As an Asian identifying woman, the recent Asian hate events have hit pretty close to home. While I’ll say that I’m privileged or perhaps lucky that I haven’t had to face much discrimination, micro-aggressions are something you simply have to learn to live with (especially in a country like Australia where racism is generally subtle and indirect. So today, like many other people online, I’ll be advocating for Asian representation by telling you guys some of my favourite books by Asian authors!
I’ve tried to get one in every genre that I typically read and there are plenty more books by Asian authors that I hope to read in the future.
Adult Romance: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
This is the second ever official adult romance book I’ve heard and boy has it raised my expectations for all other romance books! I absolutely love this debut novel by Helen and I also enjoyed its first sequel, The Bride Test, and I can’t wait for the next instalment coming out this year in this series! The Kiss Quotient is about a high functioning autistic who hires an escort to help her learn how to become a ‘good girlfriend’. Fake dating kind of ensues and this book was just amazing. I’d highly recommend it!
Adult Fiction: The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun
This novel is translated from the original Korean book by Yun Ko-Eun and this was such an interesting and thought-provoking read. This book is so short yet so packed full of discussion topics and concepts about the world and people. We meet Yona who works for a company that specialises in creating holiday packages for tourists to visit disaster locations. It explores a lot about tourism, the environment and exploitation of people and the environment as a whole. I thoroughly enjoyed this and couldn’t stop reading. It never felt slow and always had me thinking because I did not know what was going to happen next.
YA Contemporary: The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
This YA book is an absolute standout and favourite. It’s about Anna, who comes from a migrant family where she has a lot of responsibilities in the family especially as her mother is fighting mental illness, and then Anna meets Rory, a cute boy that’s possibly a great distraction from everything she has to do to keep her family together. This book explores mental illness and stigma, a migrant family experience in Australia, different cultures and coming together as a family. It’s strange that I can’t even describe this book well considering that I love it so much and binge read it in like a day or so. This book in particular is also great at examining some of the micro-aggressions many Asian immigrants deal with in western countries where racism is indirect but very much there.
YA Fantasy: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
A stunning debut novel, this YA fantasy was incredibly well written and always manages to keep you on your toes. Set in 1920s Shanghai with a gangster setting, TVD is a Romeo & Juliet retelling that’s not one to miss. I read this so fast when I got an eARC on my Kindle and enjoyed every minute of it. The ending in particular was pretty heartbreaking. In this book, we meet Juliette and Roma, who are star-crossed lovers in that they are both from opposing families and gangs. Both are set to prove they are worth being heirs to their respective establishments as they work together to find out what monster or contagion is killing people left and right.
YA Fantasy: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
An absolutely underrated read, The Gilded Wolves is often compared to Six of Crows but in my opinion, other than it being a heist plot book, it’s very different. This book had an awesome magic system and world building that I have never seen before. I never knew what was coming next and I loved the cast of characters. However, I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook unless you’re a fan of horrible fake French accents for half the main cast. This is another book that I’m hoping to read the sequel of sometime soon. This was fun, heartwarming and full of heist action. Filled with a mix of magic, history and science, if you’re a bit of a history or science enthusiast like I am, you’ll definitely enjoy this too!
I couldn’t help but pick two for YA fantasy because that is what I have mostly been reading the past 3 or so years. I am looking to read more adult and even maybe non-fiction books once my TBR is a little more under control (my goal is 20!) but I hope you enjoyed these book recommendations. I love these books so much and I have many books Asian-authored favourites but I had to cut the list down. I’m excited to read more stunning books from Asian authors this year and in the future.
I’m also hoping that with the incredible advocacy around the world against the hate Asian people have been facing since the pandemic began (not that it wasn’t around before but since 2020 in particular) that more Asian people will be supported and that others will educate themselves to stop prejudice and discrimination. This is such a difficult topic to talk about but it shouldn’t be. I would like to urge everyone to check out https://www.stopasianhate.info/ to learn more about the situation, understand why this is such an important topic, raise awareness and begin promoting anti-racist actions.
What did you think of my favourite books by Asian authors? Any recommendations you might have for me?
Until next time,