It’s been a couple months since I last did a graphic novel mini reviews edition. Here are some of the ones I’ve read in the last few months!
A boy, Jin Wang, moves to a new neighbourhood with his family and finds he is the only Chinese American in the school. The old fable of the Monkey King who wanted more than to just be a monkey – he wanted to be a god. Danny suffers through the yearly visits from his cousin Chin-Kee, the epitome of a horrible Chinese stereotype. These three seemingly unrelated tales will find themselves to be connected and reveal itself as a modern fable.
I was very anxious to get reading this as I thought this could be relatable, being a Canadian-born Chinese person. I certainly could relate to some of the experiences that Jin Wang went through as a minority in class. I knew the Chin-Kee story was purposely stereotypical and was leading to a greater message, but I personally found it really difficult, and offensive, to get through. I also understood the messaging behind the Monkey King story but I couldn’t connect or care enough about that third of the graphic novel. I loved the way it all tied together, and the art and message was certainly compelling.
Rose goes up to the cottage every summer where she reconnects with her friend Windy. It’s her favourite time of year and a getaway that she looks forward to but this year feels different. Rose’s parents are constantly fighting and the two young girls find themselves caught up in the drama and goings-ons of the teenagers at the lake.
I loved this graphic novel. From the Ontario scenery making cameos in the beginning to the carefree days at the cottage, this was a great coming-of-age story with nostalgic feelings. Even if you didn’t go to a cottage as a child – which I didn’t – it still evokes familiar sentiments, especially those that grew up around here. I absolutely adored the artwork in this book, and loved watching the interactions between the characters develop and escalate. Even between Rose and Windy, who are childhood friends, there were instances of growing pains and growing up at a different pace from the other. Really enjoyed this book.
Anda loves playing CoarseGold Online, a multiplayer role-playing internet game. In this virtual world, Anda can look and act differently from what she’s like in real life. She soon befriends a poor kid from China whose avatar is participating in illegal gaming activities. Rules and ethics are skewed when it’s someone’s real livelihood at stake.
This was a really interesting look into gaming and I loved that the protagonist was a girl gamer. So often stories about gaming have the stereotypical nerdy guy as the main character, so this point of view was refreshing. I loved the artwork, which reminded me a bit of O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim style. The messaging behind it was also thought provoking but, as with Doctorow’s other book I had read (Pirate Cinema), I found the narrative to be a bit preachy at times.