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24 YA Books To Devour During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

From Asian-inspired fantasy worlds to sweet rom coms to out-of-this-world sci-fi, we found 24 books you won't want to miss!

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

1. The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Bloomsbury YA, mimiyu.info

Release date: Jan. 8

What it's about: Lu and Min are sisters and princesses of the empire. Lu is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, but the role is quickly taken from her when her father betrays that destiny and makes sure her male cousin reigns. While Lu is on the run planning how to reclaim what was hers, Min uncovers a dark power within her that could lead her to ruling in place of their cousin — and Lin. Yu crafts a tremendously stunning world with complex characters and a heart-pounding adventure.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $15.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Wednesday Books, roshanichokshi.com

Release date: Jan. 15

What it's about: Set in 19th century Paris, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie receives an offer from an all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, to find an ancient artifact in exchange for his true inheritance. But in order to complete this hunt, Séverin requires the help of a skilled team in order to survive this dangerously sinister mission.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $17.09, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

3. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Scholastic, sabina-khan.com

Release date: Jan. 29

What it's about: Rukhsana Ali tries her best to live the way her conservative Muslim parents want her to, counting down until she can begin college at Caltech. That all changes when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend. Rukhsana is sent to Bangladesh where she's thrust into a world of arranged marriages and tradition, but realizes her way to happiness depends on standing up for herself and everything she loves. It's an honest story that's equal parts heart-wrenching, impactful, and hopeful.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $16.19, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

4. The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

Penguinrandomhouse, tanazbhathena.com

Release date: Feb. 26

What it's about: Susan is the smart new girl who just moved from Saudi Arabia. She strives to exceed her parents's expectations of her, but deep down she knows she has a passion for art. Then she meets Malcom — a known bad boy — who has acted out ever since his mother died of cancer. The two find that they're drawn to each other, but will messy family complications threaten what they've found? This is a charming, tender story that touches on the complexities of family, friendship, and love.

Get it from Amazon for $14.33, Barnes and Noble for $14.54, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

5. Ruse by Cindy Pon

Simon Pulse, northtexasteenbookfestival.com

Release date: March 12

What it's about: This is the sequel to the sci-fi/thriller Want. After the bombing of Jin Corp headquarters, Jin is out for revenge and blood. Expert hacker Lingyi travels to Shanghai to help a childhood friend, not realizing that Jin is involved in stealing the tech her friend refused to sell him. Now, the data that Lingyi has access to just might put her life in jeopardy. Zhou, Lingyi, and the gang must play a dangerous game in order to try and get back what Jin has stolen. Full of action, adventure, and high stakes, this is one sequel you won't want to miss.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

6. Internment by Samira Ahmed

Atom, samiraahmed.com

Release date: March 19

What it's about: In the not too distant future in the United States, 17-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. But Layla isn't going to be subdued to this type of imprisonment. Her ultimate goal is to resist, fight for freedom, and lead a revolution. This is a bold, powerful, and reflective read that doesn't hold back any punches.

Get it from Amazon for $10.54, Barnes and Noble for $11.28, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

7. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Albert Whitman & Company, goodreads.com

Release date: April 9

What it's about: In this Chinese-inspired fantasy, Princess Hesina of Yan is suddenly thrust into power after the mysterious murder of her father, the king. In order to get answers, Hersina asks for a soothsayer's help even though it's illegal, as magic was outlawed many centuries ago. The soothsayer points her in the direction of Akira, who is a brilliant detective despite his criminal history. With his help, Hesina hopes to find justice for her father. Descendant of the Crane is packed with gorgeous writing within an intriguing story.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

8. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

Katherine Tegen Books, swatiteerdhala.com

Release date: April 23

What it's about: Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, A Tiger at Midnight follows Esha as she moonlights as the rebels’ highly skilled assassin called the Viper. She wants to avenge what she lost during the royal coup and take down the ruthless General Hotha. Kunal is a solider trained to uphold the power of King Vardaan. When Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross, they must play a complex chess game in order to both get what they want. Thrilling, entertaining, and beautifully written, this is one adventure YA fans won't want to miss.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

9. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Simon & Schuster, simonandschuster.com / Via Andrea Stenson

Release date: May 7

What it's about: When Zayneb, the only Muslim in her class, gets suspended for confronting her teacher, she goes to her aunt's in Doha, Qatar to begin her spring break early. Angry and saddened, she decides to give herself a personality makeover — one that involves being a "nice" version of herself. Meanwhile, Adam, another Muslim teen, is dealing with his multiple sclerosis diagnosis and trying to keep his mother's memory alive for his sister. And then, the two people mad at the world for different reasons, meet up — and everything changes. This YA contemporary expertly touches on self-discovery and identity in a meaningful way.

