Selah joins me again to give her take on Level Up by Gene Luen Yang. As usual, this post contains affiliate links for Amazon. There is no extra charge to purchase through these links but I may receive a small commission for the referral. Again, all proceeds go to the operation of my two blogs.
Selah Janel Guest Review on Level Up
I’ve done a couple reviews focused on teen girls, but I want to be clear that YA graphic novels can be for anyone. One of the really great things I’ve seen about this genre is that it embraces authors and characters of different genders, races, and orientations. It’s a fantastic way to learn about people that aren’t you, while also enjoying some great stories.
I’ve fallen hardcore in love with Gene Luen Yang’s books. He’s a writer that hits a multitude of levels, and his stories always force me to really think about what other people are going through. Today we’re going to talk about Level up.
Dennis has always dealt with the pressure to meet his parents’ high expectations, plus there’s his distracting love of video games. Between his father’s death and being kicked out of college, and then four little angels showing up…
Yeah, there are angels that show up to get him on life’s path, but their motives may be more questionable than they seem.
This is a fantastic look at choosing your life’s path, dealing with the expectations of others (be it family, friends, or paranormal occurrences) and finding balance. Again, seeing the pressure Dennis is under makes my heart hurt, but he makes decisions that also had me clenching the book with both fists! I’m not a gamer, but I could identify with some of the more old school stuff, and I never felt distanced from the subject matter. We all have something that can easily take our lives over if we let it. There are some really nice scenes between Dennis and his dad, there’s one particular reveal which made me gasp, and it’s just an all-around funny book.
I also really like that it gives a look into the home life of an Asian-American kid, and doesn’t shy away from that aspect of the pressure he feels. These are things we may not think about if we don’t experience them, but there are also things we can all identify with in Dennis. An all-around great story that has way more depth than you’d think from a cursory glance. Thian Pham’s art is simple but approachable, and it accents the type of story being told well. Well worth the read. 4.5/5
Best for: Probably high school on up/older teens – there is some language and with a lot of it taking place in or after college, older readers in the YA range may get more out of it. Boys or those who game may get into it more, but I enjoyed it as a female reader. I don’t feel that you need to know much about gaming to appreciate the core story, either.
Catch Up With Selah
If you REALLY want to support her – and entertain yourself – grab one of her books! Note: these are affiliate links. There is no extra charge to purchase through these links but we may receive a small commission for the referral. All proceeds go to operation of these blogs!