Meet Danny! A sixteen-year-old regular suburban-bred blonde boy. He has girls, friends, a nice family, and just got picked for the varsity basketball team. Everything seems to finally be going his way that is until his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee comes for a visit! Saddled with the responsibility of showing Chin-Kee around school and his friends, Danny begins to crumble under the pressure. Chin-Kee is loud, rude, and seems to be constantly getting in the way of Danny's life. After losing out on the girl he likes, questioning transferring to another school, Danny decides it is time to take matters into his own hands. Does he confront Chin-Kee? Or does he simply transfer again? Will he ever get the girl?
After his family moves away from Chinatown San Francisco, Jin becomes a lonely outsider at his new school where his only "friend" is the local bully. When a new transfer student, Wei-Chen (an FOB from Taiwan) arrives in 3rd grade, he and Jin quickly bond and they become best friends. After falling in love with an All-American-Girl, Jin realizes that the only way to capture her attention is by becoming an All-American-Boy. With the help of Wei-Chen, and a new hairstyle, Jin is on his way to his first date with Amelia. Jin's life takes a turn for the worse, however, when Wei-Chin fulfills a favor for him at an unknown cost. As events unfold, Jin's life seems to crumble around him and he is left with nothing...or is he? Does Jin ever find his place and get the girl? Or is he left with nothing but a ridiculous perm?
The first of three plots follows the story of the Monkey King, a power hungry ape that wants to become as mighty as the gods. Ashamed of being born a monkey, the King makes himself and his subjects wear shoes to become more human. The Monkey King becomes a master at kung fu, angering gods, demons, and celestial beings with his powers until he is trapped in rocky prison. What will become of the Monkey King? Will he ever escape from his confinement? And what does the Monkey King have to do with American Born Chinese, anyways?
Born in America, Gene Luen Yang began exploring his Chinese heritage and culture through art and was first published under Humble Comics in 1996. He has written many graphic novels since then, including American Born Chinese, published in 2006. It was the first graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award and win the American Library Association's Printz Award. Yang now teaches computer science at a Catholic school in California.