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Empire State: A Love Story (or Not)
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Empire State: A Love Story (or Not)

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  1,500 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
Jimmy is a stereotypical geek who works at the library in Oakland, California, and is trapped in his own torpidity. Sara is his best friend, but she wants to get a life (translation: an apartment in Brooklyn and a publishing internship). When Sara moves to New York City, Jimmy is rattled. Then lonely. Then desperate. He screws up his courage, writes Sara a letter about his ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Harry N. Abrams
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(showing 1-30 of 2,434)
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Seth T.
Mar 28, 2012 Seth T. rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Empire State by Jason Shiga

I suffer from a perhaps strange inability to watch Ben Stiller movies. It's not so much Ben Stiller himself that I find unwatchable. He's perfectly capable of entertaining me or playing a role that I can enjoy. The affecting issue seems to be more with the type of character for which he is usually cast. Awkward characters. Men with little ability to suss out their social environment in a facile manner. Reality Bites. Meet the Parents. That sort of thing. Films that stock and trade on Stiller's a
...more
Dov
Sep 04, 2016 Dov rated it liked it
I love that this is a book in which awkwardness is not overcome for the sake of a happily ever after fairytale ending. This is less a happily ever after fairytale and more of a cautionary tale, though I am not sure what it is cautioning against.

Jimmy is in love with his best friend Sara and feels the need to, once and for all, now that Sara is so many miles away (she moved from CA, where Jimmy still lives, to NY, where Jimmy decides to visit) share that information with her. Jimmy's cross count
...more
BookCupid
Jun 03, 2016 BookCupid rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
Sometimes you gotta chase the girl

After Sara leaves for New York, Jimmy, who never revealed his true feelings, hops on a six day bus ride to see her. To be romantic, he asks her to meet him on the empire state building. But due to a communication issue, Sara doesn't show, instead she waits for him at home with her new boyfriend. Can Jimmy somehow win Sara's heart - or is he too deep into the friend zone?

The illustrations are handdrawn and I need to praise the whole concept of a plus size female
...more
Sesana
Jun 06, 2014 Sesana rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary, comics
I wonder: do you have to be able to identify with Jimmy's clueless, Nice Guy pursuit of a girl who really does just want to be friends with him to truly enjoy this book? It just made me sad. Not for Jimmy, but for Sara, who thought she had a friend in Jimmy.
Sam Quixote
Mar 03, 2013 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
Loved it - really well told and put together comic book about growing up and unrequited love. Full review here!
Helen
Apr 15, 2016 Helen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Adults and teens.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
This is a sad, bittersweet book about the protagonist Jimmy's thwarted affection for Sara. The letter he writes to her that she doesn't receive in time for his proposed rendezvous at the Empire State building, conveys that he is ready to change his life to live near her, that she means that much to him. He has fallen in love with her - on some level - but his life is so comfortably encapsulated between his job at the library, his weekly visits to his mom, and his other interests, that he cannot ...more
Jess Newman
Sep 10, 2013 Jess Newman rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those who enjoyed "Blankets" by Craig Thompson
Have you ever wanted to experience an Indie "mumblecore" romance film in graphic novel form?
Good news! This is the graphic novel for you. It features introverted, nebbish-y protagonists, a low-stakes story with an unsatisfying resolution, and an empty feeling of entropy all throughout.
Do you want to know more?
The story focuses on Jimmy, an Asian college grad who works at a public library in his hometown of Oakland, California. He has no idea what to do with his life. He programs html (poorly)
...more
Abby
May 11, 2011 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: comix
3.5 stars. My crush on Jason Shiga continues. This one was more melancholy and reflective than his other works, which are more like elaborate puzzles than graphic novels. Unrequited love story of two slacker 20-something friends living on opposite coasts -- total Adrian Tomine territory, I know, but Shiga's love story (or not) struck me as much more sincere and painfully real (and funny). If you've ever done something incredibly impulsive and poorly thought out because of a crush that's way out ...more
paula
I bet that nobody that meets Jason Shiga doesn't like Jason Shiga. He just comes off as a sweet guy, a math geek working as a page in the Oakland Public Library, who is also a comics and puzzle savant. Empire State is his first full-length adult graphic novel, a little story about a naive 25-year-old Asian guy who works as a page at the Oakland Public Library. In the story, Jimmy is sort of secretly in love with his best friend Sara. When Sara moves to New York City to work in publishing and des ...more
Wendy
Aug 16, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
I forgot to mention that the part where he's showing a real web programmer his website, and he said he coded it all in Notepad....lol funny... but only to people who realize the ridiculousness of that. He wants to be a designer, but has the education and ability of a 7th grader.

