Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Ryan Higa
Illustrator: John Nugroho
Publisher: Little, Brown and company
Ryan Higa is finally writing a book with the friendly ghostwriter, Sarah Tomlinson. In thirteen different lessons, Ryan teaches about pacing, foreshadowing, dialogue, the importance of details, and character development, among many other things. With a brief lesson at the beginning of each chapter, Ryan then delves into his own story growing up. Ryan grew up in Hawaii as a carefree child—that is, at least until his mother put him in a private school away from all his friends. Ryan then had to deal with bullying and the dark thoughts that surrounded him. As Ryan changed his perspective and took control of his life, we follow him though his high school years and the troubles that he got into. The story ends by showing how Ryan developed his hobbies and became the YouTube celebrity that he currently is.
Ryan Higa is hilarious. Interspersed within each chapter are little comics where Ryan breaks the fourth wall and discusses certain aspects about the book with the ghostly Sarah Tomlinson (all drawn in different places around the world). The comic strips are witty, and the illustrator does a great job capturing the most hilarious facial expressions. Ryan really shows you how to implement certain writing aspects instead of just telling you by using his own tips in the story he writes. He often jokes about his life story but also deals with some sensitive issues such as suicidal thoughts, abuse of weight loss supplements, and bullying. He will often come out after a certain scene and talk about what he would tell his younger self. Not only is the story super fun to read about, but Ryan also brings up some really good writing points. You get the best of every aspect, as it is fun, inspirational, educational, and teaches you how to deal with life. This book has a lesson for every age.
*Contains mild substance abuse and mild language.