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Jen Wang Books In Order

Publication Order of Graphic Novels

Koko Be Good (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In Real Life (With: Cory Doctorow) (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Prince and the Dressmaker (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stargazing (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars Books

Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake Card Wars Vol. 1 (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jen Wang is a comics book author from Berkeley, Oakland but she was born and raised in California. Growing up, writing and reading was a huge part of her childhood as her mother always had a lot of picture books all over the house and also took them to the library whenever she had the time. Wang thus developed a love for drawing and visual stories from a very young age. As she grew into a teenager, she discovered young adult novels and would spend a lot of time reading these even though she did not know these were called YA until about a decade ago. She read a lot but it was not until she was in high school that she got into Manga and discovered that he could combine her love for writing with drawing to make comics. Before that, she was doing writing and drawing separately but was getting pulled in different directions. For the most part, she focused on prose fiction and from time to time she would dabble in drawings. She imagined that the best of both worlds would be writing an illustrated novel and for a long time she was going for that. But then she got into comics and thought I can do more drawings and have my stories in that format.

As a kid, Jen Wang did not read much of Western comics though she was reading newspaper comics by the likes of Bill Watterson the author of “Calvin Hobbes.” However, it was not until she was in high school that she read her first proper graphic novel. It was around the 2000s when webcomics were getting popular that she discovered them. Wang got into the local Academy of Art College for a summer class where she studied a range of art mediums including film, comics, and painting. At the college that she met a friend that was also a lifelong fan of Manga and they would soon become best friends. She was the one that introduced her to webcomics and almost immediately she knew that was what she wanted to do. But she still did not know that she could just publish her work online. When the class was given a short comic assignment, Wang used it as a springboard for a longer story she had percolating in her mind. The first comic she put online was titled “Strings of Fate” which she first published on a Tumbler profile. During this time, she also started going to comic book stores in Berkeley and she would often go to see what they had for some inspiration.

Writing for children and teens was not something that Jen Wang planned when she decided to be a graphic novelist. But then she wrote her first young adult novel in “Real Life” alongside Cory Doctorow and she so enjoyed the experience of interacting with teens and kids post-publication that she thought she should do more of that. She was going around giving talks at schools and libraries and found a lot of enthusiasm for storytelling, comics, and learning. She began thinking about the meaningfulness of children’s literature and did “The Prince and the Dressmaker” to relive the experience of the first. She was not necessarily thinking about children when writing the novel but since it was a story about figuring out who one is and identity, it made sense to make the lead characters young people. The first book Wang ever did for a younger audience was “Stargazing” which she did partly as a challenge in a fun way. Her experiences with teens and children especially the excitement when they meet an author is one of the factors that makes her want to continue being a children’s author. It is something she wishes she had as a kid as it would have meant a lot at that age.

Jen Wang’s “The Prince and the Dressmaker” is a novel about a Parisian dressmaker living in the early years of the modern age. She just got an opportunity to make dresses for Prince Sebastian who is one of the most prominent members of the royal family. The prince or rather his parents are looking for a suitable bride for him even as the man is preoccupied trying to keep his secret life just hat. The prince is a cross-dresser and during the nights he usually puts on dresses and walks the streets of Paris. He usually takes to the streets as the hottest fashion icon the fabulous Lady Crystallia. Frances the brilliant dressmaker is the secret weapon the prince has and one of only two people that know what he gets up to at night. But Frances is dreaming of greater things and being a secret weapon to the prince means that she has to remain a secret. Just how long is Frances willing to put her dreams on hold to protect the prince? Jan weaves an exuberant romance of family, identity, art, and young love.

“Stargazing” by Jen Wang is the story of the artistic, impulsive, and confident Moon who could not be any more different as compared to Christine her friend. They had grown up together in the same American-Chinese suburb but Moon is one of the most unique persons Christine knows. When her friend’s family moves in next door, Moon soon becomes Christine’s best friend. The girls share their favorite books, music, and even paint their toes together when Christine’s strict parents are away. They also plan to attend a school talent show together and Moon has been so open that she has shared her biggest secret with Christine. From time to time, she has visions of supernatural beings that speak to her from outer space. They are always telling her that she does not belong on Earth. But catastrophe strikes when they least expect it and Christine who has been relying on Moon for the longest time needs to step up to help both of them. Jen Wang draws from her childhood experiences to paint a relatable friendship story that is also deeply personal, hopeful, heart-wrenching, and joyful.

Jen Wang’s “Koko Be Good” is the story of Koko, a person that is always working on a new project even if most of them often end in disaster. But she convinces herself that her current project will be different. She has decided that this time she is going to be good but given that her best talent is getting into trouble, it might be almost impossible to clean up her act. If she was honest with herself, Koko is not very sure of the meaning of being good. Jon knows the meaning of being good and he is now headed to Peru to be alongside his girlfriend Koko who is working on a critical humanitarian mission. It is a good thing he is doing but maybe it is not what he wants in his life. He has a budding music career and he may have to give that up which may be very difficult as it is something he always wanted to do. They are two people with different dreams hoping to find direction when they find each other. It is an incredibly funny, heart-wrenching, and honest story of human nature.

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