50 YA Books to Read for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. You might also see it referred to as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. It’s a great time to read, recommend, and showcase books by and about Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. Not sure where to start? That’s where this list comes in. There are a lot of fantastic books to choose from on  this list, and beyond, with more coming out all the time. Happy reading!

50 YA Books to Read for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

You can shop the full list at Bookshop.

The Charmed List by Julia Abe
Ellie Kobata’s Anti-Wallflower List for the summer goes horribly wrong at number 4 when she tries to get revenge on Jake Yasuda, her former best friend–and the only person who understands her secret life as part of a magical community.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Celine’s hopes for a new start as a dressmaker in 1872 New Orleans take a turn when she gets caught up in the city’s glittering underworld–and the ageless creatures who lurk in the darkness.

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi
When coming out to his Muslim family ends with eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi fleeing to Rome even he’s surprised when his new life leads to a US customs room where he has to tell to a US Customs officer to keep his hard-won freedom.

I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn
After one tiny transgression Melody and her mom are whisked out of New York to join the rest of their family in Korea where Melody discovers trendsetting fashions, a cute boy, and some old family secrets.

A Show For Two by Tashie Bhuiyan
Mina Rahman knows her dreams of winning a film contest and leaving New York behind are about to come true when indie film star Emmitt Ramos agrees to star in her film–as long as she plays his tour guide. But what happens when exploring with Emmitt shows her that the city she always wanted to leave might be home after all?

A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee
Miuko’s safe if uneventful life changes forever when she is cursed. Now she has to travel across the realm of Awara to break the curse before she transforms into a demon forever.

Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Evelyn Skye
This Halloween in Moon Ridge, any love forged will last forever. Which is why Onny, Ash, and True are determined to brew a love potion for their coven of best friends and charm the loves of their lives.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Guided by the firebird–a creature thought to have shifted from reality to myth–Tala and a ragtag group of misfits from the Order of the Bandersnatch will have to work together to get Alex safely into Avalon and back on his throne.
Read my review.

Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
Seven years ago Elena Soo and her best friend Robbie Choi promised they’d go to prom together. Now Robbie is back to make good on that promise. Except he’s a K-pop idol and Elena isn’t sure she wants to be overshadowed by one more person in her life.

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen
Penelope Pickering decides to help her best friend Helena Higgins transform street merchant Elijah Little into a gentleman chef in this gender-flipped retelling of My Fair Lady set in an alternate 1830s England where Queen Charlotte reigns and Culinarians act as literal tastemakers cooking for the elite.

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
As an assassin, Cal’s life belongs to the queen. While Shadow dreams of becoming an assassin herself she is destined for a life in the queen’s court. When a surprise attack throws them together their attraction is as undeniable as the fact that their love comes second to their duties.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo
When TJ Powar and her Sikh cousin Simran become the subject of a mean-spirited meme, TJ decides to stop shaving, waxing, and plucking her hair just like Simran and prove that you can be hairy and beautiful.

Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon
Sunny is determined to fill the notebook his brother left him with a series of rash decisions including cutting his hair and ditching his turban so that he no longer looks Sikh–or like himself at all. When Mindii steals Sunny’s notebook his latest decision to get the full prom experience turns into an all night adventure with even more decisions.

Malice by Pintip Dunn
Alice’s mundane life is upended when a sudden, sharp pain hits during lunch and a voice in her head demands that she tell Bandit Sakda that she loves him. Except that isn’t the only thing the voices wants her to do …
Read my review.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Zafira–a young woman who disguises herself as the Hunter to aid her starving people–and Nasir–the crown prince who carries out deadly work for his corrupt father–are both sent to hunt for a mythical artifact that could return magic to their realm. But only if they can learn to trust each other and work together.

When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert
When Beth witnesses an act of domestic abuse, her friend group becomes even more important to her as she does everything she can to try and keep the tightknit group together during their senior year of high school and beyond.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Lucky and Jack both have secrets and dreams they’re afraid to share. After one unforgettable day together in Hong Kong they’ll both have to decide if chasing what they really want is worth being honest with themselves–and each other in this modernized version of Roman Holiday.
Read my review.

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
Seeking redemption for her dark past Rosalind Lang acts as an assassin for Shanghai where her newest mission forces her to go undercover as one half of a married couple in this inventive take on As You Like It.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
When Izumi finds out that her never-in-the-picture father is actually the Crown Prince of Japan she’s whisked off for a whirlwind trip to meet her paternal family. Add to the mix lots press, a cute bodyguard who might hate Izumi (or not?!), and plenty of scheming cousins and Izumi is in for a trip she–and the rest of Japan–won’t soon forget.
Read my review.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
In a future world ravaged by climate change, sisters Cee and Kasey will do anything to get back to each other in the wake of Cee’s disappearance in this sci-fi thriller where sisterly love is leveraged against the greater good.
Read my review.

Tahira in Bloom by Farah Heron
When her fashion internship falls through Tahira finds herself working at her aunt’s boutique, entering a flower arranging contest, and falling for the infuriating coworker whose help she needs if she wants to win.

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
Joseon (Korea), 1426: Hwani is crossing the sea to travel to her childhood home of Jeju, a penal island of political convicts, to retrace her detective father’s steps and–with help from her estranged sister–hopefully discover why he disappeared months ago.
Read my review.

The Wild Ones by Adiba Jaigirdar
Paheli is part of a band of magical girls, all rescued by a boy named Taraana with stars in his eyes, and granted magic to help others like them. When Taraana comes back to the Wild Ones for help, the girls will do everything they can to save him because protecting him means protecting themselves.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub
When a mysterious coffeeshop customer grants Sy three wishes in exchange for his help, who is he to argue? When it becomes clear this girl might really be magic, Sy will have to decide how much he’s willing to wish if it means a second chance at love with his ex-boyfriend.

