Category Archives: Graphic Novel

Chew by John Layman

Title: Chew: The Omnivore Edition

Author: John Layman

Illustrator: Rob Guillory

Call #:  G LAY

Welcome to a near future dystopia where a horrible bird flu has killed millions of people and chicken as a food source has been completely outlawed for our safety.  Tony Chu, a cibopath, which means he can get a psychic impression from whatever he eats and it also means that if he is willing to eat corpses, he can solve just about any case.  His job is to stop illegal chicken consumption. This is a dark, character driven story with cliff hangers, but it is not for the weak stomached.

Recommended by: Becky


John’s Best of 2013

Richard Stark's Parker:  The Score by Darwyn CookeTitle:  Richard Stark’s Parker:  The Score

Author:  Darwyn Cooke


In this graphic novel adaptation of the crime noir classic, criminal genius Parker is brought strikingly to life.  After assembling a hand-picked team of men from his underworld past, Parker decides to embark on his most arrogant plan yet – the robbery of an entire town!  With the police embroiled in an intricate distraction and the perfect hideout waiting minutes away, the reader will both laugh and marvel at such a story which manages to be something uncommon in crime literature: ridiculous AND intelligent.  I also greatly enjoyed the original Richard Stark/Donald Westlake version.  This is one of the most fun crime stories you’ll ever read.

Recommended by:  John

Stitches by David Small

StitchesTitle:  Stitches

Author:  David Small

Call #:  G SMA

David Small’s coming-of-age memoir in graphic format accomplishes much with few words and stark yet affecting drawings.  When he is 14, he has a procedure that he believes is routine, only to wake from surgery almost mute, having a vocal cord removed.  Not until much later does he find out that he had cancer and was expected to die.  His cold, angry and bitter parents believe they did what was best.  This book is heartbreaking and amazing – there are pictures that will stay with me for a very long time.

Recommended by:  Kathy

The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti by Rick Geary

Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti by Rick GearyTitle:  The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti

Author:  Rick Geary

Call #:  Graphic Novel GEARY

Rick Geary, who specializes in making historic crimes into graphic novels, has come up with another great edition. The lives of two Italian immigrants convicted of a brutal murder are rendered in Geary’s unique drawing style. Sacco and Vanzetti, persecuted more for their anarchist political beliefs rather than actual evidence, maintain their innocence to the end. The case has been considered by many to be the most controversial of the 20th century.                

Recommended by:  John

Favorites of 2012 – Connie

And now for Berwyn Library Readers’ Advisory staffer Connie’s favorite books read in 2012.

Dark Places by Gillian FlynnTitle:  Dark Places

Author:  Gillian Flynn

Call #:  FLY

Life changed completely on January 2, 1985 for seven-year-old Libby Day when her mother and two younger sisters were brutally murdered.  Running from the house out into the cold and snow to save herself she hears footsteps.  When they stop just short of reaching  her, someone says “stay there Libby you’ll be safe.”  Now 24 years later, her brother Ben serving a life sentence for the murders and her drunken shiftless father nowhere to be found, she finds herself alone and desperate for money.  Thinking she can sell her story of that horrible night, she instead finds herself running from a killer.  This mystery is well paced, intricately plotted but also slightly violent.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf BackderfTitle:  My Friend Dahmer

Author:  Derf Backderf


This graphic novel is a chilling personal memoir of the high school years with Jeffery Dahmer.  Author Derf Backderf once knew Dahmer as a lonely oddball, a shy strange nerd, but more of the school mascot than a friend.  These haunting accounts of Dahmer during the 1970’s in the suburbs of Ohio are a brief insight into a disturbed teenager trying to hold on to a small thread of sanity before becoming one of the most depraved serial killers ever known.

Beautiful Lies by Jessica WarmanTitle:  Beautiful Lies

Author:  Jessica Warman

Call #:  YA WARMAN

Alice and Rachel are eighteen-year-old identical twins, monochorionic twins, which is quite rare.  They are so identical that their family can’t tell them apart.  When Alice and Rachel swap identities for one night out with friends, Rachel suddenly disappears.  Alice begins the search for her sister; keeping up the pretense.  Alice feels that something is very wrong and begins to feel the physical pain and emotional distress of her twin.  Did someone kidnap Rachel thinking she was Alice or did Rachel simply run away?  This young adult psychological thriller is intriguing and a bit confusing at times but is well worth it.

