Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Born Chinese” as Want to Read:
American Born Chinese
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Born Chinese

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  33,259 ratings  ·  4,071 reviews
All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl...

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey K
Paperback, 235 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by First Second (first published September 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
28th out of 1,935 books — 4,471 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerDivergent by Veronica Roth
Best Young Adult Books
297th out of 9,245 books — 62,551 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
this book is the perfect antidote to the "graphic novels aren't real books" crowd's poison. it takes full advantage of the medium (lgm with the local boy scout troops), and just runs with it. this story could not have been told as well or as broadly using a more traditional narrative structure. and at the end, there is a perfect collapse - the three storylines streamline so perfectly into one message about cultural acclimatization and race-shame. and why it is bad. but not in a preachy way. it i ...more
Dolly Ou
Dec 08, 2007 Dolly Ou rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Gene Luen Yang does a good job telling his story about his life (or not his own maybe) as a Chinese American. I was very excited to read this book becasue first it was a graphic novel and second his story sort of connects with me since I am a Chinese American myself.
Yang chooses an interesting title, "American Born Chinese". Its not one of those clever, thought provoking titles, but it is a rare one that you don't come across often. I sort of anticipated on what this story will be about, but w
I wrote a poem many years ago about wishing I was black so I could have an afro. How do you beat afros as a hairstyle? About the only way is by having afro puffs, which white dudes also can't have. Partially because they are white, and partially because they're dudes.


I used to skip over that page of job applications that asks your ethnicity. I thought it was stupid that anyone would care what my race, or my sex, was before deciding whether or not to hire me. Hahahah, I was soooo naive!

Since the
Jessica Abarquez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seth Hahne
It's funny that the most notable thing I can tell you about this book is that it's in colour.

That might not strike you as odd, but really, for the type of story Yang tells, the comics industry has almost universally awarded such stories a black and white printing. If not autobiographical, American Born Chinese is the kind of story that might very well be.

Examining the difficulty with which a child born in one country from parents of another country, the author explores the kind of dissatisfactio
Kevin Xu
This book mixes three different stories to combine as one overall book about how it is like being the An Chinese American boy. All story are mixed together so all one sees is the bites and parts until the end. The first story is the famous Chinese Fable, Journey to the West, but just with the Monkey King trying to teach morals. Then the second story, where the main character Jin Wang is introduced at age 9 as his family moves. It details his life from childhood until the end of middle school wit ...more

Quite a quirky book, but it benefits from it. It does it's own thing and completely does it well. The themes were powerful and well delivered: I loved seeing the three different stories comment on racism, but more than that, self acceptance.

The art wasn't /necessarily/ outstanding, in the terms that I didn't find myself ogling over the illustrations. BUT, it was perfect for this story. It was wonderful! I liked it! Don't get me wrong! The monkey pictures were so cute!

I'll defin
This took all of about an hour to read and was totally worth it. Three stories of quiet power unfurl--the Monkey King, who undertakes a quest for dominance after a slight by the gods; Jin Wang, the title character and one of a handful of Asian students at his elementary school, trying to maneuver through bullies, love, and American culture; and Danny, a white teenager, and his Chinese cousin, Chin-kee, the embodiment of the racist Chinese stereotype. All three stories intersect in the climax, wi ...more
I’ve been hearing about Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese for months. The book won the Printz Award, was a National Book Award finalist, and was chosen the best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, etcetera, etcetera. This book has amazing credentials.

Considering all the buzz, all the acclaim, my expectations were so high that perhaps I could not help but be disappointed. The book is good, but is really great?

This is only the
Gene Luen Yang blends three stories (that of the famous chinese Monkey god from Journey to the West; the story of Jin Wang, an American boy born of Chinese immigrants; and Chin-Kee, a walking stereotype) into one humorous and thought-provoking story told in graphic novel form that reads like a self-effacing diary. His characters are funny and charming, and the three separate threads combine at the end to make them something greater than the sum of their parts.
American Born Chinese is easily a on
The opening section of this graphic novel, the Monkey King story, was a little hard to get into at first because I felt like I was missing some kind of cultural knowledge that would help me understand the story better. It felt like if I were Chinese, perhaps I would have heard this story before and would have a better idea of where it was going, what kind of message it was trying to give me. Whether it was intentional or not, this initial disconnect to the story actually helped me better underst ...more
The Flooze
The last book I read ended with the fierce hope that all of us might break free of the prisons of our own making, allowing us to embrace the beauty of the world with open hearts and minds. Interestingly, American Born Chinese expresses a very similar theme - though it does make the message more personal.

