15 Can’t-Miss Books by AAPI Authors


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Here at The Everygirl, reading is one of our favorite relaxing hobbies to do at home (or really anywhere). It’s the perfect way to wind down after a long workday or spend a lazy weekend morning. When it comes to what we read, we’re always looking to diversify our options and support new voices, so we’re turning to Asian American authors for our next favorite book. Whether you’re looking for an easy read that satisfies your feelings of wanderlust, heartfelt memoirs that shed light on experiences different from your own, on-the-nose science fiction, or anything in-between, these books by Asian American authors should be at the top of your list.

Each of these titles comes highly recommended from Goodreads, a site where millions of readers rate and review books they’ve read. You can even create handy lists to share your recommendations with friends. It’s a favorite resource for book lovers, especially when you need the answer to the age-old question: What should I read next? Read on for 15 of the most popular books by Asian American authors.

Angie Kim
Happiness Falls

In Happiness Falls, the lives of a biracial Korean-American family in Virginia are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing. Mia, an irreverent 20-year-old, isn’t worried when her brother and father don’t initially return after a long walk in a nearby park. But when her brother returns bloody and alone, it becomes clear that there was actually much for Mia to be worried about. What follows is a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of Mia’s father, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak.

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Vanessa Chan
The Storm We Made

In Malaya in 1945, Cecily Alcantara’s family is in terrible danger. Her 15-year-old son has disappeared, her youngest daughter is confined to a basement in order to avoid being pressed into service, and her eldest daughter works at a tea house frequented by angry, drunk Japanese soldiers. What Cecily’s family does not know is that her own actions brought about their suffering. A decade ago, Cecily had met the charismatic General Fuijwara, and this led her into a life of espionage. Instead, Cecily helped usher in an even more brutal occupation by the Japanese. Now, she’ll do anything to save her family.

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Yangsze Choo
The Fox Wife

In Manchuria in 1908, a young woman is found dead in the snow. Her death is surrounded by rumors, including that she was killed by the fox gods, who are believed to lure people by transforming themselves into beautiful women and men. Bao is a curious detective who has spent his life learning about the fox gods, and he’s determined to find the truth. Meanwhile, a family that owns a famous Chinese medicine shop is grappling with their own curse: All of their eldest sons die before their 24th birthdays. However, when a mysterious woman enters their household, their luck seems to change.

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Shubnum Khan
The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years

Once a grand estate off the coast of South Africa, Akbar Manzil is now an isolated boarding house of misfits with several unsettling qualities. There’s the strange assortment of bones in the overgrown garden, plus the eerie and forgotten East Wing. Sana and her father are the latest tenants of Akbar Manzil, seeking a new home after a painful loss. When Sana explores the locked door at the end of the East Wing, she finds a room frozen in time, a shrine to a young woman, Meena, who was the original owner’s second wife. Watching Sana from the room’s shadows is a grieving djinn, an invisible spirit who once loved Meena.

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Yulin Kuang
How to End a Love Story

Helen Zhang hasn’t seen Grant Sheppard for 13 years since a tragic accident bound their lives together forever. Helen is now a bestselling author, and she’s determined to make it in Los Angeles, where her romances are being adapted into a popular television show. Grant has done everything in his power to move on from the past, and he’s well-liked around town as a screenwriter. He knows he shouldn’t have taken a writing spot on Helen’s television show, but when they meet again, it’s just as electrifying as it was 13 years ago.

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Naina Kumar
Say You’ll Be Mine

Meghna Rahman is a theater teacher and aspiring playwright. When she discovers that her beloved writing partner and secret crush, Seth, is engaged, she realizes he’s about to be the one who got away—so she relents to her parents’ pressure and agrees to be set up. Grumpy, handsome engineer Karthik Murthy knows that marriage isn’t for him, and only agreed to his mother’s matchmaking attempts to make her happy, but never dreamed he’d meet someone as bright and vibrant as Meghna. Soon, Meghna and Karthik’s insecurities threaten to risk something that’s become a lot more real than they hoped.

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Ed Park
Same Bed Different Dreams

In 1919, far-flung Korean patriots established the Korean Provisional Government to protest the Japanese occupation of their country. After the dissolution of the KPG, civil war erupted, resulting in the North-South split of today. But what if the KPG still existed? Soon Sheen works for a sprawling international technology company and comes into possession of an unfinished book authored by the KPG. The book is a revisionist history, tying figures from Marilyn Monroe to architect-poet Yi Sang to Jack London to the KPG’s grand project. Same Bed Different Dreams starts as a comic novel and gradually pulls readers into another dimension.

