The best YA graphic novel series about slow-burning high school romances

Stephen McCranie Author Of Space Boy, Volume 1
By Stephen McCranie

Who am I?

My name is Stephen McCranie and I'm currently working on Space Boy, a slow-burning high school romance that asks the question, "How do we bridge the gap between us?" I love working in this particular genre because high school is such a formative period for all of us. Also, when a romance burns slowly, the audience gets time to explore the world of the story, which can often be dynamic and lush with detail. And then, when our lovers find each other at long last, it is all the more sweet for having waited.

I wrote...

Space Boy, Volume 1

By Stephen McCranie,

Book cover of Space Boy, Volume 1

What is my book about?

When Amy's dad loses his job, she and her family are forced to move back to Earth, a thirty-year journey, spent in cryogenic sleep. Amy wakes up to a strange and different world, where she has to attend a new school and make new friends. There she meets a boy possessed by an emptiness as deep as space. It is a story about an alien artifact, a mysterious murder, and a love that crosses light-years.

The books I picked & why

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Cross Game, Volume 1

By Mitsuru Adachi,

Book cover of Cross Game, Volume 1

Why this book?

I love Mitsuru Adachi for his masterful storytelling and playful touch. Comics are all about choosing the right moments to string into sequences, and Adachi has a knack for choosing surprising moments without losing the clarity of the story. He's had a huge influence on my work. A story about two friends: an ace pitcher and an ace batter, and their rivalry for love and victory on the baseball field. Behind this epic baseball drama is a wonderful story about the couple that could never be.


By Svetlana Chmakova,

Book cover of Dramacon

Why this book?

As a cartoonist, the convention scene has always been nostalgic to me, and serves as the perfect backdrop for this slow-burning romance about a guy who cosplays and a girl who writes comics. Manga and anime, love and heartbreak, pocky and ramune, this love story hits all the nerdy notes in just the right way. 

Orange: The Complete Collection 1

By Ichigo Takano,

Book cover of Orange: The Complete Collection 1

Why this book?

A girl gets a letter from her future self, telling her to do everything she can to save a suicidal classmate, even if that means falling in love with him. A sweet love story with a hint of time travel that helped me understand the sacrifice love demands. I would love to be able to write a romance like this someday. 

Bakuman, Vol. 1: Dreams and Reality

By Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (illustrator),

Book cover of Bakuman, Vol. 1: Dreams and Reality

Why this book?

A story about two high school friends trying to make it in the manga industry. The twist: our hero can't be with the girl he loves until he makes his dreams as an artist come true. A series that helped me understand the inner workings of Japan's comic industry.

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1

By Natsuki Takaya,

Book cover of Fruits Basket, Vol. 1

Why this book?

A homeless high school girl is taken in by a mysterious family, whose members are possessed by the 13 animals of the Zodiac. As she lives with the family, she slowly uncovers hidden wounds, which she heals with her generous spirit. Eventually, she falls in love with one of the two brothers her age, but which one will it be? Usually, with love triangles like this, I can figure out almost immediately who will end up together, but this one took me a while, which made the story all the more interesting.  

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