Doug's Reviews > Level Up

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang
Rate this book
Clear rating

M 50x66
's review
Dec 05, 2011

really liked it

Level Up
By Gene Luen Yang
-Graphic Novel

Level Up was written by the same author that brought us American Born Chinese- Gene Luen Yang. In Level Up, the protagonist, Dennis Ouyang, is forced to confront his destiny when four angels suddenly appear to manage his life. Dennis has always been fascinated with video games, but his father refused to buy him a Nintendo system. Instead his father would buy him chemistry sets to help inspire him to be successful, and motivate him to be a gastroenterologist. Once his father passed away, Dennis enrolls in medical school AND buys a Nintendo. The angels appear, and his life becomes a tug of war between what makes him happy and what he has the will to endure. Dennis must eventually face the force which sent those angels to him, a force closer and more dangerous to Dennis than anything he’s beaten in one of his games.
Level Up is a coming-of-age story, tying in themes of familial sacrifice, personal satisfaction, friendship, and success. What particularly appealed to me in this book, though, is the magical realism element of the angels. At one point, Dennis is threatened with expulsion from his medical school, and the angels threaten the dean with violence until she relents. They do his laundry, cook, and clean, but they are also figments of his imagination. The blurring of that line between what is real, and what isn’t fascinates me, and as we discussed in class, this book has the potential to be an excellent bridge into the realm of magical realism for students who are studying it for the first time. The art in the graphic novel was entertaining to look at as well, and the expression of the characters’ faces sometimes meant a great deal more than what they actually said. As an emerging genre being adopted into classrooms, the graphic novel is well represented by Yang’s work, particularly by Level Up.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Level Up.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.