Oh, the Books! Bookish Guides: Illustrated YA

the Books!

Oh, the Books! Bookish Guides is a monthly recommendation feature in which we share books we love that fit a certain hard-to-find category. If you are having trouble finding a book that contains a certain feature and you want our help, send use the suggestion box on our Bookish Guides page and we may feature it on a future post!

Oh, the Books! Bookish Guides: Illustrated YA

Since all of us love illustrated books and drool over concept art, we thought that this would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite books with illustrations!

Our Recommendations

Asti recommends…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness, Illustrated Book, Siobhan DowdMy first recommendation has to be for my favorite illustrated YA novel: Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls. Seriously, if you didn’t buy this book when you read my review, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. This book is such a quick, but GOOD read, full of intense emotions and memorable lines. The illustrations are beautiful and work beautifully with the writing. I just can’t recommend this one enough.


Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson

Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld, Illustrated by Keith ThompsonDetailed and beautiful illustrations, evolution and steampunk, and World War I. What more do you want from one book? I was so excited when Scott Westerfeld published this series, and would frequently visit his website during it’s publication to check out the images he would share from the book that provided a sneak peak at what was to come. It’s one of the first illustrated YA novels that I read, and it made me hungry for more!

Tinder by Sally Gardner and David Roberts

Tinder, Sally GardnerThis was an impulse purchase based off the illustrations alone. I absolutely love black and white illustrations, and this book is made up of just that – with splashes of red. They’re gritty, gory, and twisted, but I thought they were beautifully done. Unfortunately, the writing didn’t quite hit the spot for me. It’s reads as if an old fairytale, a bit more formal than I would have liked. But still, it’s work checking out just for the drawings alone.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman and David McKean

Coraline, Neil Gaiman, Illustrated BookCoraline is more MG than YA, but I think it has crossover appeal so it’s being added to the list. This is a quick little read that is sure to give you the creeps! I mean, if Gaiman’s writing wasn’t enough, seeing the illustrations of Coraline’s Other Mother with button eyes – yikes! I’ve read this book multiple times and have enjoyed it each and every time. Everyone should read it, no matter what age!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieI actually read this book for my Young Adult literature class I took during my undergraduate degree, and was pleasantly surprised. The cartoon drawings add a sense of humor to the story, which is much needed since the MC is dealing with so many difficult issues throughout the text. Recommend not only for the story and drawings, but for the diversity featured within the story as well.

Cathy’s Book by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, and Cathy Brigg

Cathy's BookEach one of these books require publishers to agree to step out of their YA box a little, but this one especially did. It is one of the only attempts (that I’ve seen) that really tried to make reading an interactive experience by including doodles throughout, along with phone numbers to call and websites to visit (“evidence”) that were apart of the story. I reread it prior to this guide and I have to say, it suffers from Twilight-syndrome, but it’s still fun.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

In the Shadows, Kiersten White, Jim Di BartoloAnother book I read in preparation for this Bookish Guide, and one that I absolutely fell in love with (it’s up there with A Monster Calls)! Instead of just having the illustrations accompany the text, this illustrations in this book tell their own story in-between each chapter of text. The two come together beautifully at the end to create one beautiful and captivating story. An open mind and a little patience is required, but it’s so worth it.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner and Julian Crouch

Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner, Julian Crouch, Illlustrated YALast book I read for this guide! Maggot Moon is very interesting because the illustrations sort of… move through the story. If you flip through the pages of the book, it’s like flipping through a flip book with the illustrations moving across the page. They illustrate what is happening in the book on a symbolic level. It’s quite interesting, and I’m not quite sure I completely got it. But I do think the story itself is still quite good and worth a read.

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