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Jasmin Iolani Hakes

Hi’i is the youngest of the legendary Naupaka dynasty, the granddaughter of Hulali, Hula matriarch on the Big Island. When Hi’i was young, her mother, Laka, disappeared, and she and her grandmother have not spoken since. Hi’i dreams of healing the rifts within her family by becoming the next Miss Aloha Hula, so she demonstrates her devotion to her culture through the hula dance—the beating heart of her people expressed through the movement of her hips and feet. However, fault lines begin to form, and secrets threaten to erupt. When a devastating revelation involving Hi’i surfaces, the entire community is faced with a momentous decision that will affect everyone.

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Thao Thai
Banyan Moon

When Ann Tran gets the call that her beloved grandmother, Minh, has passed away, her life is already crumbling. She had built a seemingly perfect life, complete with a beautiful lake house and a charming professor boyfriend—but it’s all taken away with one positive pregnancy test. With her carefully planned future now in question, Ann returns home to Florida to face her estranged mother, Huơng. Ann and Huơng learn that Minh has left them both the Banyan house, the crumbling old manor that was Ann’s childhood home, and Ann makes a shocking discovery in the house’s attic. This novel from former Everymom editor Thao Thai is a stunning and deeply moving story of mothers and daughters.

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Jade Song

Ren Yu’s life completely revolves around swimming. Her days start and end at the pool, her teammates are her only friends, and her coach is everything to her. She knows that if she swims hard enough, she can get a scholarship, go to a good school, and finally make her parents proud. However, these are human concerns, and Ren has concerns that are beyond human. She grew up on stories of creatures of the deep, of the oceans and the rivers, who called sailors to their doom and ate their flesh. These are stories of the creature that she’s always longed to become: a mermaid.

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Megan Kamalei Kakimoto
Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare

Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare follows a cast of mixed native Hawaiian and Japanese women through a modern landscape haunted by the ghosts of colonization. A childhood encounter with a wild pig on the haunted Pali highway portends one young woman’s fraught relationship with her own pregnancy. An elderly woman begins to see her deceased lover in a giant flower. A kanaka writer starts to feel her pages quaking and knocking from within her briefcase. This book is a fierce love letter to Hawaiian identity and a searing dispatch from an occupied territory threatening to erupt with violent secrets.

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Viet Tanh Nguyen
A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir

At age 4, Viet Tanh Nguyen and his family were forced to flee their hometown of Ban Mê Thuột and come to the United States as refugees. He was briefly separated from his parents and brother and forced to live with another family on his own before finally being allowed to settle with his family in suburban San José. Then, on Christmas Eve, when he was 9 years old, he learned that his parents had been shot while working at their grocery store. Years later, as a teenager, films about the Vietnam War, such as Apocalypse Now, threw him into an existential crisis about his heritage and national identity. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer comes an expansion of the memoir genre that is profound and brilliant.

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Prachi Gupta
They Called Us Exceptional: And Other Lies That Raised Us

Prachi Gupta’s memoir recounts her family’s status as the embodiment of the “American dream,” with a doctor father, a nurturing mother, and two high-achieving Indian American children. Her family’s belonging in white Pennsylvania suburbia was predicated on a powerful myth that Asian Americans have perfected the alchemy of middle-class life, raising tight-knit, ambitious families that are immune to hardship. In They Called Us Exceptional, Gupta articulates the dissonance, shame, and isolation of being upheld as an American success story while privately navigating traumas invisible to the outside world.

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Rachel Khong
Real Americans

Real Americans jumps between two timelines as it tells a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance. In the late 1990s in New York City, 22-year-old Lily Chen is flat broke, working as an intern for a media company, when she meets Matthew. Matthew is a native East Coaster and the heir to a large pharmaceutical company, and despite their differences, they fall in love. In 2021, Nick Chen lives with his single mother on Washington Island, and he’s never felt like he belongs. When he begins to search for his biological father, he ends up with more questions than answers.

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Kaliane Bradley
The Ministry of Time

In the near future, a civil servant known as the “bridge” is offered the salary of her dreams and is told that she’s now part of a secret government ministry determined to discover whether time travel is truly possible. She’s tasked with managing a historical “expat,” Commander Graham Gore, who died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic. Over the course of an unprecedented year, Gore adjusts to living with his new housemate—and, unexpectedly, they fall in love. Now, the bridge will be forced to confront the past that shaped her choices, and the choices that will shape the future.

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