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

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Cross Game, Volume 1

Stephen McCranie Why did I love 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 Mitsuru Adachi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cross Game, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cross Game is a moving drama that is heartfelt and true, yet in the brilliant hands of manga artist Mitsuru Adachi, delightfully flows with a light and amusing touch. The series centers around a boy named Ko, the family of four sisters who live down the street and the game of baseball. This poignant coming-of-age story will change your perception of what shonen manga can be.


Book cover of Dramacon

Stephen McCranie Why did I love 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. 

By Svetlana Chmakova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dramacon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Relive Christie's three-year adventure at the Yatta Anime Convention with this 15th-anniversary edition of Svetlana Chmakova's debut series: Dramacon. All three volumes are compacted into one pocket-sized edition. 

Vol 1 Summary: When amateur writer Christie settles in the artist alley of her first-ever anime convention, she sees it as an opportunity to promote the manga she had started with her artist boyfriend. But when she unexpectedly falls for a mysterious cosplayer, things become complicated. What do you do when you love someone who is going miles away from you in just a couple of days?! Web-comic vet Svetlana Chmakova gives…


Book cover of Orange

Stephen McCranie Why did I love 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. 

By Ichigo Takano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Orange: The Complete Collection is a romantic comedy manga series by shoujo author and artist lchigo Takano. This critically-lauded manga series will tug at your heartstrings with its central plot device about time travel and communication with a future self. Seven Seas will release Orange: The Complete Collection in its entirety in two separate 384-page omnibus editions. Each omnibus collection will contain wrap-around covers, colour inserts, and captivating shoujo-style artwork. Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn't take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be…


Book cover of Dreams and Reality

Stephen McCranie Why did I love 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.

By Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dreams and Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world? Moritaka is hesitant to seriously consider Akito's proposal because he knows how difficult reaching the professional level can be. Still, encouragement from persistent Akito and motivation from his crush push Moritaka to test his limits!


Book cover of Fruits Basket, Vol. 1

Stephen McCranie Why did I love 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.  

By Natsuki Takaya, Natsuki Takaya (artist),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out...into a tent! Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn't long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own--when touched by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac!A perennial favorite of fans and librarians alike, Natsuki Takaya's beloved bestselling Fruits…


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The Romantics

By Isabel Jolie,

Book cover of The Romantics

Isabel Jolie Author Of Cloak of Red

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Nature lover Rower Reader Ad guru Dreamer

Isabel's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Some endings deserve a second chance.

In The Romantics, Dr. Harrison Ramsey's meticulously planned life collides with the ex he swore to forget. A prosperous plastic surgeon, Harrison is a member of an elite, exclusive Houston club, while Zuri faces professional ruin after a messy breakup. When circumstances force them back into each other's lives, old emotions resurface, and they find themselves retracing past steps in the plastic surgery practice where they both work. The two explore the complexities of letting go and evaluating life’s choices and expectations.

The Romantics is a grumpy billionaire, sizzling second chance romance between two doctors who once upon a time loved each other. Some things belong in the past, but maybe not everything.

The Romantics

By Isabel Jolie,

What is this book about?

Some endings deserve a second chance.


Dr. Harrison Ramsey has it all.

A flourishing plastic surgery practice, close friends, and a coveted membership to one of Houston's most elite and secretive clubs.

His life has followed the plan.


Dr. Zuri Lennox's life is a literal dumpster fire.

Thanks to a cheating ex whose Ferrari ran into her baseball bat, she's unemployed, at risk of losing her medical license, and maxed out on medical school loans and legal fees.

Nothing in her life has gone as planned.


When she left a decade ago, he had one request. A simple thing. For…


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