Hello everyone, and welcome back! I’m not sure how to start this post, so I’ll just get right into it: I’m back today to discuss some recent events that occurred here in the United States. On March 16, eight people were killed in Atlanta, Georgia across several spas and massage parlors. On March 22, ten people were killed in Boulder, Colorado in an unrelated incident at a supermarket. The taking of innocent lives is always terrible and tragic, but two mass shootings in such quick succession is especially horrific. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the victims.
In addition, the fact that most of the victims in Atlanta were Asian-American women is heartbreaking and inexcusable. While the suspect has been claiming that the shooting was not racially motivated, the fact that he thought of Asian massage parlors as a sexual “temptation” to “eliminate” says a lot. Whether or not these women were actually sex workers, there is little doubt that this killing is a direct result of the sexualization and fetishization of Asian women — an intersection of racism and sexism.
As a Korean-American young woman myself, it’s terrifying and nauseating to think that half the victims looked like me, spoke the same language as me, ate the same kind of food as me… and I want you to know that this is not an isolated incident. It’s been an entire year of hostility and violence against Asians across the country. Almost every day, I hear news about Asians being harassed or assaulted or verbally abused in public places, to the point that my parents and I are now scared to venture out of our neighborhood — and what’s perhaps even more hurtful is that these news reports almost always involve bystanders who do nothing to stop the attack. And it’s not even just this past year. This has been an issue since Asians first started immigrating to the United States.
While I’m glad that this tragic incident is being taken to heart by many, I’m also so exhausted and frustrated that only now are people paying attention. That it took shots fired and the deaths of six women with families and loved ones for people to start recognizing that something is very, very wrong. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late. Let’s work to stop violence against all Asians — I’m talking Central Asians, Southeast Asians, South Asians, Middle East Asians, East Asians, as well as Pacific Islanders — across the US.
Here are some resources to support the #StopAsianHate movement and educate ourselves about the history of anti-AAPI hate in America:
- Support the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center
- A list of various ways to combat anti-Asian violence
- Donate to the Support the AAPI Community Fund
- A discussion of anti-Asian violence in the last few decades
- 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
- A historical essay on “Chinese as Medical Scapegoats, 1870-1905”
- Watsonville Anti-Filipino Riot (more information)
- World War II Japanese internment camps
- KKK attacks on Vietnamese shrimpers
- Post-9/11 Islamophobia
We bookworms aren’t powerless, either. Let’s keep on doing what we do best — reading. Keep reading books by AAPI authors, keep reading #OwnVoices BIPOC books. And if you don’t know where to start, here is a list of 20 YA books by AAPI authors that are releasing in April-December 2021 for you to support, ft. very eloquent commentary from yours truly. Nobody has any excuses now 😉
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman (April 6)
Reasons to read:
💠 #ownvoices biracial (half Japanese, half white) protagonist!!
💠 Siri taking over the afterlife??
💠 AI with emotions
💠 Explores “what it is that truly makes us human”
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (April 20)
Reasons to read:
💠 It’s June Hur.
💠 1426 Korea? Oh YES we are hyped for this!!
💠 Twisty historical thriller
💠 Sister bonds and family relationships!!
Side note: Oh my gosh, I just discovered June has another book coming out in 2022!!! It’s called The Red Palace omg ahhhh this already sounds incredible I need this yesterday 😍🤩
After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.
Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.
To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.
Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.
Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan (May 4)
Reasons to read:
💠 Bangladeshi-American MC!! (who is incidentally also a bookworm)
💠 Fake dating romance
💠 Discussions of mental health
💠 Complicated family dynamics
Check out Tashie’s Goodreads review here for trigger warnings and a very emotional author’s note.
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee (May 4)
Reasons to read:
💠 British-Chinese acrobats on the Titanic?!
💠 Complicated sibling bonds?!
💠 Oh gosh, this is going to break my heart, isn’t it
💠 Also: cover love 🤩
I didn’t get a chance to read Stacey Lee’s The Downstairs Girl, but wow, the blurb for this one is really calling me.
From the critically acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British – Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill fated maiden voyage.
Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.
Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He (May 4)
To be honest, the synopsis for this book just leaves me scratching my head no matter how many times I read it 😅 But what I am able to understand is:
💠 Chinese author and MCs
💠 Complex sister relationship
💠 Lots of surprising plot twists
💠 Something about science??
Go pick this up if that sounds even vaguely interesting!!
One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.
Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Made in Korea by Sarah Suk (May 18)
Reasons to read:
💠 Korean-American rom-com 🤩
💠 Beauty business competition that sounds ridiculously entertaining??
💠 Early reviews are saying this book has so much Korean culture and I am HERE for it
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.
There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.
Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…
What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.
Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.
But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean (May 25)
Reasons to read:
💠 Japanese-American MC who’s caught between cultural identities!!
💠 Royal family antics!!
💠 So many K-drama vibes (Princess Hours!! My Princess!!)
💠 “A scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate”!!
Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries in this irresistible story about Izumi, a Japanese-American girl who discovers her senior year of high school that she’s really a princess of Japan.
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?
