From all the books chosen, there is only one I wasn't able to find a copy of, however, it was a big hit with the other panelists. The title links will take you to my reviews.
Graphic Novels (Middle Grade)
Continuing his encapsulation of the lives of the Greek gods, O'Connor turns his attention this time to the goddess of wisdom. From her birth from the skull of Zeus to her triumphs and tragedies, we get a full-blooded look at one of the most powerful of the gods. O'Connor brilliantly encapsulates a series of stories into a single telling. His superhero art style is the perfect accompaniment to the over-the-top actions of the gods and his storytelling will more than satiate the Percy Jackson fans out there. --Betsy Bird
Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye 1: Hamster and Cheese
by Colleen A. F. Venable
Nominated by: Lindsay Matvick
Sasspants the guinea pig just wants to be left in peace with her books, but when the “G” goes missing from her sign—leaving her a Guinea PI—she finds herself dragged into a pet shop mystery by the irrepressible hamster Hamisher. The owner's sandwiches have been going missing, and he suspects the hamsters. It's up to Sasspants to collect clues, interview witnesses, and find the real culprit before Hamisher and his fellows are sent away from the pet shop forever! --Madeline Stevens
Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities.
by Jason Shiga
Nominated by: Liz Jones
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga: Entropy, chance, massive death, and chocolate ice cream? Imagine if you took an old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure title and gave it a sugar high. That's a fair approximation of what you can find in one of the most original, interesting, and doggone fun graphic novels of the year. When a boy meets up with a mad scientist, he's given the choice of playing with a mind-reading device, a time machine, or a doomsday machine. When you make his choices, you see the consequences. A zany, sometimes harrowing, always brilliant look at how the smallest choice affects the future (just don't give the away the fact that you found the giant squid). --Betsy Bird
One day after a Girl Scout activity, sixth grader Raina, trips and falls. What follows are her on-again, off-again braces, surgery, and embarrassing headgear. Raina’s experiences take the reader through middle school to high school, where she discovers who her true friends are and her own artistic talents. This story is filled with colorful illustrations, a realistic premise, and a very likeable character that most readers are sure to identify with. Even more than that, this fun graphic tale is sure to bring a smile to a reader’s face. --Kim Baccellia
Walker Bean's grandfather begs his grandson to return a mysterious talking skull to sister sea monsters and end the curse that has plagued him for years. Walker, a pudgy boy who'd rather read than adventure and cries at the drop of a hat, isn't at all sure he can live up to his grandfather's expectations. Walker is alternately helped and hindered by pirates, merchants and witches as he blunders and invents his way to an unsinkable conclusion. Renier's illustrations are rich and full of detail, and the plot is creative with plenty of unexpected twists. Perfect for fans of steampunk, Tintin and Lord of the Rings, this epic sea voyage has something for just about every reader. --Maggi
Graphic Novels (Young Adult)
Garth Hale, a kid with a fatal disease, is accidentally zapped into the world of the dead before his time. With the aid of a skeletal horse and two star-crossed lovers (one living, one dead), he tries to find his way home to his grieving mother--discovering along the way that he has something unique and wonderful to offer the residents of Ghostopolis. If he uses his gift well, things may not be as dark as they seem on either side of the world. Clearly drawn, and full of surprising twists, Ghostopolis is a wild ride. --Liz Jones
In 2009, Tara’s longtime home has just burned down and now she’s struggling to fit in with her new life living with relatives while her mom works hard to support their family long distance. Parallel to Tara’s story is that of her ancestor Josey, who has fallen in love with a gold dowser that has promised wealth to Josey’s family in 1859. As the story progresses, the two plots weave and meld together, often playing off occurrences and dialogue in both time periods. With a flowing art style and a touch of magic realism, Mercury is a beautiful exploration of past meeting present. --Alyssa
A gargoyle, a flapper-turned-gumshoe, and a sunlight-challenged professor(who's *not* a vampire?) unite to form a supernatural detective agency in the delightful Night Owls by the Timony Twins. Fresh humor, quirky characters and a well-drawn retro-1920's setting offer a lot to readers of traditional mystery comics and a wider audience. You can enjoy the Night Owls' escapades in chunks, the way you might in the funnies page, or devour it at one sitting to discover the big picture intrigue. We can't wait to read volume two! --Liz Jones
Set in 2024, 13-year-old Asumi wants to be an astronaut and takes the exams to enter space training school. Her mother died shortly after she was born when a rocket crashed into the city. This rocket was named The Lion, which becomes a theme carried on in the story. Now Asumi and everyone who passed the space school entrance exams have been taken to the school and put under a 7-day confined space test in groups of three. What happens is an amazingly well-written realistic and emotionally charged science-fiction story. --Nicola Manning
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
by G. Neri
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Nominated by: Natasha Maw
This gritty portrayal is based on the real life of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer and the murder of a fourteen-year-old Shavon Dean in August 1994. The author peels back some layers of Yummy, leaving readers with questions on how a child ended up killing someone. The black-and-white illustrations are a great backdrop for the harshness of Yummy's short life and those who live in crime-infested neighborhoods. Told without being preachy, this tale is sure to haunt readers long after they close the last page. --Kim Baccellia