My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 17th, 2020
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Basketball, High School, Social Issues, Family, Coming of Age
Gene Luen Yang does something so different with this graphic novel… and it works. It absolutely, amazingly works.
At first I thought this would be a memoir, but it’s not quite that. Then I thought it would shift its focus on one particular person (not the author) and follow them until the end, but it’s not that either.
It’s so much more. It’s not just the author being featured, it’s his whole family. And it’s not just one basketball player at the high school where he teaches being discussed, it’s a group of them. It’s the team. On top of that, Gene Luen Yang educates us about the beginnings of basketball and how it evolved.
It is so, so interesting. I read almost all of it between two courses and I did not see the time go by. The artwork isn’t what would typically be my style, and yet I didn’t mind it one bit and came to actually recognize its positive aspects.
I rooted for this basketball team—the Dragons—and silently encouraged them to face their obstacles and surpass their adversaries. I’m not one to enjoy watching basketball games, so I never take the time to, but somehow I LOVED the basketball games featured in this graphic novel. Maybe because I was invested in the players. And maybe if I learn more about other real life basketball players and start watching their games I will love those too. Maybe that’s the secret of being a sports fan. Thanks for making me think about this, Mr. Yang.
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