Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Graphic Novel Review: Dragon Hoops

I finished one of my last books for the 2021 #BigBookSummer Challenge this past weekend, Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, an acclaimed graphic novel that I’ve wanted to read for a while and spotted at my library last week. It’s a nonfiction book that won the Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature, but I thought the book was of interest to adults as well as teens.


It's an interesting book because the author himself is in it. In fact, it's a book about writing this book, so it is very meta. That acts as the framework for the story, while the focus is on the basketball team at the high school where Yang teaches. He is admittedly not a sports person, but he became curious about the school-wide attention on the school's winning basketball team, from students, teachers, parents, and alumni. He interviews the coaches and players in depth, begins attending games, and even researches the history of the game and writes/draws about it all. He  delves into the players’ family and ethnic backgrounds and issues of racism toward the multi-cultural team as he follows their progress to the California State Championship.


Dragon Hoops sample page
Dragon Hoops sample page


Like the author, I am also not a big sports fan and know very little about basketball, but I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel. It's really about the people involved and how the sport affects their lives. I enjoyed learning about the history of basketball (and he includes the history of women’s basketball, too), and his in-depth characterizations of the players on this team made me care about them and root for them. Yang’s drawings are detailed and realistic and helped to pull me into the story. And he has a sense of humor, which I always appreciate! I learned a lot and was entertained by this unique book, and I want to read more from Yang.

446 pages, First Second

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Or you can order Dragon Hoops from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this was a really good book and not necessarily for sports enthusiasts. I liked hearing about the players, their friends and relationships, etc. He really made it about the people.