TBR: American Born Chinese
I picked up this week’s book, American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang, after hearing that it was the first graphic novel to be nominated for the National Book Award, for Best Book for Young Adults. I probably would have liked it better if this hadn’t raised my expectations for it.
Even though there are three different plot lines, each story is relatively straightfoward, so it’s easy to keep everything straight. The graphics are attractive, but not especially sophisticated — "cartoony" is the word that comes to mind. The book has a pretty heavy handed, if well-intentioned, message: Be true to yourself; don’t try to be something that you’re not.
Part of my disappointment with the book is that it felt like a bit of a period piece, set in the 80s or 90s, rather than today. Will the target audience of today’s teens even get the references to Sixteen Candles? My guess is not.