cute story of a not worldly-wise 25 yr. old from Oakland traveling to New York.

Some GN's tend to end in a silly way, but this one actually wraps up pretty well.
Raina
Nov 28, 2011 Raina rated it really liked it
Jason Shiga's people are not traditionally beautiful. Which is nice. For once. For once, we read a love story featuring people who don't look like they sprouted from a magazine ad. Love for the normals. Whatever.

This is the story of a library worker (loved the detailed explanation of "Mylaring" books) who lives with his mother, and his (view spoiler) relationship with a good friend who moves to New York. And his subsequent bus ride to meet her, aspiring to traditio
...more
christa
May 13, 2011 christa rated it it was ok
Jason is a young employee of the public library in Oakland, a real whiz with the process of wrapping Mylar around the books. He has never left the city and has dinner with his parents once a week. He doesn't have a bank account, rather signs his checks over to his mom and receives an allowance.

And he thinks he might have it bad for his friend Sara, who moves to Brooklyn to pursue the literary life among the hipsters. She did, afterall, introduce him to the different sorts of coffee drinks a per
...more
lucy by the sea
Apr 25, 2012 lucy by the sea rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot. The drawings of buidings are amazing and make me want to sit in a big city and draw all the sconces and finials and windows and windows and windows. The story is sweet and unfolds at just the right pace. The drawings of the people pot me off a bit at first cos they kindof look like fisher price little people but I got over it.
MariNaomi
Jun 25, 2011 MariNaomi rated it it was amazing
Jason Shiga has done it again! A great, funny read that even got me a little choked up. This book will most likely appeal to a broader audience than his others, which is good. More people should be exposed to Shiga!
Claire
Nov 02, 2014 Claire rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
This was aight. I think I've just read this story a million times in comics form - nice, nerdy art guy likes his sarcastic nerdy, arty female friend, but she doesn't like him baaaaaackkkk wah.
Kristen
Sep 11, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it
Although I love the melancholy tone and the alternating timeline was interesting, I found myself rolling my eyes at most of the humor.
Cute but easily forgettable.
Adriana
Apr 09, 2016 Adriana rated it it was ok
Really 2.5.
I feel bad for giving the book such a low rating. I felt empathy for Jimmy and actually really liked him, but I really didn't like the girl that starts the whole thing off. She's horrible to Jimmy and I couldn't understand the why's of everything.
The way the story switches back and forth from memories to the trip to New York is pretty interesting and the color changing to further indicate the changes was a great idea.
The art is basic but it works for the story. The text, however, is
...more
Jessica-Robyn
I found this graphic novel to be incredibly underwhelming. From the grand design on the cover to the grand title evoking the ideas of a Love Story and the Empire State I created a reasonable expectation that this book would have a lot more to it. If anything I feel like it was grossly mis-marketed.

There were a lot of things in this in that I really disliked. These things includes the likes of the characters, the character design, the plot and the tone. It wasn't that all these aspects were inhe
...more
Brandy
May 13, 2011 Brandy rated it it was ok
Meh. Shiga's artwork is appealing, even if the story isn't.
Jessica at Book Sake
May 09, 2011 Jessica at Book Sake rated it did not like it
The one thing a graphic novel needs to do is be immersive. To be immersive you need to be able to easily explain concepts and ideas through pictures. When all else fails, you can use words to get more complex ideas across. This book did neither.

I’ll start by saying I really like the look of the artwork. It was pleasing to the eye and had enough personality to be endearing. The story was a basic boy meets girl, etc.

