Review: American Born Chinese Pushes Readers To Be Themselves

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When I picked up this intriguing book by Gene Luen Yang, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even expect it to be a graphic novel! But this book really surprised me, and had me staying up late to finish it😂. I love how it was a perfect mix of realistic, relatable fiction and mythological, fantastical fiction. Here’s why you should read this award-winning novel:

This book switches from three perspectives: an Asian boy named Jin Wang, a white boy named Danny, and a monkey from a Chinese myth. They are all very different, but have one thing in common: they all want to fit in. When the Monkey King isn’t allowed to enter a dinner party all the gods and goddesses were at because he was a monkey, he tries to become more like them. Danny wants to settle into his new school, but when his cousin Chin-Kee joins, he knows he’s going to be frustrated because his cousin embraces his Chinese culture, and Danny doesn’t. Jin Wang has always been different from his classmates because he is Chinese, and when he starts going after a white girl, he tries to act different to get her attention, even changing his hairstyle.

I liked this book because of the crazy plot twists. Honestly, this book was insanely good. All of the main characters’ lives intersect crazily…that’s all I’m going to tell you! I feel like this is a book a lot of people can relate to as well. Humans have some crazy instinct to fit in all the time, and that’s okay, but you should never change who you are to blend in with others. This book did a great job in emphasizing that with robot transformer symbolism and scenes where characters would literally change their form.

Read this book if you’re into mythology series’ like Percy Jackson & The Olympians, or graphic novels like El Deafo. This book is for tweens because there is a kissing scene and other mature content.

I rate this book four out of four roses! My favorite character was Jin’s friend Wei-Chen because his backstory was really interesting. Plus, a lot of the story revolves around him, and as you near the end of the book you figure out why.

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