American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

fiction childrens comics middle grade young adult
emotional reflective sad medium-paced

240 pages | first published 2006

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl...

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn't want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god...

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he's ruining his cousin Danny's life. Danny's a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse...

These three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant and action-packed. American Born Chinese is an amazing rise, all the way up to the astonishing climax--and confirms what a growing number of readers already know: Gene Yang is a major talent.

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emotional 72%
reflective 50%
funny 44%
inspiring 33%
hopeful 27%
informative 27%
lighthearted 27%
sad 27%
adventurous 16%
challenging 5%
mysterious 5%


fast 60%
medium 25%
slow 15%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 66% | Plot: 33%

Strong character development?

Yes: 83% | It's complicated: 11% | No: 5%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 56% | It's complicated: 25% | No: 18%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 5% | No: 5%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 87% | It's complicated: 12%

Average rating