Not-So-Great Expectations: personal, familial, and societal

Summary:

Dennis Ouyoung, a college student, is addicted to video games. He plays them all day and all night. Dennis has always had a rough relationship with his father, who dies suddenly. On the day of his death, his father gave him a card that has four angels and expresses his wish for Dennis to pursue medical school. Caught between his life of video games and his father’s dying wishes, Dennis decides to stop gaming and enroll in medical school. He soon makes many friends but doesn’t feel like medical school is for him. Perhaps, he was destined to be a gamer. Is that his true destiny? 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (15):
Dennis’ struggles to cope with his father’s wishes and his destiny are manifested in extraordinary ways in this comic book. The illustrations are deep and convey important emotions. For me, the author's main message conveying the struggle of Asian Americans and the myth of the model minority. Although it isn’t as widely known or protested against as much as other types of racism, it is prevalent in our society and extremely damaging to Asian American students and adults.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone. The words and graphics are simple but the message is deep and extremely beautiful. I literally couldn’t put down Level Up and had to finish the entire thing in one sitting. The ending did let me down, but I don't want to spoil the book. All in all, this is a great book.


Pros:

Mark this as a book you'll read in one sitting. With excellent narrative and expressive illustrations, this graphic novel/comic pulls readers into Dennis Ouyoung's life and makes them think about their own.

Cons:

There is video game violence expressed in illustrations.


Type of Book:
This is a graphic novel-style book about .... It is an excellent choice for a high interest / low readability reader.
Educational Themes:

There are lots of ways to use this graphic novel. It is a means to encourage teens to think about their own goals, but it is also an opportunity to have an honest dialogue about expectations - personal, family, and societal - as well as stereotyping others.  

Reading Level:
2.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
13 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 15
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. This would make a great gift choice for teens who love graphic novels and gaming.

Title Level Up
Author Gene Luen Yang
Publisher Square Fish Books, Imprint Macmillan Children's Publishing Group © 2016 (Reprint Edition)
Illustrators Thien Pham
ISBN 9781250108111
Material Paperback
Cost $11.99
Genres Family, Fantasy, Comics | Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Asia | Asian People
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