Get it from Amazon for $12.31, Barnes and Noble for $13.21, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

10. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Facebook: maurenehgoo

Release date: May 7

What it's about: When a K-pop star named Lucky and a tabloid writer named Jack meet in the bustling city of Hong Kong outside Lucky's fancy hotel, Jack accompanies her to find a hamburger. But after realizing who she is, Jack believes that getting to know this megastar might be a way to advance his career — if he doesn't fall for her first. Set over the period of a day, Goo has created a lighthearted and joyful rom com that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $12.59, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

11. There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Simon Pulse, sandhyamenon.com

Release date: May 14

What it's about: After Ashish Patel is dumped by his girlfriend (and first love), his parents insist he dates an Indian-American girl. Sweetie Nair loves her parents, but she's tired of them not seeing her full self-worth because she's fat. Told in dual perspectives, Sweetie and Ashish have a lot to prove, yet continue to grow closer with each date they go on. Menon pens another adorable, joyous rom com about identity and love.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $13.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

12. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, hafsahfaizal.com

Release date: May 14

What it's about: Set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia, Zafira is the Hunter in the kingdom of Arawiya. In order to feed her people, she disguises herself as a man, entering into a cursed forest to gather food. Nasir, known as the Prince of Death, does not hesitate to assassinate those who defy his father, the king. But Zafira embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world. However, Nasir also has a mission — a mission that includes finding the very same artifact and killing the Hunter. This magical YA fantasy is filled with rich worldbuilding with stakes that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $13.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

13. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Scholastic, goodreads.com

Release date: May 14

What it's about: In this Asian-inspired historical fantasy, Fatima lives in the city of Noor, where the Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population save for Fatima and two others. A new maharajah now protects Noor from the Shayateen, but when one of the djinn protectors dies, Fatima is drawn to a dark and dangerous world of magic. This is a lush feminist fantasy that will hook you from the very beginning.

Get it from Amazon for $18.99, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

14. Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Swoon Reads, jennpnguyen.com

Release date: May 28

What it's about: Mia and Jake have only one thing in common: their moms are best friends. Other than that, they don't especially care for each other. But in order to get both their moms off their backs about dating, they hatch a plan to date and then stage a particularly terrible breakup. But what happens when Mia and Jake discover they don't hate each other as much as they thought? This swoon-worthy rom com is cute, delightful, and a perfect beach read.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $12.59, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

15. This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

HarperCollins, misasugiura.com

Release date: June 4

What it's about: CJ doesn't mind helping her Aunt Hannah in her family's flower shop. In fact, she thinks she might even have a special skill for arranging. But when her mother decides to sell the shop to a family that swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during World War II, it causes tension and divide within CJ's northern California community. Sugiura pens a beautiful contemporary story that tackles tough questions and conversations.

Get it from Amazon for $14.39, Barnes and Noble for $14.38, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

16. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Feiwel & Friends, Kirsten Gilliam Photography

Release date: June 11

What it's about: Sana Khan is a cheerleader, straight-A student, and overachiever. Rachel Recht has one ambition: To become a director someday. Rachel hates Sana, mostly because she believes she was the butt of a cruel prank at Sana's expense in the past. After a certain incident on campus, both girls are forced to work together on Rachel's directorial project — what could go wrong? This is an amazing F/F, enemies-to-lovers YA romance that draws inspiration from the iconic Paris and Rory friendship from Gilmore Girls, set in Los Angeles.