Butterfly Yellow by Thannha Lai
Hằng and LeeRoy start as strangers in Texas in the summer of 1981. By the end of the summer these most unlikely friends will both realize that there’s more to life than plans as Hằng tries to reunite with her brother who was evacuated from Vietnam years ago as part of Operation Babylift.
Read my review. Read my interview with the author.

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
Can Linh and Bao beat the odds and find love despite the years long feud between their families’ competing pho restaurants?

Flip the Script by Lyla Lee
Hana thinks she’s prepared to headline a new K-drama and deliver a contract romance with the actor playing her love interest for the media. But everything Hana knows about K-dramas (and love) goes out the window when she starts to fall hard for the new actress meant to play her romantic rival on the show.

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
Val’s plan to sneak aboard ship to find her twin brother and revive their acrobat act is perfect. Until disaster strikes and, as the Titanic begins its last night as an ocean liner, Val and her brother will have to worry about surviving the present before they can plan for the future.
Read my review.

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee
Candace Park would give anything to be like the glamorous K-pop idols she watches on Youtube. So when she wins a coveted chance to enter an idol trainee program in Seoul she knows she has to go. But between the rigorous training, drama between trainees, and the pressure Candace will have to decide if being an idol is worth giving up who she is now.

Seoulmates by Susan Lee
After years of rejecting her Korean heritage, Hannah Cho isn’t sure what to do when all things Korean are suddenly popular with her mostly white friend group–especially when embracing K-pop and K-Dramas could help her win back her ex-boyfriend. And her estranged childhood best friend–now a K-Drama star himself–is suddenly back in the picture.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
Monsters are real. When Joan’s entire family comes under threat she’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness to save them.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
When her brothers are cursed and turned into cranes princess Shiori will have to use her own forbidden magic to save them.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
A competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi (masters of ancient and magical tea making) might be Ning’s best hope to save her sister’s life. But only if she can survive the backstabbing competition and fierce court politics she finds within the imperial city.

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma
Gemma Huang’s big acting opportunity forces her to break her family’s biggest rule: never set foot in Beijing. After arriving in the city, Gemma starts a summer of big reveals and romance as she learns more about her family’s mysterious past.

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra
Katyani’s lifelong plans of becoming a guardwoman in the Garuda and advising the crown prince are torn away when tragedy strikes. Alone in a land infested with monsters, Katyani will have to learn to embrace her true identity if she wants to forge her own path.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Eris and Sona are on opposite sides in a violent war until chance brings them together and the girls who thought they were sworn enemies end up forming an unlikely alliance–an maybe even stronger bonds.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Mina searches for the Sea God in order to save her brother in this retelling of the Korean folktale The Tale of Shim Cheong.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily XR Pan
The more Hunter Yee and Luna Chang are drawn to each other, the more strange things begin happening in their town as they try to navigate love and family secrets.

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
As Sunny discover new friendships, a boy named Theo who is as annoyingly fond of farm puns as he is cute, and some other new connections, she’ll learn that sometimes you have to go offline to really grow during a summer at a digital detox camp.
Read my review. Read my interview with the author.

Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
Four sisters, four seasons, four romances in one book as Nidhi, Avani, Rani, and Sirisha Singh all find love at their family home–and the most romantic inn in America–The Songbird Inn on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest.

The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman
Four siblings, one magical artifact, centuries of secrets as Vira, Ronak, Kaleb and Riya reluctantly work together to replenish their kingdom’s dwindling magic supplies.
Read my review.

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate
A weekend tour of a prototype spaceship takes on a new meaning when the apocalypse is early and Leigh Chen is among the handful of survivors who manage to escape the planet.

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
The four realms of Life, Death, Light, and Darkness all converge in the City of Dusk. Without favor from their patron gods, all of the realms are dying–something the four heirs refuse to accept without a fight.

The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons
Vale Hall, an elite boarding school that seems to be the answer to all of Brynn’s problems, promises a free ride to any college of her choice . . . for a price. Instead of earning good grades and building up her extracurriculars, Brynn and the other Vale students are expected to use their conning abilities to help the school with special projects–a task for which Brynn is uniquely well prepared.
Read my review.

This Place Is Still Beautiful by XiXi Tian
Sisters Margaret and Annalie Flanagan will have to confront their family’s fractious past–including their white father abandoning them and their Chinese mother–after their house is vandalized with a racist slur.

Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
The last thing Ever Wong wants to do is spend her summer in an educational program in Taiwan learning Chinese and preparing to start at Northwestern’s pre-med program in the fall. Instead of rigorous study Ever finds herself in a program with minimal supervision and her exuberant roommate Sophie Ha egging her on as Ever breaks every one of her parents rules–especially when it comes to no dating.
Read my review.

Private Label by Kelly Yang
Serene Li and Lian Chen don’t have a lot in common except for being the only Asian American kids in their affluent white community in Southern California. Still, a chance meeting at a Chinese club at school quickly brings the two together.

Love Decoded by Jennifer Yen
Gigi Wong’s plan to turn her aunt’s professional matchmaking advice into an app to make new friends goes awry when the app goes viral and Gigi finds herself at the center of a school scandal that hurts her best friends Kyle and Etta.

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon
When beautiful new student Cirrus Soh mistakenly thinks Sunny Dae is in a rock band like his older brother, the nerdy teen feels he has no choice but to go along with it. Faking it until he makes it seems easy. Until Cirrus asks to see Sunny play and his fake band starts to feel very real.

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
At Sinclair Prep Nancy has always known that being good and being the best are mutually exclusive. As the stakes climb, Nancy will have to choose how much she’s willing to give–and to take–in order to stay at the top.
Read my review.

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