Recommendations for Asian American young adult novels?
May 14, 2021 9:47 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for Asian American young adult novels, with a focus on historical fiction.

I really love Laurence Yep's Golden Mountain Chronicles, which is a fictional account that follows a family from the Gold Rush through to the 1990s, and would like to see if there are similar types of novels or series written by other Asian American authors, and I'm open to non-East Asian stories. I did try looking on my own...but current YA trends seem to be mostly romance, and I am not interested in that at all.
posted by toastyk to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check out Stacey Lee’s books. I haven’t read them yet, but they are well regarded by librarians I know.
posted by wsquared at 11:30 PM on May 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


I asked a similar question about a year ago, and got some great suggestions.

I'd also add The Best We Could Do, a graphic memoir by Thi Bui about her parents' lives in Vietnam and in the US, and Darius the Great is Not OK by Adib Khorram, which does have a little romance but in service to the bigger theme of figuring out identity.
posted by basalganglia at 4:34 AM on May 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Check out The Poppy War. Written by a young Asian American, it's essentially a fantasy novel but heavily derivative of 20th century history, some might qualify it as historical fiction. Main character is an outcast orphan girl who gets in to military school where she learns Kung Fu in a sort of fictional China. No romance.

It can be gritty (eg a scene based on the Nanjing Massacre) but is very good, and imo the darkness is justified by the material.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:19 AM on May 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Not historical fiction, but my daughter and I enjoyed Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series by Grace Lin.
posted by wile e at 6:58 AM on May 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


The Forest of Stolen Girls is a new YA historical set in Joseon-period Korea by a Korean-Canadian author.

These Violent Delights is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai. The author is a New Zealander of Chinese descent.

I haven't seen a lot specifically focused on the historical experiences of first or second-generation Asian immigrants (in the vein of Laurence Yep) -
Recently I really liked The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, a beautifully drawn graphic novel which combines both Western and Vietnamese fairy tales with a YA coming-out story and the main character's mother's experiences of the Vietnam war.

For slightly younger readers, Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park and a lot of Cynthia Kadohata's books do specifically talk about Asian-Americans in US historical settings. They're both great writers, but write more for the 10-13 age group than older teenagers.
posted by Jeanne at 8:58 AM on May 15, 2021


Amy Tan's books are generally accessible to YA level reading, I certainly read them as a teenager... iirc, the Joy Luck Club is told from multiple POVs, including young girls' (not 100% sure but I think so.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:17 AM on May 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Gus Lee's China Boy is a great read. It's set in 50's San Francisco.
posted by dum spiro spero at 5:25 PM on May 15, 2021


Gene luen yang's boxers/saints graphic novels
posted by brujita at 10:15 PM on May 15, 2021


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