt protagonist that would be amazing in a comic or graphic novel. Buffy who?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This has a richly imaginative, almost steampunk-y fantasy feel to them. I really love the concept of the book, and being set in a future Oxford, would the setting not look gorgeous in a graphic novel? I haven’t yet read the sequel, but there are going to be seven books (I think). I can kinda see it as a comic series. Maybe I’m going too far away from The Bone Season’s genre, but I thought Joe Benitez would be a cool illustrator.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is quite an obvious choice! Comics have a large influence in this book, and if you put together all the fan art on the internet for Eleanor and Park I’m pretty sure you’d have a complete graphic novel anyway! Eleanor and Park would make a fantastic contemporary graphic novel and wouldn’t it be cool if it was drawn by Noelle Stevenson? (She illustrated the cover & inside cover of Fangirl!)

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan – The inventive Sci-Fi / Dystopia setting of this book would be perfect in a graphic novel format. Natasha Ngan’s books are so memorable for their incredible worlds. The Memory Keepers is set in a future London with a huge development gap, where human memories are traded like a currency. If this were a graphic novel, I could see it being in the same vein as the extraordinary Fray by Joss Whedon.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This might sound like a strange choice, but it was one of the first books I thought of. I think the format of the book, which is largely flashbacks of Mia and Adam’s romance, could be told really beautifully through illustrations. As the ‘present’ in the book is Mia in an out-of-body experience, that could be portrayed really interestingly in a graphic novel. My instant thought was a black-and-white world in the hospital, but Mia (out of her body) walking around, drawn in colour.


Noughts and Crosses, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The Graveyard Book are three YA books I know to have been adapted recently. I hope to see more in the future!

What books do you think would make great graphic novels?

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8 thoughts on “Paragraphs to Pictures: YA Books That Would Make Awesome Graphic Novels

  1. This is a great idea!! I would love to get some of my favourite YA books as graphic novels!! Eleanor and Park would make a fantastic graphic novel! Especially is the woman who does the Fangirl and Eleanor and Park covers (she’s also the artist of Nimona) did the art!

  2. I have become a total GN convert in the past two years. I think that’s partly due to the increased range of genres and styles–it’s not all manga and Bones. I work with struggling middle school readers, and graphic novel versions of the books their peers are devouring are so awesome–the book is still there (unlike the really lame adaptations that get published for this audience), and the illustrations add support and clarification for kids who struggle to get from “words on a page” to “pictures in your mind.” I love all your suggestions! I really want a graphic version of If I Stay after reading your thoughts on how it could be done. As a graphic newbie, the thing that I find super important is clearly delineated characters. I’ve had to give up on a few books when I couldn’t keep track of who was who. Kind of my own version of the struggle my students have, now that I think of it!

    1. That’s so interesting to hear, thanks for the comment! 🙂 I really dislike how people dismiss graphic novels and comics – because they are fantastic for reluctant and struggling readers of novels. If I Stay would be so great, right? 🙂

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