Koko Be Good

Publisher: First Second

Release Date: September 2010

Price: $18.99

Creator: Jen Wang

Format: 300 pgs

ISBN:  978-1-59643-555-1

Age Rating: 16+ older teens and adults

ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5


What began as a short story comic, this graphic novel about finding one’s place in this world is fabulously rendered. Jon, disconnected from his daily life, meets Koko at a club after she steals his tape recorder with a tape from his girlfriend with whom he is moving to Peru.  Meeting up with Koko again, Jon becomes friends with the free-spirited girl.  Through their interactions, Koko grows from being a selfish freeloader to someone struggling to do good and be a better person.  The graphic novel wanders between these two characters and their individual dilemmas.  Will Jon leave behind his music for love in Peru?  Will Koko figure out how one would know if they are good through her volunteerism?


Wang’s sepia toned ink and watercolored artwork is realistic and wonderfully unique.  Her characters are truly realized each with their own issues and desires.  And if Ms. Wang is reading this, please give Faron his own graphic novel.  Faron, a sidekick of Koko’s, is a seemingly apathetic teen boy until his sister’s boyfriend backhands her.  This story will most likely grab older teens and young adults struggling with the same identity issues found within these pages.  Drinking is prevalent, but the tone of the search these twenty-somethings are endeavoring will lead most of the younger readers away.  This reviewer is looking forward to what Ms. Wang does next.


--Kristin Fletcher-Spear: Teen librarian at the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Arizona.