Recommended by:  Connie

Favorites of 2012 – Becky

Today, we have Berwyn Library Readers’ Advisory staffer Becky’s favorites of 2012!

Building Stories by Chris WareTitle: Building Stories

Author:  Chris Ware


In an age where e-books seem to be taking over, Chris Ware has created a story that can only be experienced in print form.  Building Stories is one single story told in graphic novel form in 14 distinct parts.  Each part is different; for example, some are hardbound books, others are small comic strips, still more are large broadsheets.   At the story’s center is an apartment building in Chicago in 2000.  The building has 3 floors, with one apartment on each floor.  While some pieces follow all of the residents, the main focus of the story is on the life of the young, amputee who lives in the 3rd floor walk-up.  The majority of Building Stories follows her both while she lived there and in the decades before and after. We grow attached to her as we see her search for acceptance, love, and fulfillment.  As a reader, you make your way through the story as you see fit.  Ware does not impose an order on the 14 pieces to his tale. This creates a unique storytelling experience as every reader encounters the story in a different order. Readers familiar with Ware’s drawing style will also notice his trademark large headed characters, the bright color palate, and his use of the entire page to tell the story.

11/22/63 by Stephen KingTitle:  11/22/63

Author:  Stephen King

Call #:  KING

In a departure from his normal horror laced fare, here King presents a time travel story.  Jake Epping, an English teacher in Maine finds a portal to 1958, and with the help of a dying friend, Jake goes back in time to try to save President Kennedy from being assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. But this is not just another Kennedy assassination book; it is the story of Jake’s trip into the world of 1958 and beyond. As a result, the story is methodically paced because after a fast start, we are mostly waiting, with Jake, for the years to go by.  As a result, the majority of the book is a historical piece of Jake’s life during that time but with the suspense and drama of Oswald and his impending date with history.  “The Past”, in capital letters  is the main villain, more than Oswald, and it is not until after the assassination is stopped that we see the full fury and evil “The Past” can throw at us. “The Past” is constantly after Jake and this adds a chilling and menacing aspect to the novel. This is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys a well told, compelling story full of action, great characters, with a bittersweet tone, and a realistic historical frame.

Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley CashTitle:  A Land More Kind Than Home

Author:  Wiley Cash

Call #:  CASH

This is a beautifully wrought debut novel that at every turn gives you more than you expected.  The “plot” involves the killing of a mute child at a prayer “healing” by a creepy preacher.  But we know from the first pages that the child will die.  Thus, this novel is not about the murder.  It is about rural communities and the intimate links between the people who live there. Cash has created a tale that merges the tension of a psychological suspense novel with the lyrical beauty of the Southern Gothic tradition. As a result, I was on the edge of my chair turning the pages with trepidation both wanting, and not wanting, to know what would happen next in this intricately plotted story, but then, right in the middle of all of the unease, I would stop to re-read Cash’s descriptions of the tough landscape [North Carolina Hill Country] and its weathered people. His love for the place is evident despite the bleakness of the story. A Land More Kind Than Home is a novel you experience. In the end this is a story where a drama unfolds, a conflict which has it roots in a previous generation, and once we reach the last page, everything has changed and yet, at the same time, we are back to the way it always was.

Ready Player One by Ernest ClineTitle:  Ready Player One

Author:  Ernest Cline

Call #:  CLI

Every once in a while, you read a book that you secretly wish would never end.  This is what I experienced when I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  In one sentence this is a Science Fiction adventure, obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, featuring a teen protagonist, set in a near future dystopia, but taking place mostly in a virtual reality world. You will be hearing a lot more about this novel from all of us here at the Berwyn Public Library throughout 2013, but know at its heart Ready Player One is a first person narrated adventure story, with great characters, an amazingly vivid created world, and a heartwarming and satisfying ending. It is a story that can be enjoyed by teens and adults whether they normally like science fiction or not.

Recommended by:  Becky

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiTitle:  Persepolis

Author:  Marjane Satrapi

Call #:  G SAT

With small black and white panels that speak volumes, this graphic novel recounts the author’s childhood in Iran during the 1980’s. Satrapi captures your attention by directly addressing misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Iranian people and their history but it is with her vivid characters, universal storylines and engaging drawings that she captures your heart.

Recommended by:  Becky