• Singularity Press

5 Must-Read YA Books By AAPI Authors

by Ashley Chan

Want something new and refreshing to read this summer? Here are five must-read YA books by AAPI authors!

Dustin Thao's "You've Reached Sam," Axie Oh's "XOXO," Abigail Hing Wen's "Loveboat, Taipei," Emily X.R. Pan's "The Astonishing Color of After," and Chloe Gong's "These Violent Delights."

1. You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Author of "You've Reached Sam," Dustin Thao
Image Source: Dustin Thao | follow @thedustinthao on Instagram

If you had a second chance to say goodbye to a loved one, what would you want to tell them? For seventeen-year-old Julie Clarke, everything she’s ever wanted is on the line when her long-term boyfriend, Sam Obayashi, suddenly dies. She tries to forget about him: refuses to attend his funeral, throws his belongings into a box, and deletes every text and voicemail from him. But in the midst of grief, she calls Sam one last time...


And he answers the phone.


Although their connection is temporary, Julie and Sam try to make the best out of their second chance. Will Julie ever muster the courage to say goodbye to the one she loved most?


Will I like this novel?

If you like contemporary romance with a hint of magic, this one’s for you! But make sure you have some tissues on the side—Thao sure knows how to tug at your heartstrings. Want a story full of old and new friendships, young romance, and gratitude? Then You’ve Reached Sam is a perfect choice for you!


2. XOXO by Axie Oh

Author of "XOXO," Axie Oh
Image Source: Axie Oh | follow @axieoh on Instagram

Falling in love with a K-pop idol was on the bottom of Jenny Go’s list. As an adamant cello prodigy, all she cares about is getting into her dream music school in New York City. When she crosses paths with Jaewoo—a famous idol from South Korea—at her uncle’s karaoke bar in LA, she feels a spark ignite. For the first time in her life, Jenny allows herself to be carefree with Jaewoo—just once. Before departing, the two exchange numbers in hopes of meeting again someday. But then Jaewoo disappears from Jenny’s life without a trace…


Embarrassed and a bit disappointed, Jenny moves on with only memories of their adventurous night… Until she’s hit with unexpected news: her grandmother in South Korea is ill. After deciding to follow her mother, the two leave the States. Yet, having to assimilate into a prestigious arts academy in Seoul is beyond Jenny’s wildest expectations.


And on top of that, discovering that Jaewoo is her classmate.


Will I like this novel?

Have you ever imagined what life would be like as a K-drama protagonist? If so, then XOXO is the perfect novel for you! If you’re a fan of K-pop, romance, or drama, then follow Jenny throughout her adventures in Seoul. Oh’s novel also offers an interesting perspective on the lives of K-pop idols—it’s not what it’s always cracked up to be…


Wondering why? Read XOXO by Axie Oh to find out!


3. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Author of "Loveboat, Taipei," Abigail Hing Wen
Image Source: Abigail Hing Wen | follow @abigailhingwen on Instagram

Trapped in what feels like a prison of expectations, eighteen-year-old Ever Wong sneakily applies to her dream university for dance. However, her mother refuses to let Ever pursue a career in the sport. Instead, she sends Ever to a prestigious summer program in Taipei, Taiwan. But “prestigious” is not what Loveboat is known to be…

From snake-blood sake, a love triangle, to life-long friendships, Ever finally gets to live the life she never envisioned having back home.


Will I like this novel?

If you’re a fan of traveling and spontaneous experiences, then Loveboat, Taipei is the perfect novel for you. This YA contemporary novel includes a blend of coming-of-age and romance, which makes Ever’s adventure that much more exciting!


Fun fact: Loveboat, Taipei is set to become a film, starring Ashley Liao and Ross Butler!


4. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Author of "The Astonishing Color of After," Emily X.R. Pan
Image Source: Emily X.R. Pan | follow @exrpan on Instagram

When Leigh Chen Sanders’ mother commits suicide, she’s convinced her mother became a bird… Although, no one around her believes what she saw—not her father, nor her best friend. One night, when darkness devours the house, a mysterious box is delivered at Leigh’s doorstep: a collection of her mother’s belongings. Perplexed and slightly intrigued, Leigh and her father embark on their journey to Taipei, Taiwan, where Leigh’s maternal grandparents reside. The Astonishing Color of After follows Leigh, as she navigates being biracial in Taiwan, uncovers family secrets, and ultimately finds herself.


Will I like this novel?

If family history, art, and mysteries interest you, then The Astonishing Color of After may be an excellent choice! This bittersweet novel covers mental health/mental illness and grief, while adding a touch of magic along the way… But you might need those tissues for this one, too!


5. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Author of "These Violent Delights," Chloe Gong
Image Source: Chloe Gong | follow @thechloegong on Instagram

What would you do if the first person you loved also became the first person to betray you? When eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai returns to her role as the heiress of Scarlet Gang, she doesn’t let anyone get in her way. Not even the heir of the White Flowers, Roma Montagov—Juliette’s first love. But when a threat looms over the city, Juliette and Roma are forced to work together to stop the mayhem.


Will I like this novel?

If you’re into retellings, These Violent Delights transforms Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into 1920s Shanghai. With a blend of romance, history, and action, this YA fantasy will have you turning those pages quickly!

So, check out Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights to find out how it all goes down!


Conclusion

With that, I present to you five must-read YA books by AAPI authors! Each of these novels share a unique and intricate story that certainly deserves a good read. So, if you’re looking for new books to read this summer, definitely check out these gems!


I hope you’ll enjoy reading these as much as I did, though tissues were a must at times!


Interested in having your own book published? We got you! Check out our plans & pricing here!


Read more: Artifice, Art Heists, and Asian-American Identity: A Review of Grace D. Li’s “Portrait of a Thief”







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