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Koko Be Good

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,644 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Koko's always got a new project cooking, even though they usually end in total disaster. This time will be different, Koko promises herself. This time, she's decided to Be Good. But how can a girl whose greatest talent is causing trouble get her act cleaned up? If she's being honest with herself, Koko isn't even sure what "being good" means.

Jon knows what being good means,
Paperback, First Edition, 300 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by First Second
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Nov 02, 2014 Miriam rated it it was ok
This graphic novel made me feel like all old curmudgeon. The young people, what a bunch of shallow, boring assholes! They're so dumb, so selfish, their bars are so boring and so is their conversation!

Koko is not Bad in a way that is entertainingly naughty; she's a completely selfish, manipulative, lawless horrible person who gets by taking advantage of the kindness of others and then screwing them over or ruining things not even for some personal advantage but just because she doesn't give a cra
Holly Lee (Bellas Novella)
From start to finish this graphic novel needs a lot of fine tuning. The beginning was hard to follow, with a lot of jumping around and not a lot of dialogue it was hard to tell what characters were important, and what was even going on. The book settled into itself about two-thirds of the way through and became much easier to follow which was a welcome relief.

The characters seemed very superficial and the story lacked depth. I felt as though the major life decisions that Koko, and Jon were maki
Sep 01, 2012 M rated it liked it
As usual with anything that posits itself within the world of "indie" and "hipster" sensibilities, I am of two minds about this comic. On the one, admittedly superficial level, I was put off by indie/hipster conceits of people leading impossibly cool lives that, quite frankly, have nothing in common with real life as I've observed it. But the comic surprised me. It actually touches upon how empty such "cool" lives can be. Most importantly, it deals with identity, with indecision, fear, and ...more
Matt G.
Apr 15, 2014 Matt G. rated it really liked it
Of all the books I've read this quarter so far, this has probably been the most enjoyable. While it didn't have the deep (and terrifying) insight of Alan Moore's From Hell or the beauty and wonder of Shaun Tan's The Arrival, it had something neither of those books had; true enjoyability.

The storyline revolves around two characters trying to find their place in the world. One of them, Jon, is pretty much a goody-two-shoes, who is moving to Peru with his girlfriend to help Orphans. The other is Ko
Erlynn (BooksHugBack)
Aug 25, 2011 Erlynn (BooksHugBack) rated it really liked it
Koko Be Good is a coming of age graphic novel about two young people Jon and Koko whose paths cross. After recently entering the real world, Jon is about to give up his life to follow his much older girlfriend to Peru for her dreams. The story follows Jon through the process of him giving up all his interests and opportunities for that of another. He runs into a young girl Koko at a party who is just trying to get by in life. Jon's story causes her to struggle with what type of person she should ...more
Aug 19, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Wang's beautiful tonal and expressive watercolors illustrate 3 lives intersecting at turning points for each. Wild child, drop-out, unapologetic Koko literally runs into recent graduate Jon at an afterwork party and shatters his certainty in self-sacrificial romance. While each begins to take a page from the other's life, underage Faron is caught in the lost lives of the adults surrounding him, while dreaming of a future that seems beyond his grasp. Wang beautifully captures the multicultural ...more
Wren Jacobson
Feb 28, 2016 Wren Jacobson rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Nimona
I really liked this one! Review to come.
I cannot help but compare this to Solanin by Inio Asano. I just can't. They're very simliar, but work differently. I feel like this one may've aimed for more complexity (although perhaps I just didn't recognize or now don't remember the social issues touched on in Solanin), but it does so very broadly, and I'm not sure of its resulting success as a story. It definitely had, for me, less emotional impact. A few good moments, but...

