Young Adult Novels

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In Growing Up Asian American in Young Adult Fiction, just published this last fall, Ymitri Mathison presents a collection of ten essays by writers discussing Asian American young adult(YA) novels focused on different Asian American subgroupings and how those novels address issues particular to each subgroup. In her introductory essay, Mathison describes the specific context in which Asian American children and YA literature has developed and how that literature goes beyond the “model minority” stereotype. The complex environment of the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries with multiculturalism, globalization, and extensive immigration from Asia, resulted in multiple mixed generations of immigrants. These issues, in…show more content…
In the chapter entitled “The Monkey and the Colonoscopy Machine,” Tomo Hattori writes about the proliferation and increasing scholarly interest in graphic novels and the significance of Asian American graphic novels in general. Hattori’s discussion provides a backdrop to the more specific discussion of two graphic narratives - American Born Chinese and Level Up – both by Gene Luen Yang, and how those novels “...probe and release the pain experienced by Asian Americans of internalized racism through powerfully articulated destructions of stereotypes” (Hattori 24). In “Moving from the Margins: Confronting the Hypersexualization of Asian American Females in Graphic Fiction, Mary J. Henderson Couzelis continues a discussion on graphic novels, but focuses specifically on how women, in particular minority women, are depicted and the stereotypes that this depiction perpetuate. She also discusses Yang’s American Born Chinese, but this time through a minority female lens, and Derek Kirk Kim’s Good as Lily and how both “…problematize the male perspective through female objectification by relegating women to the margins through the romantic subplot” (Couzelis 42). Jennifer Ho’s chapter, “The Productive Pedagogy of Ambiguity in Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons,” discusses another graphic novel. This novel is a series of comic strips telling childhood stories depicting the early life of its narrator who, although she looks white, has a Filipino heritage that complicates her background and her narrative. This narrator (the author) calls this work “autobifictionalography”- a term that itself defies clear definition and causes the reader to be unclear as to what is fiction and what is
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