Gene Luen Yang (author of the brilliant graphic novel American Born Chinese") returns to long-form work with Level Up, illustrated by Thien Pham. Level Up is the story of Dennis Ouyang, a Chinese kid growing up in America, obsessed with video games and at war with his father, who wants him to "eat bitter" and grow up to be an academic success. When Dennis's father dies of cancer, Dennis flunks out of college and makes ready to tell his mother (and break her heart). But that's when Dennis's life gets weird: a quartet of greeting-card angels appear on his doorstep and announce that they are there to help him fulfill his destiny: to be a gastroenterologist. Dennis recognizes the angels: they graced the greeting card his father gave him on the occasion of his being made valedictorian of his eighth grade class (and later took back when Dennis struggled with poor grades).
These angels are sweet but very firm: they get him reenrolled in college and ride Dennis until he graduates with good grades and is admitted to medical school; they cook his meals and wash his clothes, they prepare flash-cards and alternately chide and praise him all the way along.
Now in med school, Dennis begins to realize that his "destiny" isn't what he wants from life -- he misses his video games, and senses a yawning chasm between the life he is being dragged into and the life he needs to live. What happens next is touching, surprising, and extremely satisfying (and I won't give it away).
Yang's got a gift for characters who understand their duty but don't fully believe it; Level Up is a great example of that dilemma. It's a manifesto for everyone who's ever wrestled with the expectations of their family, their friends, and their society (and who hasn't?), and it's ultimately both humane and inspiring.
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
TMZ reports that Miss Cleo is dead at 53. The TV psychic, also known as Youree Harris, was famous for the character’s faux-Jamaican accent and the bizarre Tarot-themed advertising campaigns exhorting Americans to call in for a reading. You couldn’t fool Miss Cleo, went the catchy 90s’ tagline, but the entertainer could not fool the […]
San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on.
To be a Pokémon master, you’ll need a phone that won’t constantly die on you. Because nothing is worse than seeing the screen go black right as you’ve finally found the Charizard of your dreams.That’s why we’re so excited about the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery ($39.99). With its 3.0 Amp HyperCharging technology, this slim battery will […]
The tech industry is constantly innovating, and in order to stay competitive, you’ll need to keep up. The Programming Into the Future Bundle was created to teach you the skills employers are looking for at this very moment, including in-demand coding languages like Google Go.The bundle of courses includes instruction on a range of innovative tools that advanced coders […]
If you’re running low on MacBook storage, your options are pretty limited. External hard drives mean toting around another piece of bulky equipment, and you probably don’t want a USB stick constantly protruding from your laptop.That’s why the Nifty MiniDrive for MacBooks is such a desirable alternative, and one of our top tech finds this year. You can add […]