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American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese (2006)

by Gene Luen Yang

Other authors: Lark Pien (Colorist)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,692None2,197 (4.01)133
Asian American (81) Asian Americans (26) China (49) Chinese (80) Chinese American (104) Chinese Americans (71) comic (33) comics (100) coming of age (51) fiction (150) friendship (50) graphic (29) graphic novel (787) high school (41) humor (45) identity (111) immigrants (43) Monkey King (52) multicultural (46) mythology (34) Printz (59) Printz Award (68) race (36) racism (69) read (60) school (27) stereotypes (78) teen (63) YA (140) young adult (140)

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English (214)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  All languages (216)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
Consists of three stories, all of which are about wanting to fit in and what lengths one will go in order to be part of that group. This novel specifically addresses the importance of culture and friendship. The idea behind the three different stories is to show the same idea in slightly different ways.
  mariasegoviano | Feb 10, 2014 |
Really enjoyed this graphic novel--very attractively packaged and illustrated. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
American Born Chinese is an effective graphic novel story about Chinese-American identity, told through a mix of fantasy, satire, and realism. Yang's art style is clean and controlled, varying between sparsely populated frames to densely detailed action sequences. Personally, I prefer Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings to this work, but American Born Chinese is probably more accessible to more people, and definitely a solid read. ( )
  williecostello | Jan 18, 2014 |
This ended up being one of those books that took a turn at the end where everything came together. It reminds me of Holes in that way. Three completely separate stories all going on at the same time, that eventually get tied in at the end to make for a meaningful and playful ending. It was not only an easy read, but it was an enjoyable one as well! I had fun with all three of the stories, and I really was able to relate to the individual characters. Not to mention, it's one of the few graphic novels I've read that has all its panels done in color! Now that was a surprise and a nice change, since most of the time I'm used to reading mangas that don't have colored panels at all. For those more used to reading comics, perhaps there is a larger variety that comes with colored pages, but for me, it was definitely a nice change of pace.

To get down to things, this story by Gene Luen Yang was really a work of reality, fairy tale, and humor all woven together to create a story that not only is highly entertaining but has a lot of things to teach you. The best part is, the way it teaches you isn't even noticeable sometimes. *Chuckles* There are many occasions where our main characters think they've gotten the best of a situation or another person, and they end up still being put in their place and being taught something by their very own stubbornness. And while you half want to not take some of the stories seriously--like the one centered about the Monkey King--you find yourself so involved in his attitude, desires, and his cocky know-it-all supremacy, that you can't really help but eagerly read along anyway! In contrast you have stories like Jin's that are more serious, and that take you through all the things someone of Asian descent would go through even in a country like America. Our last story is Danny and Chin-Kee's, and it serves only to embarrass and harass for the most part. Is it super entertaining even while being completely reputation ruining for Danny? Yeah, it totally is. *Laughs* But the magic of all three of these stories comes together in a way very, very few authors can master. I praised Louis Sachar the first time I read Holes for doing something no one else has ever accomplished and with that level of skill, and while I still believe Louis Sachar has the crowning achievement in that realm, the way that Gene Luen Yang worked his story--regardless of its medium--to follow that 3-stories-weaving-into-1 pattern, is nothing short of clear talent, insight and a skilled imagination. Separately, all three of the stories are entertaining and enjoyable on their own parts. And likewise, all three of them teach you something a little bit similar but with their own differences. However, when put together, they become one single story that makes a greater impact than three small stories ever could, because now every pain, every struggle, and every message makes sense in the greater perspective.

It's a wonderfully easy-to-read book, and I laughed many times throughout it, and I found myself relating to it even though I have not a shred of Asian in me. *Chuckles* It's a graphic novel that stands out for all its simplicity, and it's one that is definitely not made solely for a younger audience, regardless of how the cover and the artwork looks. Do not judge! Because if you do, you'll miss out on something that is a lot bigger than your potentially shallow interpretation of what this book is going to be about. It's something that can not only entertain you, but can teach you! And I highly doubt you'll be bored or even be able to guess what comes next in any of the stories that are told. It's such a delicious read. My only complaint is that I would love to read more. *Laughs* And that's not a complaint at all! So pick this up, and give yourself a chance to experience something far different than what you normally may! You won't regret it. ( )
  N.T.Embe | Dec 31, 2013 |
I read this for class, although I've wanted to read it for a while. I quite enjoyed it, but agree that the ending felt a bit rushed. ( )
  scote23 | Dec 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)

School Library Journal Review
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco s Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang s crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison s The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep s Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama. Philip Charles Crawford, Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gene Luen Yangprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pien, LarkColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
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Important places
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Awards and honors
To Ma,
for her stories of the Monkey King

And Ba,
for his stories of Ah-Tong, the Taiwanese village boy
First words
One bright and starry night, the Gods the Goddesses, the demons, and the spirits gathered in heaven for a dinner party.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A great mix of mythology and the second generation immigrant experience told with wit, insight and humour. The graphic novel format is spot-on for this book. The illustrations contribute powerfully to the text.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312384483, Paperback)

Indie graphic novelist Gene Yang's intelligent and emotionally challenging American Born Chinese is made up of three individual plotlines: the determined efforts of the Chinese folk hero Monkey King to shed his humble roots and be revered as a god; the struggles faced by Jin Wang, a lonely Asian American middle school student who would do anything to fit in with his white classmates; and the sitcom plight of Danny, an All-American teen so shamed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee (a purposefully painful ethnic stereotype) that he is forced to change schools. Each story works well on its own, but Yang engineers a clever convergence of these parallel tales into a powerful climax that destroys the hateful stereotype of Chin-Kee, while leaving both Jin Wang and the Monkey King satisfied and happy to be who they are.

Yang skillfully weaves these affecting, often humorous stories together to create a masterful commentary about race, identity, and self-acceptance that has earned him a spot as a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People. The artwork, rendered in a chromatically cool palette, is crisp and clear, with clean white space around center panels that sharply focuses the reader's attention in on Yang's achingly familiar characters. There isn't an adolescent alive who won't be able to relate to Jin's wish to be someone other than who he is, and his gradual realization that there is no better feeling than being comfortable in your own skin.--Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:41 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.

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