MMGM and #IMWAYR: Ghost Book, plus my favorite graphic novels of the summer!

The time of me posting weekly and commenting on everyone's blogs is most likely coming to an end, seeing as how I'm starting grad school today (if you're reading this on Monday).

It's an exciting and also daunting time, and my hope is to preserve my free time as best I can—but I also know myself, and I know that blogging tends to be the first thing to fall off my to-do list, mostly to preserve my own sanity!

But I do have one last post to wrap up the summer. And y'all, I have to say, this was the Summer of Graphic Novels for me, because I read...

33 graphic novels this summer, plus 3 re-reads!

Bringing me to a total of...

128 graphic novels read in my lifetime!

That feels like a huge success to me, especially considering that not all of my other my summer goals came to fruition amidst the unanticipated chaos and exhaustion that is Life™.

So what I'd like to do now is share one last graphic novel from the summer, and then highlight my favorite graphic novels that I've already reviewed this summer, so they can get one last hurrah in front of my lovely audience!

Let's hop to it!

Middle Grade:

Ghost Book

Written and illustrated by Remy Lai
Graphic novel · 2023
Recommended by Lisa Maucione and Laura Mossa

· · · The publisher says: · · ·

Twelve years ago, the boy and the girl lived. But one was supposed to die.

July Chen sees ghosts. But her dad insists ghosts aren’t real. So she pretends they don’t exist. Which is incredibly difficult now as it's Hungry Ghost month, when the Gates of the Underworld open and dangerous ghosts run amok in the living world. When July saves a boy ghost from being devoured by a Hungry Ghost, he becomes her first ever friend. Except William is not a ghost. He’s a wandering soul wavering between life and death. As the new friends embark on an adventure to return William to his body, they unearth a ghastly truth―for William to live, July must die. 

Inspired by Chinese mythology, this dark yet resoundingly hopeful tale about friendship, sacrifice, and the unseen world of ghosts is a dazzling heir to beloved Studio Ghibli classics.

· · · · · ·

This was such an atmospheric read—Remy Lai has created a somber yet humorous universe full of wistful and frightening Hungry Ghosts, dopey underlings who maintain the balance of life and death, forgettable children, almost-tragedies, adrenaline-fueled chases through peaceful villages, and dumplings. Plenty of dumplings.

However, it might have been my mental state during the week, but I had a strange amount of trouble keeping track of the plot and understanding the logic of the Underworld. I also had mixed feelings about the ending.

But still, this book is proof that Remy Lai has a brilliant imagination, and puts it to good use.

My favorite graphic novels of the summer!

The moment we've been waiting for! To be clear, all of these are books I've highlighted in the past few months, so just click on a book's title to see my full review, the publisher's description, and other info.

Middle Grade:

The Moth Keeper

Why? Because the worldbuilding of this book's village is rich and welcoming, because its characters are lovable and layered, and because the book's own internal mythology becomes a parallel to the characters' own experiences!

Lucy in the Sky

Why? Because Lucy's family dynamics are layered and thought-provoking, because music becomes a way for Lucy to find herself amidst the chaos of growing up, and because the visuals aren't afraid to experiment to convey unique feelings!

Isla to Island

Why? Because the wordless storytelling shows respect to Marisol's experience and makes it accessible, and because Marisol learns to find solace in the joys of everyday life amidst the challenges of her refugee experience!

Young Adult (some bordering on Adult):

Messy Roots

(I'm cheating slightly to include this, since it's from March!)

Why? Because Laura Gao tells their life story as an immigrant from Wuhan, China and a queer person with sensitivity and humor, and because the realistic and metaphorical scenes alike are real and evocative!

In Limbo

Why? Because few books discuss child abuse, suicide, and mental health as bravely and gently as this one, because Deb JJ Lee's art brings to life their perspective as a young person, and because this book challenges you to see things from perspectives most people would rather write off!


Why? Because this book weaves joy and hardship into a tale of queer romance in rural Texas, because it crafts characters that worm their way into your heart, and because it recognizes Cade and Henry's experiences both as individuals and as a couple!

Gender Queer

Why? Because Maia Kobabe's brave telling of eir own story deserves an audience, because the illustrations are a warm and gentle space of self-exploration, and because it forces us to get over ourselves when it comes to talking about sexuality!


Why? Because protagonist Skim is unequivocally wonderful and worthy of love, because this story has things to say about mental health stigma, the pain of love, and homophobia, and because this is a queer book published in 2008 (so it's groundbreaking)!

My Last Summer with Cass

Why? Because this story dives deep into the philosophy of creating art, because its plot and NYC setting are fast-paced and immersive, and because its core friendship is rich and layered!


Why? Because Ray and Laurie are pretty much a perfect couple, because the book has so much to say about balancing your own individuality with the love you create with your partner, and because the combination of contemporary life and fantasy elements is irresistible!

Dancing at the Pity Party

Why? Because Tyler Feder is honest about what real grief actually feels like, because the words and illustrations alike are warm and witty, and because this book is a powerful ode to a wonderful human gone too soon!


Good Talk

Why? Because Mira Jacob has brilliant insights about being (and raising) a person of color in the United States, because her humor cuts through your defenses so you actually listen, and because the uncanny-valley feeling of her collaged illustrations mimics the unease this story is talking about!

Understanding Comics

Why? Because no book explaining how the medium of comics operates on a technical level is as insightful, clear, or flat-out fun to read as this one!

Random thoughts:

I have continued devouring episodes of Summer Camp Island, and y'all, it just keeps getting better and better, more wholesome and more wholesome, more intriguing and more intriguing—I'm hooked! My concerns have pretty much flown out the window, and my hope is that the 11-minute episodes will be perfect for fitting into my grad school schedule. So that's exciting!!

That's all, y'all!

Thanks for joining me on this summer graphic novel journey—it's been a joy to have you here! ✨✨


  1. Both Messy Roots and Cass were soooooo good!

  2. Congratulations on all the graphic novels!! And for sharing so many reviews over hte summer. Best of luck with grad school, and even if you're not here every week, I hope you'll drop in occasionally!

  3. Thanks for all of the recommendations. I need to read Moth Keeper and Understanding Comics. Going to put them on hold now! Carol Baldwin

  4. What a great summer of reading! You have become the go to site for graphic novel recommendations. Best of luck in Grad School. I actually miss those days as that time was an engaging and thought provoking experience. I'm hoping you'll find it to be the same. Thanks for the fantastic list of graphic novels and I hope you'll stop by again on MMGM when your schedule allows.

  5. Grad school? That's wonderful!! Congratulations! And, wow, that's a lot of graphic novels, both this summer and overall. Thanks for recapping your favorites. I really need to catch up. Good luck with school! Pop in when you have time :)

    Book By Book

  6. You have had quite the reading summer. And now on to Grad School. Congratulations. I have a few graphic novels on my TBR list, and you know I'm not a big fan of GNs. But they are on my list due to your reviews. Thanks.

  7. I was so excited about the Remy Lai book that I went over and put a hold on a copy. Then I returned and got excited all over for you! Congratulations on starting grad school. I loved it way more than doing my bachelor’s degree. Good luck!
    I appreciate your list of favorites here and will target those I haven’t already read.

  8. You've read so many graphic novels this summer! I have to check out all of those middle grade titles.

  9. Wow! Congrats on your Summer of Graphic Novels! And I enjoy it anytime someone keeps track of how many books of a certain kind someone has ever read.


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