First thing first: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese ($12.21) is targeted towards “young adults” — it won a Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and it’s a very quick read for that reason.
All of that said, this a very good graphic novel. American Born Chinese consists of three seemingly non-tangential stories: a tale about the Monkey King, a story involving a Chinese American teenager adjusting in an all-white school, and a faux-sitcom-with-laugh-track plot line involving a white guy and his stereotype Asian cousin named Chin-Kee. The three stories touch on topics that we’ve all been through growing up and still go through as adults: the desperate feeling of wanting to fit in somewhere, racism, both subtle and overt, one-way crushes that make you want to stab your face with an icepick.
Because it’s a graphic novel, the plot lines of the three stories tie together neatly at the end, and because it won an award in Young Adult Literature, you can expect healthy doses of self-identity exploration, and the resonating theme that it’s okay to be yourself, whether monkey or Chinese American. That said, I wholly recommend the book for any adult who can appreciate a good story in comic book format, and I certainly recommend the book for Asian Americans, as this book certainly resonated with me.