Consisting of three distinct stories, Yang’s graphic novel focuses most strongly on the acceptance of self. The main characters of these tales have identity issues galore. Jin, Danny, and the Mo
Separately, the three stories that make up this book are all immediately engaging and quite funny. Unfortunately, Yang tries to get fancy at the end, laboriously converging stories that were much better off on their own. The result is ultimately unsatisfying, a hasty wrap-up posing as innovative narrative. A shame, since until the overreaching conclusion I was feeling very four-star, even slightly five-star, about what I'd been reading. Three awesome graphic novels are better than one decent one ...more
Cait Grace
I'm not terribly knowledgable about Graphic Novels but I definitely enjoyed this one! It reminded me of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (which I read like a million years ago for school). It's kind of an exaggerated truth about learning to be who you really are and accept yourself. There's a lot in it about racism too and how hard it is for culture's to accept other cultures.

SO YUS. It was a fantastic read.

It was a fair bit nonsensical, which I usually loved...but I did find myself
Three interweaved stories culminate into a surprising and thought provoking climax in Gene Luen Yang’s “American Born Chinese.” This colorful graphic novel blends the tales of a Monkey King (an old Chinese fable), Jin Wang (a young Chinese American boy fighting a negative stereotype) and Chin-Kee (the literal stereotype Jin is trying to admonish). Yang cleverly explores the socially sensitive issues of self acceptance through their tales. The alternating accounts of transformation are animated i ...more
Chad Bearden
Oct 16, 2008 Chad Bearden rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: Kerri Harris
I think, to my middle school English teaching colleagues, I portray myself as hating anything that is written primarily for adolescents rather than for adults. In practice, this is basically true. Most of what I've read with the "Young Adult" label is adequately written but thematically obvious, and kids who get excited about such works are the kinds who are then able to brag that they read a great book, but without having to do any of the heavy intellectual lifting that is required from reading ...more
May 26, 2007 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: New converts to graphic novels
I know this is shallow, but one of the things I like about graphic novels is that they're such fast reads. It was extremely satisfying to complete Yang's funny, engaging, and wise tale in under an hour - which included lingering over the simple, colorful artwork.

Yang weaves together three distinct stories that generate deft insights into racial identity, adolescent anguish, and the folly of hubris. Although I found each storyline interesting, my favorite was the legend of the Monkey King, whose
Charlotte Jones
I had heard nothing but amazing things about this graphic novel before picking it up so when I saw it in the library I thought I’d give it a go.

One of the most important things for me personally when it comes to graphic novels is the artwork and in this one I think that it was done really well and suited the style of the story, though it did take me a few pages to get into.

I loved the interwoven stories of modern day America with the more traditional tales of the Monkey King, pairing Chinese myt
Elli (The Bibliophile)
I really enjoy Gene Luen Yang's art, and I liked how he created the characters (they were well developed.) I also really liked how he dealt with the problems faced by Asian-Americans (or any other visible minorities/immigrants really.)

At first, I found some aspects of Jin's story a bit disjointed, it seemed like (especially in the first couple of pages of his section) the author was trying to tell a lot in a short amount of time, so it felt a bit rushed.

I liked how there were 3 distinct storyli
Sunny Stone
Love this book!!! Great drawing and great designed plot. I enjoyed Yang's adaptation of the "pilgrimage to the west," and think he's wise to connect three seem-like irelevant stories with each other, which was a great suprise to see in the end.
I took an Asian American study class last summer,from which I realized it's never been easy for an Asian American to grow up in the United States. He or she may more or less subject to confusion by their looks. However, I learned it as an absolute bysta
Nov 29, 2008 Mahrya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ages 10-14
Shelves: juvenilia
Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese, First Second, 233 pages. Graphic Novel.

Description: This book tells three concurrent stories. In one, the Monkey King is punished for acting as though he is better than the gods and mortals around him. In the other two stories, Chinese American boys try to adjust to live in a mostly white high school.

