Level Up

Level Up

By Gene Luen Yang; Thien Pham

First Second, Paperback, 9781596432352, 160pp.

Publication Date: June 7, 2011


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


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 the Author
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. Recently, he has been working on the comics series "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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. Sumo" is his first solo work.