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The School Library Journal magazine has named the first volume of Akira Hiramoto's Me and the Devil Blues manga one of the best adult books for high school students that was published between September 2007 and November of this year. The manga is based on the life story of the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson in America during the Great Depression. In the manga's fictionalized account, "R.J." had to sell his soul to the devil to win his talent. The manga was published in Japan by Kodansha and in North America by Del Rey.
School Library Journal, a frequently referenced source of information for elementary, junior high, and high school librarians, lauded the volume for "successfully stretching manga beyond what most American teens know." It was the only manga included among the 30 books that were granted this honor this year. The lineup features seven other graphic novels, 13 fiction text titles, and nine non-fiction text works. All of the award-winners were chosen by a committee composed of American and Canadian librarians who work with teenage readers. The committee's main criteria was that the books should both appeal to high school-age audiences, and introduce them to more complicated stories and ways of storytelling.