Love video games? The narrator of Next Level fell in love with video games when he was six. We follow his advancing through several levels in the game of life in which his parents only want him to win the prize of being a doctor. This graphic novel of a boy’s coming of age, like Yang’s earlier American Born Chinese, shares insight into growing up under the heavy expectations of others.
The simple, ink and watercolor illustrations and story line are accessible to older elementary students but the discussion of cultural and family expectations gives the book greater value to older readers-including adults with video-game crazy kids. Four adorable angels come to “help” but turn out to be devilish ghosts of a father who died disappointed in his son and himself.
Don’t be fooled by comic format and game playing plot, this book covers complex cultural, self-esteem and parent/child issues...and is still loads of fun to read! Ages 10 and up
Recommended by: Craig Seasholes, Librarian, Washington USA