Asian Women Reading
Image: BBH Singapore

In the United States, May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Here at Reel Literature, we are honoring the occasion by sharing some #ownvoices books that you should immediately add to your reading list.

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood Book Cover

What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father, but she never imagined he would be a huge Bollywood film star. When Abby finally gets to travel to Mumbai to meet her famous father, she is overwhelmed by the culture clash and the burden of keeping her identity a secret.

Attitude 13 by Tanya Taimanglo

A collection of short stories that celebrate life for the Chamorro people on the island of Guam. The stories range from humorous to poignant and offer a mirror for fellow Chamorros and insight of Pacific Island culture for outsiders.

Blu’s Hanging by Lois-Ann Yamanaka

On the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the three Ogata children, Ivah, Maisie, and Blu, are dealing with the death of their mother and the subsequent emotional withdrawal of their grief-stricken “Poppy.”

Chorus of Mushrooms by Hiromi Goto

Chorus of Mushrooms Book Cover

Follow three generations of Japanese-Canadian women with blend of myth, folk legend, and fiction.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lydia, Marilyn and James Lee’s favorite child, is destined to fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue, but those dreams come to an abrupt end when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

After helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals as the lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, Yun Ling Teoh seeks shelter in her childhood home of Northern Malaya. There, she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its creator, Aritomo, the exiled former gardener for the Emperor of Japan.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride Book Cover

Li Lan, the daughter of a bankrupt family, has few prospects, but fate intervenes when she receives a proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family to become a ghost bride for their only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances.

Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Patti’s parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter, so winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

From Subhash’s earliest memories, his brother, Udayan, was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta, they played for hours on end. Being so close in age, the brothers were inseparable, but as the years passed, their brotherly bond is not strong enough to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives.

Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel

Where We Once Belonged Book Cover

Thirteen-year-old Alofa Filiga struggles to come to terms with womanhood, her search for identity, and the restrictions of life in her Samoan village.

Your Turn

So…which book do you need to immediately add to your TBR List?! What other books by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors should be added to the list? How will you celebrate Asian-Pacific American heritage this month? Let us know in the comments! |RL

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  1. Great list! There are a lot of books I haven’t read that I’m going to have to add to my TBR. I’m excited to read A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua coming out this summer. I also enjoyed the Crazy, Rich Asians series!

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