Hello, my lovely Wallflowers. I hope you are all doing okay and taking the time to take care of yourselves. In light of the recent racist murders of Asian Americans in Atlanta, I wanted to share some of my favorite books by Asian American/Pacific Islander authors who you can support and listen to their stories.
We are Not Free by Traci Chee is a historical fiction Young Adult novel about a group of Japanese-American teenagers who had their lives uprooted after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when they were sent by the U.S. government to internment camps. I listened to it as an audiobook which was such a powerful experience and it turned out to be one of my top 20 reads of 2020! This story has a beautiful balance of heartbreak and humor, fact and fiction, and I recommend it to absolutely anyone, especially teens who live in the U.S. It is time to truly learn our history.
Did you know that the hit teen rom-com movie series To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, was a book series by Jenny Han before it was adapted into movies? Well, it’s true! The series is about a girl named Lara Jean Covey, a shy and romantic high schooler whose secret love letters to past crushes get mysteriously sent out! Her story is full of humor, drama, fake dating, baked goods, and more! These are the perfect books if you are looking for a low-stakes read with plenty of adorable teen romance!
The middle grade novel The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller, is about a girl named Natalie who is navigating life with her botanist mother who is suffering from depression. Natalie becomes determined to win a local competition, as the prize money could buy her a trip to the one place she and her mother dream to visit: the Cobalt Blue Orchids, magical flowers that can survive against impossible odds. This novel is so beautiful and bittersweet and I recommend it to lovers of plants, science, and stories of family and beautiful friendships.
More to the Story by Hena Khan, the acclaimed writer of Amina’s Voice, is an amazing middle grade novel inspired by the classic Little Women. The coming-of-age story follows the life of Jameela Mirza (Jo, reimagined) an aspiring teen journalist, and her sisters, in the absence of their father overseas. I really enjoyed this retelling of my favorite classic, and I love Hena Khan’s writing! (Also isn’t the cover incredible? So beautiful and detailed!)
Spin the Dawn is the first book in Elizabeth Lim’s The Blood of Stars series and is perfect for fantasy lovers and any Mulan fans out there! *wink* The book is about a girl named Maia Tamarin who embarks on a journey to sew three magical dresses in the competition for the role of the imperial tailor, which is her only chance at saving her family. This book is SO badass and I loved Maia. The world-building and characters are incredible, and it is such a fun read. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu is the forgotten story of Mozart’s older sister, Nannerl, retold with a magical twist. Marie Lu is the author of the renowned Legend Trilogy (my middle school OBSESSION!) and this book is a refreshing and beautiful tale about family, music, and the dark side of growing up.
Pirates. Mermaids. Magic. Inspiring female and gender-fluid characters. Adventure! If any of this sounds up your alley then The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the perfect read for you! I was absolutely captivated by the story and the characters when reading this book and I cannot hype it up enough! If you are looking for a good adventure with a dash of romance, this book is for you!
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is perfect for lovers of graphic novels and anything heartwarming. The story is about Prince Sebastian and his best friend Frances, his secret dressmaker. It is all about friendship, love, and learning to be who you and how to support others on their journeys of self discovery. It was such a sweet story and I couldn’t stop smiling while reading it.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang is a beautiful historical fiction middle grade novel about Mia Tang, a Chinese-American girl whose family lives in and runs a motel. Their secret? Her family hides immigrants, and under no circumstances can they let the hotel owner find out. This story touches upon issues of immigration and anti-Asian racism in the U.S., and I loved it so much I read it in one day. This book is now a series and I can’t wait to read more!
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker is a Young Adult graphic novel (one of my absolute favorites!) about Nova Huang, a teenage witch working at her grandmothers’ bookshop who reconnects with Tam, her childhood crush (who happens to be a werewolf), and the two begin to uncover magical mysteries and discover their true feelings for each other. This is a sweet, magical coming of age story with beautiful characters and lots of lgbtqia+ love.
Alright, now that you’ve made it to the end of this post, can we just appreciate how beautiful all of these covers are? Shoutout to all these amazing cover artists, wow!
Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post please share it with your bookish bestie or anyone you think would enjoy it! Sending you all lots of love.
The Woodland Wallflower