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A Career in Books: A Novel About Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun

Kate Gavino (Plume)

Satire and sass drive this wicked send-up of the publishing industry, which doubles as a satisfying friendship story, informed by Gavino’s own stint as an editorial assistant in New York City. After a trio of young Asian American women embark on entry-level gigs in the book business, Gavino perfectly pencils in all the punch lines—and price tags—along their way.

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The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere.

James Spooner (Harper)

Afro-Punk filmmaker Spooner makes a mosh pit–style landing into comics with his graphic memoir of growing up as a punk rock–loving biracial teenager in the California desert, where he dodged racist bullies while trying desperately to get the girl (and a band to stick together), told against a raucous 1990s soundtrack. It’s raw, loud, and right-on.

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Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank

Eric Orner (Metropolitan)

Leveraging his access as the former aide to groundbreaking gay rights advocate (and formerly closeted gay man) U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, Orner pulls off an exemplar graphic biography, packed with insider anecdotes and high-level insights into the machinations and foibles of a storied (and sometimes sullied) political career. And it’s brilliantly drawn, to boot.

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Who Will Make the Pancakes: Five Stories

Megan Kelso (Fantagraphics)

The playful, poignant quintet of short stories in Girlhero creator Kelso’s long-awaited new collection show off her nimble cartooning, ear for dialogue, and skill for drawing small moments and gestures that ground the women at the center of these tales, told across decades and genres, as true to life. The stunning “Watergate Sue,” which presents a precisely told Nixon-era family drama, is worth the price of admission alone.

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