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American Born Chinese

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  36,499 ratings  ·  4,388 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, 240 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by First Second (first published September 1st 2006)
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Olivia I would say this book is most appropriate for 11+ but might be better appreciated by an older audience.
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Jessica Abarquez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A graphic novel with a wonderful overarching message about identity and a solid representation of Asian-American characters. In American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang details the story of Jin Wang, the only Chinese-American at his new school. Yang intertwines Jin's struggle with the tale of Chin-Kee (say this name aloud), the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, as well as the legend of the Monkey King, one of the most famous Chinese fables. These three plots come together in an unexpected way t ...more
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
One thing that stood out most is that the author focused on exploring the inner self-conscious shame of the immigrant or non-Western, instead of making his main characters perfect, full of mature pride for his identity. In fact, the students around Jin Wang and Wei Chen were portrayed pretty realistically too - some of them were disgusting bullies seeing only one stereotypical image of the Asian, some were more subtly bigoted, and some others don't treat them any different. Although I'm Asian, n ...more
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

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 review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
About a week ago, The Shadow Hero finally exposed me to Gene Luen Yang's writing. Now I need to find out what I have been missing, of course, and American Born Chinese is my second encounter with the Chinese American author.

Both books are about the immigrant experience, a topic difficult to write about in a way that is politically correct but not all too obvious and predictable. In both cases I had some doubts early on as to whether Yang would be able to pull it off, but both times he eventually
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
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
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
Agne Jakubauskaite
Jun 24, 2015 Agne Jakubauskaite rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who has ever wished to be somebody else.
Recommended to Agne by: Read and Meet Book Club

"American Born Chinese" is Gene Luen Yang's multiple-award-winning comic book, featuring three seemingly unrelated stories. The first tale is a well-known Chinese fable about the Monkey King, who is the master of kung-fu and the ruler of the monkey kingdom, Flower-Fruit Mountain. There is only one thing the Monkey King is unhappy about: he doesn’t want to be a monkey. The second story is centered around Jin Wang, American born Chinese, who transferred to a new school, where he i
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
Liz Janet
After reading Gene Luen Yang's Avatar and Boxers and Saints, I was very excited to see what this story would be about. I have to give it credit, it introduced me to the Monkey King, "ABC and fresh-off-the-boat" stereotypes, and he meddled all together, in which one tale derives from the other, however he seemed to abruptly end it before the tale took deep enough roots. When I finished I was surprised because it seemed like I had missed something, the story was taken from my hands and I was left ...more
A lovely interweaving of three stories, which Yang skillfully ties together at the end of this moving book. Here he examines identity and ethnicity, bullying and belonging, stereotypes and perceptions, love and friendship. Yang's art is beautiful and the message that we are purposely crafted and skillfully made resonated deeply within me. I am created to be me; a difficult lesson to fully comprehend when my wandering gaze glamorizes others and makes me feel inadequate. Beautiful, Gene Luen Yang.
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
This was a neat way to tell a familiar story. The ending threw me for a second, (view spoiler) but it was a nice, weird way to wrap things up.
I haven't read Boxers or Saints yet, but I plan to. I loved his more recent book, The Shadow Hero.
Haley  *on the cold winds of night you will find me*
You know, I don't read too many graphic novels. But I quite enjoyed this! I will definitely check out more by this author.

This book is composed of three stories; 1) the tale of the Monkey King, who wants to be more than a monkey, he wants to be a god. 2) The story of Jin Wang and how he struggles with being Asian in a predominantly white school and 3) Danny's story and his relationship with his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee.
It's kind of confusing at first, but all the stories end up being connected.
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Schlow Centre Reg...: American Born Chinese 1 4 Sep 21, 2015 01:17PM  
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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...
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“It's easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you're willing to forfeit your soul.” 54 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…