Books have tremendous power to provide insight and create empathy. The rise in racism, discrimination and attacks against the Asian American & Pacific Islander community underscores how vitally important the work of our AAPI creators is to the world. We will continue to use our channels to amplify their voices and share their stories with you. Below you’ll find some must-read books from Asian & Pacific Islander authors you need to know.
Books by Asian & Pacific Islander Authors You Should Read ASAP
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han
By now you’ve probably seen all three of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movies on Netflix and fallen in love with the Song sisters. Pick up the books to read all about how Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to really complicated when the love letters she secretly wrote to her past crushes get sent out in the mail.
2. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.
3. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
This heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River. Once you’ve read These Violent Delights, read the sequel, Our Violent Ends!
4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dimple and Rishi are exact opposites. Unfortunately for them, their parents are conspiring to arrange their marriage. When they meet at a computer summer program, it’s definitely not love at first sight. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. Be sure to check the other books in the Dimpleverse: There’s Something about Sweetie and 10 Things I Hate about Pinky.
5. A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
This funny, smart romantic comedy follows two Vietnamese American teens who fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.
6. When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert
This achingly romantic drama is perfect for anyone who’s a fan of Mary H.K. Choi. All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends—Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou—to stay together. Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.
7. The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity. After you’ve read The Infinity Courts, read the sequel, The Genesis Wars!
8. Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Chloe hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him for real. The only problem: Drew is nothing like the perfect boyfriend persona she hired him to play.
9. Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Take a trip to St. Rosetta’s Academy in this Beauty & the Beast retelling. When Princess Jaya Rao discovers that the heir to Emerson clan, her family’s century’s old foe, goes to her new boarding school, she hatches a plan to make him fall in love with her so she can break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in.
10. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
A determined young woman sets out to rescue her kidnapped girlfriend by stealing a dragon from the corrupt emperor in this stunning fantasy debut that’s perfect for fans of Margaret Rogerson, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman. Once you finish this, be sure to check out the sequel, Storm the Earth!
11. Bruised by Tanya Boteju
Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story about a teen girl navigating first love, identity, and grief as she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.
12. Prepped by Bethany Mangle
Becca was raised in a doomsday community but she’s secretly planning her escape so that she can attend college far away. Her parents are arranging her marriage to Roy, the boy next door, and she doesn’t have the heart to tell him her plan. But when an accident pushes the doomsday community further into prepping and Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.
13. Want by Cindy Pon
Set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, a group of teens risk everything to save their city in this thrilling novel from critically acclaimed author, Cindy Pon. Once you’ve finished this book, check out the sequel, Ruse!
14. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Mary H.K. Choi’s debut novel is deeply relatable when it comes to the awkwardness of falling in love, especially in the age of texting. After Penny and Sam exchange numbers, they soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.
15. The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han
Belly has an unforgettable summer in this stunning start to the Summer I Turned Pretty series from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han. Soon to be an Amazon streaming series!
16. Shine by Jessica Jung
Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl by way of Jenny Han in this knock-out debut about a Korean American teen who is thrust into the competitive, technicolor world of K-pop, from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of one of the most influential K-pop girl groups of all time, Girls’ Generation. Once you’ve read Shine, check out the sequel, Bright!
17. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
When Leanna and Pablo randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. at a Brooklyn bodega in the dead of winter, it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Leanna and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.
18. Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
The Greatest Showman meets This Is Us by way of Sarah Dessen in this heart-wrenching, hopeful contemporary novel about a multiracial teen who risks it all to follow her dreams by joining the circus.
19. American Panda by Gloria Chao
This incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut follows a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.
20. A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
A Japanese American family, reeling from their ill treatment in the Japanese imprisonment camps, gives up their American citizenship to move back to Hiroshima, unaware of the devastation wreaked by the atomic bomb in this piercing and all too relevant look at the aftermath of World War II by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.
21. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.
22. My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong
Crazy Rich Asians meets Love & Gelato in this hilarious, quirky novel about a Chinese American teen who is thrust into the decadent world of Beijing high society when she is sent away to spend the summer in China.
23. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
A teen outcast is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white midwestern town.
24. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
A half-Japanese teen grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school in Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut novel.
25. A Step from Heaven by An Na
From master storyteller An Na comes the Printz Award–winning novel about a Korean girl who tells her firsthand account of trying to find her place and identity in America from the day she leaves Korea as a child to her rocky journey through the teenage years.
26. The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad
From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all.
27. Made in Korea by Sarah Suk
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
28. When Can We Go Back to America? by Susan Kumei
In this dramatic and page-turning narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after their World War II incarceration, Susan H. Kamei weaves the voices of over 130 individuals who lived through this tragic episode, most of them as young adults.
29. The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland
Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this “sparkling, witty, warm-hearted gem” (Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying) of a romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.
30. Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.
31. All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle
The Bachelor meets Gilmore Girls in this laugh-out-loud young adult romance about a girl who joins her mother on a reality dating show for single parents—only to fall for a contestant’s son.
32. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
From William C. Morris Award Finalist S.K. Ali comes an unforgettable romance that is The Sun Is Also a Star meets Anna and the French Kiss, following two Muslim teens who meet during a spring break trip.