Sisters of the Snake by Sarena & Sasha Nanua (June 15)
Reasons to read:
💠 South Asian rep!
💠 Gender-flipped fantasy retelling of The Prince & the Pauper
💠 Dark magic lurking in the corners 👀
A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.
Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.
When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.
A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.
Deadly magic, hidden temples, and dark prophecies: Sisters of the Snake is an action-packed, immersive fantasy that will thrill fans of The Crown’s Game and The Tiger at Midnight.
The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi (June 22)
Reasons to read:
💠 Set in a Pakistan-inspired world?!?!
💠 Spoiled royal’s coming-of-age? 🤩
💠 Forbidden love
💠 That blurb is screaming political intrigue!!
Oh my gosh, why is nobody talking about this book!!!! I need this in my life.
Perfect for fans of These Violent Delights and The Wrath and the Dawn, this scintillating debut retells “The Lady or the Tiger?” against a Pakistan-inspired world of forbidden love and court intrigues.
Once there was a princess forced to choose a fate for her lover-to a future in the arms of a beautiful lady, or to death in the mouth of a lion? But what came first was the fate she would choose for herself.
As crown princess of Marghazar, Durkhanai Miangul will do anything to protect her people and her land. When her grandfather, the Badshah, is blamed for a deadly assault on the summit of neighboring leaders, the tribes call for his head. To assuage cries for war, the Badshah opens Marghazar’s gates to foreigners for the first time in centuries, in a sign of good faith. Enter Ambassador Asfandyar Afridi, a wry foreigner who admits outright that he is a spy. Stubborn, proud, and suspicious of foreigners, Durkhanai does not appreciate that he won’t bow to her every whim and instead talks circles around her.
And yet, she has to make him her ally to expose those truly responsible for the attack as more ambassadors from neighboring tribal districts arrive at court, each one of them with their own agenda and reasons to hide the truth.When a mysterious illness spreads through the village and the imperialists push hard on her borders, Durkhanai must sort through the ever shifting loyalties at court and her growing feelings for Asfandyar. Will she be able to leave the antics of a spoiled princess behind and become what her people need-a queen?
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (July 6)
Reasons to read:
💠 Blends East Asian folklore with one of the most underrated Grimms’ fairy tales
💠 GORGEOUS COVER!!
💠 “She must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry” omg!!
An anticipated five-star read for sure!!
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma (July 13)
Reasons to read:
💠 #ownvoices Indian rep!
💠 Romance sounds absolutely adorable
💠 Classical Indian dance and lots of food 😍
To All the Boys I Loved Before meets World of Dance in this delectable love story that combines food, dance, and a hint of drama to cook up the perfect romance.
Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest Kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now, she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past, and reinvent herself from scratch.
Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.
With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.
XOXO by Axie Oh (July 13)
Reasons to read:
💠 K-pop and romance
💠 Literally set in South Korea??
💠 I’ve read a bunch of reviews recommending this for K-drama lovers — and I’m nothing if not a K-drama lover, so… yes 😍
Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland (September 7)
Reasons to read:
💠 Korean-American author
💠 Teen Korean-American adoptee as MC!!
💠 The Bachelorette meets Jenny Han?!!
💠 This blurb is too CUTE I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS LEVEL OF CUTENESS
Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent 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.
Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.
But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.
The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.
But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan (October 12)
Reasons to read (source: author’s Goodreads review):
💠 Singaporean author & 100% POC cast
💠 A “sad reluctant prince”
💠 Family angst
💠 AND political intrigue?
That checks all my boxes, thank you very much. Please wake me up in October.
Told in a dual POV narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by East Asian mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.
In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic.
Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach (October 19)
Reasons to read:
💠 #ownvoices Chinese-Vietnamese-American MC!
💠 “Unpacking of gendered double standards”?!?!
💠 “Falling for the face of the patriarchy himself” omg ahahaha
💠 LOOK at that beautiful Asian girl on the cover
In this cheeky and whip-smart YA contemporary, debut author Michelle Quach follows an ambitious Chinese Vietnamese American girl who finds herself trapped between leading a feminist movement and falling for her patriarchal enemy. Emergency Contact meets Moxie in this thoughtful unpacking of gendered double standards.
Eliza Quan doesn’t need you to like her. She puts in more hours than anyone else and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, which makes her the perfect candidate for editor in chief of her high school paper. At least until ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her. Suddenly, her vast qualifications mean squat. Eliza tries too hard (and somehow also not hard enough), while the inexperienced Len, who is tall, handsome, and male, just seems more like a leader.
When Eliza’s frustration about the sexism spills out in an essay gone viral, she finds herself at the helm of a feminist movement she never meant to start, caught between two camps at school: those who believe she’s a gender-rights champion, and others who think she’s simply the girl who cried misogyny.
Amid this growing tension, the administration asks Eliza and Len to work side by side to demonstrate civility. But as they get to know one another, Eliza feels increasingly trapped by a horrifying realization—she just might be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself.
You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao (November 2)
Reasons to read:
💠 Vietnamese-American author!
