Level Up

Level Up

By Gene Luen Yang

Illustrations by Thien Pham

Published by First Second

Copyright © 2011

Dennis Ouyang is stressed out with college and the death of his father. The only thing that takes his mind off of everything is Video Games. When he finds out that he has been kicked out of college and he doesn’t know what he is going to tell his mother, 4 little angels come along to give him a hand. With their help Dennis gets into Med school. But Dennis doesn’t know if he really wants to pursue the medical specialty he has chosen. So he runs back to his old passion and comfort – Video Games.

Yang has written an interesting Asian American coming of age graphic novel that really expresses the pressure that they are under to succeed educationally and professionally. In Dennis case this culminates in the struggle between family and independence. Will this struggle drive Dennis crazy? Will he be doomed to unhappiness no matter he chooses? Or, can he find a happy middle ground?

This is an fascinating story, that many teens and college students can relate to. The art, while not very eye catching, does serve to facilitate the story telling and keep the pace moving. As a 30 something myself now, I also loved the classic video game references. This is a GR8 book for readers 13 and up.

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Filed under College, Coming of Age, Family, Fantasy, Graphic Novels/Comic Strips, Paranormal

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