Best Fiction of 2023 | Best Nonfiction of 2023 | Best Horror of 2023 | Best Romance of 2023 | Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2023 | Best Kids' and YA of 2023
Set in a world where wishes exist, but are a resource to be extracted and commoditized, Deena Mohamed’s Shubeik Lubeik is amongst the most sophisticated works of literature that I read this year. Her linework is every bit as clear and expressive as her writing. Focusing in on a few individuals navigating their wish-fueled society, Mohamed has crafted a smart, engaging, and moving masterpiece.
A delightful retelling of the Old English epic poem, featuring children fighting to hold off the joylessness of adults and adulthood, this middle-grade graphic novel has broad appeal. The combinations of the clever English Major energy in Zach Weinersmith’s adaption combined with Boulet’s expressive cartooning make for a wonderful book that will repel joylessness for quite some time.
A collection of macabre short stories by horror-master and multiple Eisner-winner, Junji Ito, that will creep you out, I promise. You may be loudly objecting to that last sentence, but when the slug gets your tongue, it’ll really change your tune.
It’s not easy to make creative work that is both astute and absurd. Aisha Franz makes it look easy in this playful and bewitching graphic novel, but I bet she had to put a lot of work into it.
A graphic memoir that makes masterful use of the confessional-comic format, Impossible People is filled with ironic humor and remarkable honesty. Its subtitle, “A Completely Average Recovery Story,” is also perhaps facetious: this book is extraordinary and I trust that everyone who contributed to its publication knew it, even if Julia Wertz would refuse to acknowledge it. But I will: this is an extraordinary use of humor, pacing, and disclosure.
The incomparable Tegan and Sarah join forces with graphic-master Tillie Walden to tell a slightly fictionalized account of their Junior High experience. New school, new friends, new feelings: it’s enough to inspire any number of albums of indie folk rock. Hopefully, it will also inspire many more volumes of middle-grade graphic novels, too.
A memoir by Pulitzer–winning editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell, The Talk is a compelling and eye-opening account of growing up biracial in America. Filled with nuanced intelligence and emotional insight, this is a true must-read.
The creator of Chainsaw Man crafted a consistently surprising tale of grief and filmmaking. You won’t be able to put this one down. You won’t want to.
A clever portrait of an artist’s journey that smartly combines prose and art, Alison is beautiful in every way. The tale is so convincing that I still can’t believe it isn’t a memoir. Lizzy Stewart is an unparalleled storyteller.
As my colleague Gigi stated in the Best Books of 2023: Kids & Teens list (where Mexikid also appears), every reader of this book will celebrate the story of Pedro and his family’s road trip to collect his Abuelito from the family home in Mexico. Especially fun are the amusing annotations that are peppered throughout this immensely entertaining book.
A new book from cousins Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki is always a joyous occasion! And Roaming is a perfect encapsulation of early adulthood: new freedoms, new angles on old friendships, and the ability to use those freedoms to complicate those friendships. A bit wry, but never cynical, reading, Roaming is indeed a joyous occasion.
This memoir from The New Yorker cartoonist Navied Mahdavian covers a period where he and his wife moved from the Bay Area to a small, off-the-grid home in backcountry Idaho. At times funny, at time insightful, and at times meditative, This Country is a generous, but clear-eyed, look at being brown in rural America.
An indigenous grindhouse revenge tale with a sci-fi twist from horror novelist Stephen Graham Jones, this book is worth picking up for the premise alone: in the near future, when climate changes has made Earth nearly uninhabitable, a plan is hatched: go back in time and stop the “discovery” of the North American continent. Sounds good, right?
Daniel Clowes, a true master of the medium, tells the story of one woman in chapters that cross genres to produce a stunning literary kaleidoscope effect. A truly rich story about lost people and the forces that prey on them, Monica is a book to read and re-read. It’s also my favorite book of the year.
A graphic memoir about family, memory, and the dream that technology might grant a kind of immortality. Amy Kurzweil’s work is so well-observed and controlled that the book’s emotional weight may not be immediately apparent, but it builds to a stunning — and deeply moving — conclusion.