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    17 Young Adult Books Set In Asia That You're Going To Love

    These contemporary young adult books will satisfy your wanderlust while introducing you to passionate, creative teens finding themselves and learning about their culture by taking trips to Asia.

    If you're unable to travel right now, the only thing that comes close is traveling on the page. These contemporary young adult books will satisfy your wanderlust while introducing you to passionate, creative teens finding themselves and learning about their culture by taking trips to Asia. Come for the food and culture, but stay for the complex themes and engaging storytelling.

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    1. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

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    After a heated argument with her mother about her future, fashion-obsessed Kimi Nakamura travels to Kyoto, Japan upon her estranged grandparents invitation. There, she gets to know her grandparents and understand their strained relationship with her mother. Full of vivid descriptions of Kyoto’s cherry blossoms, tanukis, Japanese cuisine (hello, mochi!) and a cute love story, this is a perfect feel-good story.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    2. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

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    Izumi Tanaka’s life takes a turn a la The Princess Diaries when she discovers that her father is the crown prince of Japan. Upon a whirlwind trip to Japan, Izumi meets her father, scheming cousins, and a grouchy, but very handsome bodyguard. Will Izumi find a sense of home and belonging or will the pressure of royalty break her?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    Born and raised in Japan, Christine Mari Inzer moved back to the US in 2003. Then at age 16, she returned to Tokyo on a solo trip, documenting everything by means of photos, illustrations, and musings. This graphic novel explores Japanese culture, food, and fashion and makes for a quick, enjoyable read.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    4. Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

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    In this art mystery, 16-year-old Violet’s trip to Japan with her father takes a dangerous turn when her father’s client’s Van Gogh art goes missing. Until they can find it, their lives are at risk. This YA novel is perfect for fans of mysteries and fast-paced adventures.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    5. XOXO by Axie Oh

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    Axie Oh’s forthcoming YA novel features a young cellist who encounters the boy she spent a night of adventure with when she and her mother return to South Korea to care for her sick grandmother. She also discovers that the boy in question is a student at her elite South Korean boarding school, a member of a famous K-Pop band, and is forbidden from dating. This book is perfect for fans of K-Pop, heartwarming female friendships, and an adorable romance.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    6. K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee

    Point, Esancai / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Candace Park is determined to pursue her K-Pop star dreams, but when she snags at a spot at a trainee program and travels to Seoul, attaining her goals is not as easy as she imagined. She must learn to speak Korean fluently while learning the rules of the industry, and not dating — even though there’s a certain boy who’s caught her eye. Can Candance stay the course? Or will all her sacrifices have been in vain?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    7. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

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    In Robin Ha’s graphic memoir, she details her life with her single parent mother in South Korea and how everything changes when her mother moves them to Huntsville, Alabama to marry a Korean American man. Robin is thrust into a world where she is the outsider wherever she goes — until her mother enrolls her in a comic class.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    8. Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

    Amulet Books, Iuliia Maidaniuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Gemma Huang’s big acting break takes her to Beijing where she’s filming for the summer. Strangely, she keeps getting recognized and is even stopped by the paparazzi at the airport — but she’s no celebrity. She soon discovers that she looks like a famous Chinese socialite, and there’s more to the resemblance than meets the eye.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    9. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

    Square Fish, Iuliia Maidaniuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Lucky — a K-Pop princess in Hong Kong — sneaks past her security detail for a hamburger at 10 p.m. but runs into a tabloid photographer named Jack, who hides his identity, offering to show her around the city. Of course, Jack hopes for a big news scoop. But as the two spend the night together, Jack’s motives become hazy, and things get a bit complicated. Goo’s fast-paced romance is an ode to Hong Kong, good food, and young people finding themselves.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    10. Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

    First Second, Iuliia Maidaniuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Set in 1898 China, Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel examines the effects of foreign soldiers and missionaries on a small peasant village. Sick of watching villagers get robbed and bullied, a teen boy called Little Bao recruits a band of kung fu trained villagers to defend the village.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    11. Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

    Harperteen, Olga Turkas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    When Ever Wong’s parents discover that she’d rather be a professional dancer than a doctor, they send her from Ohio to Taiwan to learn Mandarin for the summer. There, she finds herself among high achieving Chinese kids and away from her parents eagle-eyed supervision. Contrary to her parents’ ideas, the kids at the program are more interested in starting romantic relationships than studying. Ever quickly begins to adjust, but how much freedom is too much freedom?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    12. The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

    Quill Tree Books, Filipbjorkman / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    After the death of her aunt Sonia, Indian American teen Noreen takes a gap year trip to Delhi, India with her mother. As she explores the vibrant city, she meets Kabir and the two enjoy the Bollywood celebrity scene, karaoke parties, and Indian culture. But when a family scandal unravels, both teens have to decide how far their love can stretch.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    13. Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins

    Simon & Schuster, Filipbjorkman / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Jasmine is getting dragged to India by her mother during the monsoon season — very different from the summer she envisioned. Plus, she’s leaving behind her best friend (and secret crush), Steve and the business they run together. Jasmine and her mother volunteer at the orphanage where her mother stayed for a time, but it’s only after befriending their cook, Danita, that Jasmine begins to see how she can make a difference.

    Get it from Amazon.

    the philippines
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    14. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

    Penguin, Iuliia Maidaniuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Jay Reguero is your average Filipino American teen, playing video games and hoping to attend the University of Michigan after high school. But then his cousin in the Philippines is murdered and no one in his family will tell him the full story. So Jay takes a trip to the Philippines to find out the truth for himself, but can he handle what he learns about his cousin’s life and the role Jay may have unwittingly played in his death?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    Farrah Penn / Buzzfeed

    15. Love from A-Z by S.K. Ali

    Simon & Schuster Books for You, Olga Turkas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Adam is a 19-year-old teen who drops out of college after he is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — the disease that took his mother’s life. Zayneb is a Muslim American teen who gets shipped off to Doha for confronting a teacher about Islamophobia. When the two meet they form an intense connection, despite their personality differences. This YA novel is a powerful meditation on disability, Islamophobia, and connection.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    Farrah Penn / Buzzfeed

    16. Written in the Stars by Aisha Seed

    Speak, Bonilla1879 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Naila’s parents will let her make her life choices in every way, except choosing a husband. So when she falls in love with Saif, her parents are furious and take her to their homeland, Pakistan, under the guise of a vacation. When they arrive, Naila is distraught to find out that plans are underway to marry off to a complete stranger. Can Saif save her in time or is Naila doomed to follow her parents plans for her?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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    17. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

    Simon and Schuster, Olga Turkas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    In 1969 Malaysia, as the Chinese war with the Malays, 16-year-old Melati Ahmad is separated from her mother. She’ll need the help of a Chinese boy and plenty of courage to reunite with her mother in a city aflame.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

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