Review by Ivy M.

Get your copy of Dragon Hoops here

The first thing about Yang’s Dragon Hoops to win me over was the cover, which is textured to feel like a basketball. I mean, come on! How could I not immediately fall in love! I was familiar with Yang’s work after reading (and loving) American Born Chinese a few years ago, and had been following him on Instagram when he was promoting Dragon Hoops, but I never actually read it until now.

What a fool I have been!

I am a big fan of graphic novels, but have never gotten that into nonfiction comics beyond Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Yang’s work hooked me immediately, even though it’s an entire novel about basketball, a sport I have no connection to whatsoever. This is similar to how Yang feels at the beginning of the story (his comic-fied self is the main character), and getting invested in the game alongside him was a fun bit of narrative genius.

Dragon Hoops is truly a novel for all-ages, filled with action-packed panels for kiddos and nuanced commentary on prejudice and dignity for adults. The book feels like a documentary put to the page, an honest snapshot of one team’s journey told through a clear lens. Yang even includes multiple pages of notes at the back chronicling any small discrepancy or artistic license taken, in order to be completely transparent.

This book has refreshed my enthusiasm for graphic novels and piqued my interest in a new sect of them. Dragon Hoops is quick, funny, and (something often thought of as the antithesis of comics) honest. I’m eager to explore the rest of Yang’s work, as well as anything he creates in the future. Thanks to him, now when my dad is watching basketball, I can wisely say “fewest mistakes wins.” (And by that criteria, Dragon Hoops certainly wins).

Rating: 5 slam dunks/5

Genre: Graphic Novel/Sports/Humor