Faron was the best character. <3

Throughout the book, I couldn't
Mar 24, 2010 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphicnovels
Jen Wang's astonishing debut is an assured and heartfelt story of people searching for their place in their world. The fundamental question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" doesn't end when you actually have grown up, it only becomes more pronounced and real. Wang's characters have passed the precipice of adulthood, but they are still confused about what they want out of life. Jon has abandoned his dreams of making music to follow his older girlfriend to Peru, where she will work in ...more
Black Elephants
Jul 15, 2013 Black Elephants rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
I remember Jen Wang from almost a decade ago when she worked on an online comic called "Strings of Fate." Based on the Chinese calendar and myth of the zodiac, the story burst with drama, comedy, romance and mystery. Unfortunately, like many online artists, Wang never finished the piece, but I've always remembered it. And so when I saw "Koko Be Good" in Skylight Books, I couldn't help but buy it.

Wang really understands facial expressions. Her characters are so expressive with their features. The
Oct 18, 2013 Jenna rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it and the drawing style was energetic. Although at some times Koko looked to have a receding hairline...
Ottery StCatchpole
Sep 02, 2011 Ottery StCatchpole rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2010 Beth rated it liked it
In Koko Be Good, Jon is preparing to uproot his life in CA to move to Peru and save the world with his much older mentor turned lover, Emily. He meets a girl named Koko who challenges him to reconsider his ideals, and his purpose for making the choices he's made.

Although I read over 200 pages of this book, I struggled throughout to keep everyone, (and the timeline!) straight. The present of the story is Jon waiting for Emily's return and preparing to leave with her, and Koko's life, and her frie
Nov 20, 2010 Ken-ichi rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, san-francisco
Jen Wang is a top tier cartoonist and her gifts for expressive faces and hands were on full display in this book. She managed to pack in a wide range of physiognomies while keeping things stylistically consistent, which made it a lot of fun to just inspect each page for all the weird smiles, grimaces, squints, etc. It was also fun to see so many places I know from San Francisco in comic form! BART stations, the dreaded Zeitgeist, Sutro Tower, the fog, the vertiginous hills.

All that said, the sto
Mar 10, 2013 Phoebe rated it liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
After an intensely confusing start (for me), I grew to appreciate the wide and over-the-top facial expressions of the characters in this thickly bound graphic novel about young people's attempts to strive for Good (capital intended.) This is the kind of book where the author isn't going to bother to hold your hand. Except for a few moments of exact emotion (which were a bit of a relief from all the ambiguity), readers follow along with Koko, confirmed "bad" girl, and Jon, who has gotten it into ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Halima rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2016 Maija rated it it was ok
I was into the art more than the story.
Nov 04, 2016 Solange rated it liked it
The limited and rather confusing story and its telling was a little disappointing/lacking, but I found myself really enjoying the artwork and lingering on it. One page had me belly laughing -- no spoilers. I'll keep an eye out for Jen Wang's work; I would feel bad giving this a better or worse rating because I think there's potential but I mostly just liked the art.
Nov 14, 2016 Lynne rated it liked it
I found it difficult to keep story lines and characters straight...and to know who was "talking" until near the end when I began to see how they all connected. This was a function of the cartoon conventions, I think. Some of the artwork is spectacular, particularly setting panels rendered in muted sepia tones.
Anthony Chan
Oct 18, 2016 Anthony Chan rated it really liked it
Jen Wang captured the chillness of SF perfectly.
Konrad Okoński
Oct 03, 2016 Konrad Okoński rated it liked it
It's a great story and some good characters, served in a very interesting, loose and sketchy art style that puts emphasis on characters. However, I got the impression it could have been a truly unique and unforgettable comic with one more rethink/rewrite and a few more hours put into the art. There are panels that look simply unfinished and some that are unreadable.
All in all it got me frustated, I felt it's a comic that falls just short of greatness.
Nov 25, 2010 Chibineko rated it liked it
Graphic novels have always had a good fanbase, but now that they're gaining more publicity there's been an influx of books (both series & standalones) flooding the market. While that's great in so many different ways, it also means that it is that much easier to get lost in the crowd. Unfortunately Koko might be one of those books that some might overlook, which would be a shame.