Review: American Born Chinese, does a wonderful job of exploring the depths of what people can lose when they try too hard to assimilate. When Jin Wang is r
I gave this graphic novel 3.5 stars

I've been wanting to read this graphic novel ever since I saw it on FrenchieDee's YouTube channel. I found it at my college's library and read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed the storyline for the most part, but was left iunsatisfied by the end. To me, it seemed as if Yang ran out of steam before he had finished all the characters' stories. In short, the story was going good until it abruptly ended.

Nevertheless, the artwork in the book was really eye catchi
A masterpiece of storytelling that resonates long after reading. Gene Luen Yang weaves three tales that deal with identity and transformation. Each is entertaining and thought-provoking: the folk tale of the Monkey King, the personal story of Jin Wang and his struggle to fit into white America, and the story of Danny, a white student visited by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee who displays every known racial stereotype.

I rank this among the great graphic novels I've experienced: Maus, Watchmen, The D
I was enjoying this book a lot until near the ending, where it got a bit confusing and wrapped up a bit to quickly for me. I wanted a bit more from the ending, but I liked the themes surrounding stereotypes and racism. Also the graphics were enjoyable.
This was my first graphic novel, and I have to admit that I was not originally open to the idea. I was immediately interested in both the writing style of the graphic novel and the three story lines: the Monkey King, Jin, and Chin-Kee. The novel also helped me to understand and disprove many Asian stereotypes. I loved the novel until the end where the three stories intertwine. I strongly disliked the way the stories came together; it would have made more sense if the stories ended in their own s ...more
Shannon (leaninglights)
Full Review:

Pretty interesting how all the stories linked together. I enjoyed this one!

I think this book would have been better if I read it while I was younger... I know that's a really snoby thing to say but God did this feel a little too childish.

The humor was dry. The characters were not relatable whatsoever and the perspectives felt really choppy beside each other. But the saving grace of this book was its ending because it was brilliant.

Also the art wasn't my taste.

I mean this book was ok but if I were to describe it to someone, I would say its awkward. Awkward shif
Christine (Voldy's Gone Moldy)
This was v good but I don't really want to talk about this book (I know, sorry if you were looking for a review. I'll add that stuff later.)

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately (esp. by this author) because I can't really bring myself to read books anymore. I adore YA novels, but when I step in the library, I don't really feel the connection to all these beautiful YA novels anymore (because I haven't read a lot of books this year, and so I'm not all up-to-date). I don't even know whe
Gene Luen Yang really showed the world all the possible Asian stereotypes. The three plots made all complete sense by the end of the book. It was one huge plot twist. There are three protagonists in this book and it's Danny, The Monkey King and Jin Wang. Since it's written in a comic book structure, the book thoroughly illustrates the many stereotypes Asian people face in a hysterical way. Danny is a caucasian male that happens to have a Asian cousin that visits once a year called Chinkee. Danny ...more
Samantha Cox
"When he entered his royal chamber, the thick smell of monkey fur greeted him. He'd never noticed it before. He stayed awake for the rest of the night thinking of ways to get rid of it."

This simple line struck me in the very beginning of the story. It's so poignant; it's that moment when you realize you're different and you never noticed it before. It reminds me of a child's loss of innocence, when a child realizes that he or she is not the same as others and discovers discrimination, or racism,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
OneBookOneRiverHill: The awesomeness of a Graphic Novel 9 8 Jan 02, 2015 09:36PM  
OneBookOneRiverHill: Humor 4 8 Dec 31, 2014 02:59PM  
OneBookOneRiverHill: Theme 2 7 Dec 10, 2014 07:21AM  
  • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
  • The Plain Janes (Janes, #1)
  • Skim
  • Re-Gifters
  • How Mirka Got Her Sword (Hereville #1)
  • The Adventures of Superhero Girl
  • The Storm in the Barn
  • A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
  • Robot Dreams
  • A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return
  • Laika
  • The Rabbi's Cat
  • Same Difference
  • A Wreath for Emmett Till
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia
  • Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party
  • To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel
  • Bayou Vol. 1
Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.

More about Gene Luen Yang...
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 1 (The Search, #1) Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1 (The Promise, #1) Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift, Part 1 (The Rift, #1) Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 2 (The Promise, #2) Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)

Share This Book

“It's easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you're willing to forfeit your soul.” 49 likes
"So what am I supposed to do now?"

"You know, Jin, I would have saved myself from five hundred years' imprisonment beneath a mountain of rock had I only realized how good it is to be a monkey."

More quotes…