Book Review: Level Up

To provide that boy with the life he has, I’ve had to eat much bitterness. He must learn to do the same.

In Level Up by Gene Luen Yang (illustrated by Thien Pham), Dennis Ouyang has to decide whether he wants to pursue medical school (his dead father’s wish) or continue pissing his life away playing video games.

I’m being kind of facetious, but that’s the basic gist.

The story has some really great elements, especially Dennis’s motivations for the different changes he makes in his life. The cast of characters around him (his gaming buddy, med school cohort, parents, angels of father’s dreams) are fantastic. Some great mini-conflicts also arise, especially with all of the various people in his life.

The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of is the artwork. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s more washed watercolor than the vibrant kinds of colors I like.

You can see a preview of the novel and its artwork here.

Support Your Local Library: 27/30; YA Lit: 24/20; POC Reading Challenge: 16/15; Graphic Novels: 5/10

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