However, for as simple as the story and art was, I was utterly confused. First off
...more
Erin
Nov 04, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
So it took me the first half of Jason Shiga’s Empire State: A Love Story (or not) to work out the split chronology. Had I been more sensitive to the (in retrospect) obvious division of time (divided not just by plot events but by colour) I might have enjoyed the book the whole way through. As it is, I found the first half to be closer to pretensious and annoying than endearing or charming. But by the time our protagonist arrives in New York I cared about him and wanted his love plot to resolve i ...more
Tony
Jan 19, 2013 Tony rated it it was ok
I picked this up mainly because the cover design and a three-second flip-through of the interior appealed to me. Unfortunately, once I read it, I discovered it to be a fairly run-of-the mill quasi-autobiographical but of post-college angst. The story is about Jimmy, an Asian-American living in Oakland who works a a technician/clerk for the Oakland Public Library (full disclosure, I work for a city public library system as well). When his one close friend (and sometime crush), Sara, moves to New ...more
Matisse
Jul 14, 2016 Matisse rated it it was amazing
This book means something different when you read it at 24 versus at age 19.

When I read 'Empire State' in college, I don't think I really "got" it. I hadn't felt settled or arrested like Jimmy, and I hadn't known any girls like Sarah.

Now, I do.

This book is equal parts cringe-inducing and devastating. It's the story of what happens when you see what your life will be should you give into inaction, and when your courageous efforts to prevent that meet an even more humiliating outcome. It's when
...more
Liza
Jan 21, 2016 Liza rated it it was ok
The author of Empire State is Jason Shiga. The genre of this book is is romantical. I choose this book because the cover looked interesting and the blurb was unusual.
This book takes place in New York, California, apartment and moms house. The two main characters are Jimmy and Sarah. Jimmy is 22 and he is still trying to find a job while Sarah is moving to New York where she found a job and a boyfriend. Jimmy is trying to get a job as a designer so he visits Sarah but he didn't find anything. He
...more
Mark Victor Young
Dec 05, 2015 Mark Victor Young rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Back to back graphic novels where the characters live in sunny California but decide they must move to New York and live the hipster life? Coincidence, or new genre? You decide. :)
Melissa
Jul 21, 2016 Melissa rated it did not like it
This was awful. I have no idea what I just read.
Edward Cheer
May 07, 2015 Edward Cheer rated it liked it
A very simplistically drawn and written coming-of-age "almost romance" story in California and New York. I didn't mind it, other than the fact that the worlds of these two places weren't well-built. They just didn't seem like real places, so the "change in perspective" the protagonist at the end seems unrealistic (Unlike "60 Days or Less"). I didn't mind the character (on the contrary, I liked quite a few of them) and the art got me at times... at other times it looked like rubbish. Like Shiga w ...more
Christine
Oct 15, 2011 Christine rated it it was ok
The story was ok. I think if I was in my 20 somethings, I would get more out of the story. The artwork was good and I liked Shiga's use of color. I am intrigued by graphic novels and I will continue to explore the genre. I love the balance of art and text. Just wish they weren't so darn expensive.
Lindsey
Aug 11, 2014 Lindsey rated it liked it
Shelves: graphicnovel, 2014
Quick and easy lunchtime read.

I loved the color blocking throughout this book. I also liked how the author used different timelines going back and forth to delve into Jimmy's simple life and grasping for adulthood.

The story itself is sad in a way, but I think that's only because we can probably all relate to the idea of trying to do what we think we are supposed to be doing. In Jimmy's case, it is about love.

I found it interesting that Jimmy is 25. I always consider 25 to be the age when we ge
...more
Andrea Marley
Nov 08, 2013 Andrea Marley rated it liked it
The boy character is awfully naive. The girl character is awfully mean. Young love? I don't know, I'm starting to lose interest in depressing graphic novels.
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Jason Shiga is an award-winning Asian American cartoonist from Oakland, California. Mr. Shiga's comics are known for their intricate, often "interactive" plots and occasionally random, unexpected violence. A mathematics major from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Shiga shares his love of logic and problem solving with his readers through puzzles, mysteries and unconventional narrative ...more
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