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15 Books About The Immigrant Experience We Think You’ll Love

From The Joy Luck Club to Americanah, here are the books our readers couldn't put down.

Page Turners is a BuzzFeed reading group that picks a theme each month, and invites people to choose any book that fits the theme and join in. In March, everyone read a book that captures the immigrant experience! Here are some of our members' favorites:

1. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

G. P. Putnam's Sons

"It's about a dinner and mah-jong gathering that some women who immigrated from China to America hold once a month. The novel is broken up into stories, some told by the original Joy Luck Club members who immigrated from China, while others are told by their daughters who only know American life. It's a great novel not only about a Chinese immigrant experience, but also mother-daughter relationships. I was in tears by the end!"

—Kacey Ross, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $10.36+, Barnes & Noble for $10.36+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

2. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Delacorte Press

"I’m really into the Young Adult genre and I had seen a lot of good reviews for it through this group and I was so happy to see it fit for March’s theme. The language used was beautiful and it kept me captivated the entire time! The story is very interesting and made me realize I don’t see a lot of non-white characters in most of the books I’ve read, so now I’m looking for more diversity in my reading!"

—Lauren Hayes, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $7.53+, Barnes & Noble for $8.20+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

3. You Were There Before My Eyes by Maria Riva

W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

"It follows a young girl from a small village in Italy who marries and comes to America at the height of the Industrial Revolution. The main character, Giovanna, changes her name to the more 'Americanized' Jane. Her husband works for Ford Motor Company, so in addition to the immigrant experience of Jane trying to make a new life in a new country, the book also has themes of early 1900s America. It touches on emerging technology, like telephones and mass assembly lines, as well as a slight historical aspect where it follows along with major national and world events. Riva paints a really great picture of the early 1900s immigrant and Ellis Island experience, all while watching Jane grow up and mature." —April Elizabeth, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $11.28+, Barnes & Noble for $25.95+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

4. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Rebecca Wiens / Via Facebook

"It's a visually and emotionally stunning graphic novel that tore my heart asunder, then lovingly stitched it back together. The books about so much more than immigration —it delves deeply into family relationships and the nature of war and violence. Such a gorgeous book in every way!" —Rebecca Wiens, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $16.96+, Barnes & Noble for $12.47+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

5. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Knopf / Via oprah.com

"It's the story of a Mexican family who come to America hoping to get help for their daughter, who has a traumatic brain injury. It's also a story about friendship and young love. The family moves into an apartment complex with many other Spanish-speaking people and mixed in with the main story there are glimpses of these other characters. They are all so interesting, and I wanted to know more about them as well as the main characters. The ending felt very abrupt to me, but with any book I enjoy reading, I never really want it to end. I need to know what happens next!"

—Melissa Allen Detamore, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $12.88+, Barnes & Noble for $12.92+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Alley Lee / Via Facebook

"I found the writing to be beautiful and the informal style of writing is still very engaging. I had never considered what it would be like for an Irish-American child to be born in America, but to then immigrate to Ireland. Early on in his childhood, while still in America, he recounts the pure kindness and love from his neighbors —Jewish, Italian, and fellow Irish. His experience of being prejudiced against in Ireland (due to being born in America and having a father born in Northern Ireland) really holds him back from succeeding at first, but his resilience is very encouraging." —Megan Ireland, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $10.09+, Barnes & Noble for $11.60+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

7. Behold the Dreamers by Impolo Mbue

Random House

"This book has been both uplifting and heartbreaking. It follows a Cameroonian couple’s experience living and working in New York. The story takes place right before the 2008 financial crash, when Jende gets a job working as a chauffeur for an executive from Lehman Brothers and gets what he and his wife believe will be their ticket to the American Dream. Once on the inside, however, they see that these people’s glittering lives aren't perfect, and the rich family seems to have even more problems than they do. The main characters are instantly likable and identifiable. Bonus: the audio narration is great!" —Veronica Beebe, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $11.90+, Barnes & Noble for $12.00+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

8. The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Macmillan Publishers

"It begins as a story about two American sisters and their difficult relationship with their mother —a cold, almost cruel woman who immigrated to the United States from Russia. As you learn more about the mother’s life in Communist Russia, her actions, and the direction her daughters’ lives have taken, begin to make sense. It's an incredible (and heartbreaking) read." —Shannon Dowling, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $13.59+ or Barnes & Noble for $13.65+.

9. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Astrid Felicia Lim / Via Facebook

"It tells a story about Julia, the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. She lost her sister, whom people always thought as the perfect daughter, so now she's pressured by her parents to replace the position of her sister. But what can she do? She's not her sister —she wanted to see the world, go to college, and become a writer. At first, this book is a bit difficult for me because Julia is not a likable character, but she grows throughout the story. Her struggle is real and makes me understand the very complex life of an immigrant family and their effort to stick to tradition, while also chasing their American dreams."

—Astrid Felicia Lim, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $12.32+, Barnes & Noble for $12.55+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

10. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Algonquin Books

"Like The Joy Luck Club, it's a book of short stories all intertwined together about four sisters and their complicated relationship with their parents and heritage. It's great."

—Kristina Boccaccio, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $9.98+, Barnes & Noble for $10.51+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

11. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

Random House

"It's told in two time periods —the present day from the daughter's point of view, and from the mother's point of view when she was growing up in rural China. The one complaint I had was that I didn't like the daughter's boyfriend. I love Amy Tan, but she usually has her main characters date or marry emotionally stunted men who never quite understand the main character's personality and heritage. But, the part that takes place in China is fantastic and there's so much emotion in everything."

—Liz Boccolini, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $13.68+, Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

12. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

"It's about a Hmong immigrant family who have a daughter with epilepsy and how they navigate the American medical system. There's a lot of info about Hmong culture and history —most significantly as it relates to treating illness and mental health disorders. It's an incredibly insightful and gut-wrenching read that made me both think and cry! Everyone should read it." —Taylor Filaroski, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $5.11+, Barnes & Noble for $9.67+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

13. Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

Charlotte Seth / Via Facebook

"It's about a girl, Sara, whose family immigrated from Poland to the US. Her father is a scholar of the Torah who depends on his daughters to bring in money. As Sara gets older, she realizes being married off and unhappy isn't something she wants. She leaves to get an education. This story shows the struggle of coming to new country and trying to make it. It also has some very strong feminist themes. Four out of five, would recommend." —Charlotte Seth, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $7.58+, Barnes & Noble for $12.72+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

14. The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Laura Walker / Via Facebook

"It's the story of an Eastern European immigrant's experience of settling into life in the UK. I like that it's unforgiving and honest in its depiction of UK attitudes to 'economic migrants' (I hate that phrase). It's an interesting view on how impenetrable another culture and customs can be." —Laura Walker, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $7.78+, Barnes & Noble for $10.21+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

15. And Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Alfred A. Knopf

"I loved that it didn't just cover an immigrant experience in America, but also in the UK. It's a captivating story and one which dives into a wide variety of cultural and personal topics. It follows a woman and a man from Nigeria and their experiences as they leave their native country and then, eventually, find their way back."

—Ellen Rackley, Facebook

Get it on Amazon for $12.69+, Barnes & Noble for $12.75+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Page Turners is our reading group where you get to suggest and choose your own books each month. Find out April's theme here, join the Facebook group to get in on the discussion, or tell us what you're reading in the comments below!

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