We at THP live for diverse representation in books and as many different types of media as possible. And for those of us here in the States, we love getting to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month every May.
Content Warning: The Honey POP encourages mindful reading and checking the author’s website for content warnings.
Chloe And The Kaishao Boys By Mae Coyiuto
Mae Coyiuto’s Chloe And The Kaishao Boys is a delightful rom-com highlighting family bonds and following your dreams. We especially love the way it dives into characters who identify as both Chinese and Filipino! Our main character, Chloe Liang, is finally accepted into USC. And as she prepares to leave the Philippines to pursue her dream of becoming an animator in America, her father suddenly starts setting her up on several kaishao (arranged dates). While she doesn’t understand why he’s doing this yet, her situation becomes even more complicated when she falls for one of the guys!
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Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice For Murderers By Jesse Q. Sutanto
Looking for a lighthearted mystery? We recommend adding Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice For Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto to your list. Sixty-year-old Vera Wong has a perfectly scheduled routine that gets thrown off balance when she finds a dead man in her tea shop. And while the police do not suspect foul play, Vera knows she can solve the case. Being a suspicious Chinese mother with some extra free time, she’s not here to play! We love a mystery with multiple points of view, especially when we come to appreciate all the diverse characters.
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Only This Beautiful Moment By Abdi Nazemian
Abdi Nazemian’s latest novel, Only This Beautiful Moment, centers around three generations of teenage boys in an Iranian family: Moud in 2019, his father Saeed in 1978, and his grandfather Bobby in 1939. All three of these stories focus on the characters finding love and experiencing loss in more ways than one. We love how it explores sexuality and queer identities in the context of West Asian culture. And it unpacks a part of the intergenerational trauma that comes from hiding secrets. We’d prepare a fresh tissue box if we were you.
You can order it here!
Fake Dates And Mooncakes By Sher Lee
If you were wondering whether Sher Lee’s Fake Dates And Mooncakes is as good as the cover art looks, we’re here to tell you that it exceeded our expectations! This YA rom-com has AAPI and LGBTQ+ representation, and we’re here for it! Dylan Tang participates in a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition to get a feature for his aunt’s struggling Singaporean Chinese takeout restaurant. His fateful encounter with Theo Somers (the son of a rich and influential family beyond anyone’s imagination) turns into a fake dating scheme, possible real feelings, and a huge distraction.
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The Queens Of New York By E.L. Shen
If you enjoy reading slice-of-life YA novels, then The Queens Of New York by E.L. Shen is the perfect addition to your TBR! This book follows three best friends: Jia Lee, Ariel Kim, and Everett Hoang, who are all trying to find themselves and plan their futures separately. It’s the first summer they spend apart, and each of these girls struggles with one thing after another. If you’re in a long-distance friendship, you’ll know what it’s like. Their stories feature very real and relatable Asian American experiences that many readers will be able to connect with and understand.
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Tastes Like Shakkar By Nisha Sharma
Last but certainly not least, we have Nisha Sharma’s Tastes Like Shakkar, the second book in her If Shakespeare Was An Auntie series. This novel reimagines Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing into a contemporary rom-com featuring a cast of South Asian characters, which is more than enough to convince us to preorder. There are classic wedding hijinks as the main character, Bobbi Kaur, tries to figure out who’s sabotaging the celebration. All the while, she’s forced to work closely with the arrogant yet attractive chef Benjamin “Bunty” Padda in this enemies-to-lovers romance.
You can preorder a copy here!
As our roundup of AAPI books has shown, we can find many different cultural themes and values in each of these reads. We can also find several examples of intersectionality in novels centered around AAPI characters, some of whom are LGBTQ+ and others with mixed heritage and identity.
Need some more book recs? We got them!