By Gene Luen Yang; art by Thien Pham
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: First Second, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal
Format: Graphic novel
Audience: Adult, young adult
Number of pages: 160
Setting: An unspecified town somewhere in the US.
Time period: Contemporary
Plot summary: When Dennis Ouyang is kicked out of college due to his horrible study habits and excessive gaming tendencies, four angels come to his rescue and get him re-enrolled. They have arrived to help Dennis fulfill his destiny and go to medical school to become a gastroenterologist.
Illustrations: The story begins in the past and the panels are shown in bluish-grey tones. Once the story comes to the present, a wider range of earthy colors are used. The drawings seem rather simple but manage to convey a wide range of emotions through facial expressions.
Pacing: Quick pace
Characterization: The text and images are told from Dennis’s perspective. Other characters include members of Dennis’s family, friends, and the four angels.
Frame: The title sets two frames for this story. Video gaming is one frame which is established in the first panel. The second frame is honesty. It is not until Dennis learns of a hidden truth, that he is able to start choosing his own destiny.
Story line: A fun and quirky coming of age story about finding a balance between family, work, and fun .
Video games — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.
Families — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.
Immigrants — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.
Chinese Americans — Comic books, strips, etc. — Juvenile fiction.
Video games — Fiction.
Family life — Fiction.
Immigrants — Fiction.
Chinese Americans — Fiction.
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Life with Mr. Dangerous by Paul Hornschemeier
Empire State: A Love Story (or Not) by Jason Shiga
Personal notes: I really enjoyed this story with its subtle humor. While this story is completely different from American Born Chinese in content, style and characters, it offers a unique perspective on growing up in the US as an Asian American.
Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – Asian Americans, Latinos, medical students, gamers, angels, ghosts