💠 I will never, ever, ever be over that absolutely gorgeous cover
💠 The blurb is the definition of emotional destruction (which, yes, I consider a reason to read the book)
If I Stay meets Your Name in this heartfelt novel about love, loss, and what it means to say goodbye.
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.
And Sam picks up the phone.
In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
House of Glass Hearts by Leila Siddiqui (TBA)
Reasons to read:
💠 Pakistani-American teen MC
💠 Sibling bonds!!!!
💠 “Narrative that switches between colonial India & present-day America”
💠 Heavy but important subject matter
Maera and her ammi never talk about the Past, a place where they’ve banished their family’s heartache and grief forever. They especially never mention the night Maera’s older brother Asad disappeared from her naana’s house in Karachi ten years ago. But when her grandfather dies and his derelict greenhouse appears in her backyard from thousands of miles away, Maera is forced to confront the horrors of her grandfather’s past. To find out what happened to her brother, she must face the keepers of her family’s secrets-the monsters that live inside her grandfather’s mysterious house of glass.
Seamlessly blending history with myth, HOUSE OF GLASS HEARTS follows a Pakistani-American teen’s ruthless quest to find her missing sibling, even if the truth would reveal her grandfather’s devastating secret and tear her family apart. In a narrative that switches between colonial India and present-day America, this ambitious debut explores how the horrors of the past continue to shape the lives of South Asians around the world.
Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim (TBA)
Reasons to read:
💠 Orphan turned assassin
💠 Arabian-inspired land
💠 Secret tea magic
= everything I’ve ever needed in my fantasies.
Kelsey Horton at Delacorte has acquired, at auction, Maiya Ibrahim’s debut YA trilogy Spice Road, a fantasy set in an Arabian-inspired land where a nation of tribes famous for their spices are attacked by an occupying king after he discovers their secret tea magic. The first book follows a teen girl who must guard the key to the source of her nation’s magic, and the orphan-turned-assassin whose future depends on him taking it from her. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Pete Knapp at Park & Fine Literary and Media negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Untitled by Rin Chupeco (A Hundred Names for Magic #2) (TBA)
💠 Chinese-Filipino author!!
💠 I haven’t read Wicked as You Wish, the first in this series, but here’s a quote from Yna’s #ownvoices review of that book:
First of all, let me just say that I am at a loss for words after reading this book. As a Filipino, I have accepted the fact that the chance of being represented in books and films are close to none. This book proved me wrong and gave me so much hope.
Side note: I’m pretty sure I spent at least an hour on Google looking for 2021 YA releases by Pacific Islander authors, and the best I could find was the sequel to a book I haven’t read. This could mean one of two things: (1) my Internet surfing skills are seriously lacking, or (2) the quest for more representation in YA and publishing is far from over. Probably a bit of both.
Here’s the blurb for Wicked as You Wish:
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
Vial of Tears by Cristin Bishara (TBA)
This book’s Goodreads entry has next to no information, but the author’s website says:
💠 Lebanese-American sisters as MCs
💠 Phoenician underworld?!?!
💠 Killing the god of death?!??
This sounds SO epic.
Mora Couch at Holiday House has acquired, in a pre-empt, Cristin Bishara’s debut YA fantasy Vial of Tears, inspired by the author’s family stories and by her grandfather’s collection of numismatic antiquities, unearthed in the mountains of Lebanon.
An ancient coin transports Lebanese-American sisters Sam and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a plane of eternal twilight where they are caught in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls—and where the only escape may be to kill the god of death himself.
Publication is set for Fall 2021; Minju Chang at BookStop Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Thank you so much to Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea for creating this amazing database for 2021 Asian-authored books across all age audiences (link to the database is at the end of the post!) and Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales for coming up with this database of South Asian YA books releasing in 2021. I consulted these two databases for this post, and they. are. incredible. The amount of time and effort Shealea and Mishma put in, my gosh. Go give them some love.
Here are some other posts from around the blogosphere you might want to check out:
- Kal @ Reader Voracious gave us 25 book recommendations by Asian authors, both backlist and TBR, as well as some action items to combat Asian hate
- Afoma @ Reading Middle Grade shared 51 (!!) Asian YA books to read ASAP
- Back in 2020, Books & Boba wrote a mouth-watering post that paired up 7 Asian YA/MG books with Asian snacks
- Epic Reads posted a list of 22 YA books about Asian-Americans in the past and present
And because we minorities need to stick together:
- At the beginning of the year, Meredith Mara shared a list of 47 YA books by Black authors releasing in 2021
- Yolanda @ Past Midnight & Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads talked about books celebrating Indigenous heritage for Top 5 Tuesday
- Hiplatina & Paperback Paris both have articles listing 2021 book releases by Latine authors
I know this was lengthier than my usual posts (which are already long enough) but it’s all for a good cause 😌 I sincerely hope you found a book you’re interested in from this list (I know my TBR, for one, has grown exponentially in the making of this post) — feel free to scream about it in the comments with me! And if you have any other YA Asian 2021 releases you’d like to bring attention to, please let me know in the comments!
To my fellow Asians who are feeling scared, hopeless, and/or devastated, know that I’m here if you ever need to talk ❤️
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NIV
As always, thank you so much for reading!