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American Born Chinese

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  56,524 Ratings  ·  6,533 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
...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by First Second (first published September 1st 2006)
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Eamonn well, this isn't really a fable. however, parts of the book are centered on the Chinese story character 'Sun Wukong', from the "journey to the west".…morewell, this isn't really a fable. however, parts of the book are centered on the Chinese story character 'Sun Wukong', from the "journey to the west". (less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I think the best age would be 14+ given the MC's obsession with dating, talking to "the girl" etc. Also there are a lot of social issues that would…moreI think the best age would be 14+ given the MC's obsession with dating, talking to "the girl" etc. Also there are a lot of social issues that would probably go over a younger reader's head completely.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Zoë
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read for my young adult literature class.

A unique message and vivid writing - I loved how he was able to weave together three stories in such a short story!
karen
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nat
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this in the middle of the night because when you can’t fall asleep after a certain hour, you surrender and pick up a book.

And for once in my life I was pretty happy about being awake in the early morning hours because I realized rather quickly that American Born Chinese is one of the best graphic novels I've read so far.

description
This review contains *spoilers*.

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 Amer
...more
Michael
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.

description

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
...more
Dolly Ou
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Jan Philipzig
I liked Gene Luen Yang's The Shadow Hero a lot, so I had to finally check out the author's most well-known graphic novel, American Born Chinese. Both books are about the immigrant experience, a topic difficult to write about in ways that are (more or less) politically correct but not too obvious and predictable. In both cases I had my doubts early on as to whether Yang would be able to pull it off, but both times he eventually won me over with surprising plot twists and a flood of well-observed ...more
Thomas
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jessica Abarquez
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seth T.
Nov 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
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
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Xueting
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Brierly
American Born Chinese is an exceptionally well-executed novel in so many ways. Visually, each page contains one square panel surrounded by a large amount of white space, with a red Chinese character in the upper center. The artwork is straightforward and does not vary much between the three interwoven narratives.

When you begin the novel it is unclear how Jin, Danny, Chin-Kee, and the Monkey King will all fit together, but when the pieces of the puzzle are slowly revealed, I was so impressed wit
...more
Ariel
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
SO FLIPPING GOOD!

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
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alexandra
this book was WAITING for me the give it a five-star review, until the ending left me thinking, "wait, what? THAT'S IT???" it's a contemporary-type ending where the end is implied but i wasn't expecting that and i wanted a cohesive conclusion!

but other than the last page, this book was... really inspirational and lovely. i've never ~actually~ read a graphic novel and i wasn't expecting it to make such a huge mark on my perspective of life.

i think it's mostly because my personal experience in el
...more
Terry
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
David Yoon
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Man this hit me in the feels. This would have been a momentous book for me as a pre-teen. I totally identified with Jin Wang and in him recognized the need to fit in as a second generation Asian surrounded by a majority of white peers and the undercurrent of Asian stereotypes that still bubbled to the surface from Long Duk Dong to William Hung. It is a coming of age story that explores this overwhelming need to fit in while wresting with a larger cultural identity. It works absolutely perfectly ...more
Leanna
Dec 19, 2007 rated it liked it
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
...more
Kevin Xu
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Ferdy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca (whymermaids)
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
American Born Chinese is a standalone graphic novel that tells three narratives: When Jin Wang’s family moves, he’s the only Chinese-American there, and he wants so desperately to fit in; the Monkey King wants nothing more than to be the most powerful being, and hide his monkey nature; Chin-Kee is how the Chinese are portrayed in the media, and even has a running “laugh track” along the bottom.

All three stories are about what it means to want to be someone or something that you’re not, what it m
...more
Liz Janet
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It’s easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

When I first read this graphic novel, I was not impressed. Later I realized, it was because I had not understood it fully. So I went online, learned who the Monkey King was, and reread the entire thing. I am glad I did that, otherwise the morals of the story would have evaded me.

This follows three stories, one follows the legend of Monkey King, the other is about a second-generation Chinese-American, a
...more
da AL
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intimate, engaging story that anyone can relate to. Well done.
Calista
I love it when you hear a book is good and then you read it and experience it and it's so much more. When a book is great it opens you to a new place and transports you. I feel I have lived a new experience of some kind. This was one of those books. Anyone who has ached to fit in and doesn't can relate to this book, or let me say, I can relate to this book.

The book tells the story Of Jin Wang and his time at an American school. He wants to fit in and doesn't want to be different. He is the only
...more
C.G. Drews
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
description

SO YUS. It was a fantastic read.

It was a fair bit nonsensical, which I usually loved...but I did find myself
...more
Adira
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"American Born Chinese" has three stories combined into one: the story of the Monkey King and his fight for acceptance among the pantheon of Gods; a lewd Western caricature of Chinese people called Chin-Kee; and at its heart the coming of age story of Jin, a young Chinese boy growing up in America.

The story is drawn in a cartoony/Manga type style and coloured by Lark Pien. The overall effect is a very attractive comic. The story though is brilliant. There were moments in Jin's story where his l
...more
Roxanyeli
3.5*

Nice story about being yourself and accepting the way you are.
Jimmy
I'm not an ABC; but I was born in Hong Kong, and came over here when I was 4, so I can relate to a lot of these feelings. (Also, my parents told me the same stories about the monkey king). I find it especially sad when the biggest bullies on the playground are the ones with the same skin color as me. In order to belong, we oppress each other. In middle school, I was one of two Asian Americans, and though the white boys were pretty big bullies, the worst bully of them all was the other Asian. He ...more
Misty
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
...more
Jeremy
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
Elyse
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Charming!!!! A a delicate balance of light & dark!

Bursts with artful details (3 stories --which tie together in the end)!

I'm starting to love these colorful graphics ---(its amazing the amount of 'feelings' which come through with words & pictures 'together').
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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.

He
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“It's easy to become anything you wish . . . so long as you're willing to forfeit your soul.” 67 likes
“Wait."
"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."

(222-223)”
29 likes
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