The book follows three characters- the titular Koko (an energetic girl who seems to want more), Jon (a 20 somethi
Apr 13, 2015 Katrina rated it it was ok
This graphic novel seemed to miss the "novel" part of the memo. It's long, meandering, and incomprehensible much of the time. The beauty of graphic novels is that the story can be told through pictures - sometimes entirely, in the case of Blood Song - when words are unnecessary. A facial expression, the progression through panels, the sweep of a landscape: all of this can evoke an emotion or carry the action forward. Unfortunately, while Jen Wang's art can be quite beautiful in sections, it's of ...more
Brooke Smith
Sep 22, 2016 Brooke Smith rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Loved the watercolour illustrations and the chaotic design of the image layouts, but to say I didn't give a hoot about the characters would be an understatement. They both comes across as entitled self absorbed trolls who make fairweather decisions on truly important topics and end up creating a total mess of the relationships to the people that care about them.
Jul 30, 2011 Penelope rated it really liked it
I liked how this story had parallel story-lines that were somewhat separate but intertwined. Jon and Koko meet by chance, and it seems they couldn't be more different from one another. Koko is a free-spirited vagabond, while Jon is a recent college grad and musician, unsure of what to do with his life. Both are united by their desire to find some purpose for their lives, some way to contribute to the world, to "become a hero" for someone, and to feel fulfilled. Jon hopes to achieve that by ...more
Rowan Lane
Sep 15, 2016 Rowan Lane rated it liked it
I think a rather good story with beautiful art. Elements of the storyline are flawed and some of the characters are extreme but I think they're supposed to be flawed characters. And real characters. There is an element of manic pixie dream girl to it, but it's written crazily enough that it doesn't follow that trope (which is a good thing). The watercolor art was also really really good, following amazing palettes, and the book ended the just right way.
Scott Foley
Nov 03, 2011 Scott Foley rated it liked it
This graphic novel, released by :01 and created by Jen Wang, is something of an enigma for me. On one hand, the story has been done, the characters aren't very likable, and there isn't really much in the way of plot, particularly climax. However, the art is so fetching that I can ignore the previous complaints.

Koko Be Good is about Koko, a young woman in search of herself and willing to do just about any preposterous thing you can think of. She is the classic twenty-something narcissist, a stand
Apr 27, 2016 Emmy rated it it was ok
I was not a fan of this book. The story itself had promise: a young musician named Jon is moving to Peru to live with his Hispanic girlfriend and work at an orphanage as she tries to find her roots. Meanwhile he meets Koko, who is the exact opposite of his girlfriend, Emily. Koko is erratic, full of heart, and makes Jon question what seemed like such as simple decision months before.

Okay, so that's what it's supposed to be. Here's what actually happens: Flat, boring Jon is moving to Peru to be w
I finished this book in one sitting. That says a lot coming from me. Yes, it's a graphic novel so there aren't as many words as beautiful artwork, but the coloring is wonderfully deliberate and absorbing. I'm honestly surprised that I couldn't peel myself away even as I got tired. Not only is the art a great blend of expressive and somewhat real, the colors balance between a warm, neutral palate and a more vibrant one with notes of blues and pinks hidden until the scenes that matter most. I ...more
May 15, 2015 Becca rated it really liked it
I really like Jen Wang's art style, which is the main reason I picked up this book. I didn't really know anything going into it (as I just randomly found it while browsing my library's adult graphic novels section), and I think that actually hindered my reading a bit in places, especially at the beginning. I was pretty confused at first and it took me about 50 pages before I really got into the book and was able to read it more quickly. I had trouble following the story and art panels near the ...more
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“If you think you’re good people, and if you are, how would you know? Is it something you always knew? Or was it something you found? Some people are naturally good at it […]. Is it worth trying to be something you’re not? Just because it’s right?” 21 likes
“Settle down and be Good forever. Find the hardest things to accept in me, and reconcile what I am with what I hope to be.” 3 likes
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