Level Up by Gene Luen Yang

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A New York Times Notable Children's Book (Young Adult) for 2011 Smackdown!

Video Games vs. Medical School!

Which will win the battle for our hero’s attention in Gene Luen Yang’s new graphic novel?

Dennis Ouyang lives in the shadow of his parents’ high expectations. They want him to go to med school and become a doctor. Dennis just wants to play video games—and he might actually be good enough to do it professionally.

But four adorable, bossy, and occasionally terrifying angels arrive just in time to lead Dennis back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. It’s all part of the plan, they tell him. But is it? This powerful piece of magical realism brings into sharp relief the conflict many teens face between pursuing their dreams and living their parents’.

Partnered with the deceptively simple, cute art of newcomer Thien Pham, Gene Yang has returned to the subject he revolutionized with American Born Chinese. Whimsical and serious by turns, Level Up is a new look at the tale that Yang has made his own: coming of age as an Asian American.

About Gene Luen Yang

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Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received a Xeric Grant for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom, The Rosary Comic Book, Prime Baby and Animal Crackers. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches high school. He got his Master’s in Education at Cal State Hayward, where he wrote his thesis on using comics in education.    THIEN PHAM is a comic book and visual artist, based in the Bay Area. He is also a high school teacher. Pham illustrated Gene Luen Yang's Level Up, a YALSA Great Graphic Novel and New York Times Notable Children's Book. Sumo is his first solo work.
Published June 7, 2011 by First Second. 160 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Computers & Technology, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Level Up

Kirkus Reviews

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Dennis Ouyang’s destiny, as decreed by his late, Chinese-immigrant father, is to become a gastroenterologist.

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The New York Times

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Using a variety of subdued palettes to convey a story set in the present, the past and in a magic realist netherworld, Pham creates a nexus of believable humans: Dennis Ouyang, a video game enthusiast and medical school student;

Jul 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Level Up

Publishers Weekly

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Yang, writer-artist of National Book Award finalist American Born Chinese, writes this magical-realist tale of Asian-American parental pressure and video-game escape, leaving the art to up-and-comer Pham.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Level Up

Suite 101

A brief biography of the artist and teacher who co-created 3-D comics and the character Sgt.

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Level Up

WAPL Teens

Dennis is sure that his dad sent the angels, so after they perform a small miracle and get him back into college, he reluctantly ditches his games and starts studying.

Jul 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Level Up

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