Get it from Amazon for $12.32, Barnes and Noble for $12.59, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

17. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Claribel Ortega

Release date: June 25

What it's about: This YA fantasy is inspired by Korean mythology and set in modern-day Seoul, where creatures called gumihos feed off energy of men in order to survive. Gu Miyoung is a gumiho. But when she decides to save the life of a boy, Jihoon, one night by rescuing him from a goblin, she changes the course of her immortal life. A romantic and unique read bursting with lush atmosphere.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $13.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

18. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Knopf Books for Young Readers, elizabethlim.com

Release date: July 9

What it's about: This YA fantasy is Project Runway meets Mulan. Maia Tamarin poses as a boy in order to compete for the role of imperial tailor. Now she just has to beat 12 other tailors hoping to have the job. But the final challenge proves to be the most difficult yet. Maia must create three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. If she can prove herself worthy and win, maybe then her dreams will come true. Spin the Dawn promises to be enchanting, gorgeous, and full of surprises.

Get it from Amazon for $12.91, Barnes and Noble for $13.29, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

19. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Putnam, goodreads.com

Release date: Aug. 13

What it's about: This historical YA follows 17-year-old Jo Kuan. By day, Jo works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta, but by night she moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." As her column becomes popular, she uses her power to address some issues in society. But she's not prepared for the backlash from people, or those who want to uncover Miss Sweetie's true identity. Lee's profound writing tackles topics of politics and race with a main character who isn't afraid to speak her mind.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

20. Eclipse the Skies by Maura Milan

Albert Whitman & Company, goodreads.com

Release date: Sept. 3

What it's about: In the action-packed sequel to Ignite the Stars, Eclipse the Skies follows Ia, Brinne, and Knives on another epic adventure. Ia's agreed to help the Royal Star Force find her brother Einn, who is trying to tear apart the universe. Brinn struggles to come to terms with her Tawny identity in the midst of backlash, and Knives must adjust to his new role as Aphelion’s headmaster. We can hardly wait to see what's next for these three in this sequel that might just be as adventurous and explosive as the first.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

21. A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Little, Brown Young Readers, nandinibajpai.com

Release date: Sept. 10

What it's about: Simi Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers who help parents find matches for their grown children. Simi's family believes she has a gift for this, but she doesn't want to have anything to do with matchmaking. But when she realizes this particular gift could improve her and her best friend Noah's social status, she decided to create a matchmaking service-via an app. It's all well and good until Simi connects a wallflower with the star of the boys' soccer team, flipping the school's hierarchy on its head and making her public enemy number one. This sweet contemporary promises to be packed full of family and friendship drama.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

22. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Simon Pulse, goodreads.com

Release date: Oct. 15

What it's about: Ali Chu is the only Asian person at her school in small town Indiana. She believes that in order to fit in, she needs to blend in — which means toning down her Taiwanese roots. Then a new kid in school appears: Chase Yu. He's also Taiwanese and suddenly Ali finds herself bonding with him and even fighting back against microaggressions and discrimination they face at school. But when Ali's mom finds out about their relationship, she wants Ali to end it. That's when Ali begins to uncover family secrets and secrets about Chase that make her question everything. Chao is a master of combining humor with more serious moments in a story that's sure to stick with you for a long time.

Get it from Amazon for $18.99, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

23. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

HarperTeen, farahnazrishi.com

Release date: Oct. 22

What it's about: The Earth might end in seven days' time. People know this because Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, and new stations are reporting that they might blow it up in seven days time. Jesse Hewitt has lived an unlucky life, so why should he suddenly care now? Cate Collins hopes to find the dad she's never met, and Adeem Khan isn't sure he's ready to forgive his sister for leaving. With the clock ticking to an end, these three must decide how to tie up loose ends before it's too late. Though this book has sci-fi elements, the characters Rishi creates feel incredibly real.

Get it from Amazon for $17.99, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

24. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Jimmy Patterson Books, Cal Macbeth

Release date: Nov. 5

What it's about: This is the heart pounding sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire. Lei and Wren escaped the Hidden Palace after Lei slayed the cruel Demon King, but the hard work has just begun. With a bounty on Lei's head, she must travel with her lover Wren across the kingdom to gain allies with the far-flung rebel clans. Lei and Wren must succeed in their mission before opposing forces try to eliminate the rebel uprising. Girls of Storm and Shadow sounds like it will deliver just as much magic, intrigue, and adventure as the first.

Get it from Amazon for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $15.63, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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