Hello, hello! If you are not aware, May is AAPI heritage month here in America! And while I am not part of the AAPI community, I wanted to spread awareness and share some of my favorite books by Asian authors. So here are 5 that I recommend and 5 that I cannot wait to read!
5 Books by Asian Authors I Loved
1. Girls of Paper and Fire
Check out this review for a full list of the content warnings.
My guess is that you are going to see a lot of this book in these kinds of lists this month, but with good reason! This is a fantasy book with a sapphic romance. The world in this one just sucked me right in and I read it so fast. Every year eight girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the King. But this year, there’s a ninth Paper Girl, chosen for her uniquely beautiful golden eyes. But Lei isn’t made of paper, she’s made of fire.
This definitely has some very heavy topics, and probably should not be classified as YA, so be careful with that. But it is absolutely amazing!
2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I’m sure this one will be on a lot of these lists too, but I had to include it in mine because I love it so much. This entire trilogy is so cozy and comforting. Plus, the movies are amazing as well.
Lara Jean writes love letters. But not the kind you send, the kind you keep. But when her letters get sent out, things get complicated. Especially because one of them goes to Josh Sanderson, her best friend and her sister’s boyfriend. Well, ex-boyfriend. So when confronted with the choice between facing Josh, or running away, Lara Jean chooses to run. Right into Peter Kavinsky’s arms. And kisses him. Thus begins a journey of fake dating and intrigue as the letters each ultimately find their way back to Lara Jean.
3. Luck of the Titanic
Check out my full review for all my thoughts (and the content warnings)
I loved this book so much! I was lucky enough to receive an eARC from Penguin Teen and I was so excited!! I gave this one 5/5 stars, not only for the story, but for the beautiful prose and stunning writing style.
Valora Luck is a stowaway on the majestic Titanic. She has one goal: locate her brother Jamie, and get him to go to America with her. But meeting Jamie’s ragtag group of friends, and Val’s complicated web of lies, makes this all the more complicated. In between performing death-defying feats of acrobatics aboard the ship, Valora meets many intriguing and new friends, as well as some enemies. When I tell you guys I cried, I mean I sobbed at the ending of this one.
4. These Violent Delights
Would it even be my blog if I didn’t mention These Violent Delights? Check out my full review here!
This one is a Romeo and Juliette retelling set in 1920’s Shanghai. And if that’s not enough for you to read it here’s a bunch of other things about it: forbidden love, friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers-????, found family, a large cast of characters, never a dull page, a mystery, a monster, a Marshall. Just read it please. This was my absolute favorite book of 2020, and the sequel comes out on my 19th birthday (side note: I am old) which will be the perfect birthday gift to myself!
So do yourself a favor and read TVD. Also feel free to message me when you do because I love talking to people about it!
5. The Henna Wars
OMG I loved this book so much! This is an adorable sapphic romance about two girls with rival henna businesses. Also the audiobook is amazing so if you like audiobooks that is the way to go. And as an added bonus this is one of the only sapphic romances I have read where the main character proudly claims the label “lesbian” (side note: please use the word lesbian in books more often!!!!).
After Nishat comes out to her parents, she finds herself walking the fine line between being herself and being who her parents want her to be. And life only gets more complicated when Flávia transfers to her school. And when Flávia decides to open her own henna business. This book covers a lot of important topics like cultural appropriation and homophobia, but it also has a super cute romance.
5 Books by Asian Authors on my TBR
1. The Downstairs Girl
After reading and loving Luck of the Titanic, I knew I was going to have to read everything Stacey Lee has written and ever will write. Penguin Teen was also kind enough to send me finished paperback copies of her other two books, The Downstairs Girl and Outrun the Moon, so this is kind of a two for one. This one is on my TBR for May and I absolutely cannot wait! I’ve had my eye on it since it came out and I am so happy to have a copy!
Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads: By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.
I cannot believe I haven’t read this one yet, but here we are. I have an absolutely gorgeous copy of it, and I have for a while, but I still haven’t gotten around to picking it up! I absolutely love Marie Lu’s other books, Legend and The Young Elites, so I really need to get on reading this one.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.
The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.
Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.
Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.
When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?
OK, technically this one isn’t out yet but I ABSOLUTLEY CANNOT WAIT so it simply has to go on this list. This is a sci-fi with a sapphic romance so you can see why I am so excited.
Synopsis: The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.
Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.
As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…
4. The Ones We’re Meant to Find
Read the review that convinced me I need to read this one here.
This is a futuristic sci-fi where climate change has taken over the world and people live in bubbles, I think. It’s the story of two sisters, one who embraced this new world and one who tried to escape it, and their journey back together (btw don’t take my word for any of this I obviously haven’t read it lol).
Here’s an official synopsis: Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.
Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
5. Forest of Souls
Just look at that cover omg the beauty!! I’m not gonna lie, I know next to nothing about this book. That’s usually how I prefer to go into books, without knowing much. But it looks amazing, from what I do know.
Goodreads synopsis: Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.
And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.
So that’s my list of 5 books by Asian authors I loved, and 5 I have to read super soon. Thank you for reading!
Have you read any of these? Are you adding any to your TBR?
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