Beyond To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Readers may have been noticing something of a Korean American young adult fiction boom the last year or so, and they’re not imagining it. As interest in K-pop (check out some BTS with your library card via our Freegal database) and K-drama balloons, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more content about and by Koreans and Korean Americans in the U. S.
These seven titles are all recent releases which explore the Asian American experience, including but not limited to Korean Americans, through a young adult lens. From funny to deadly serious, there’s something for everyone in this list of books about young adult Asian Americans beyond To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Prankster Clara Shin has gone too far this time. After a joke gone terribly wrong, Clara and her enemy, Rose Carver, are sentenced to spending the summer helping Clara’s dad on his Brazilian-Korean fusion food truck. Hot doesn’t even begin to cover it, especially when the cute traveling barista, Hamlet (yes, really), enters the scene. As if trying to manage a tiny space alongside Rose, repairing her relationship with her father, and reigning in the crush she develops on Hamlet isn’t enough, Clara pursues a win at a food truck contest in an effort to get the KoBra truck the attention it deserves -- but will she get grilled?
From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra can’t wait to get her work to the big screen and, when she's offered a chance to direct a film for an upcoming festival, she jumps at it. After all, it will mean close proximity with her crush, Neil. Sure, she’ll have to also hang out with his twin brother, Sahil, but it’ll be worth it. Soon, Twinkle begins receiving romantic notes from an anonymous “N,” who has to be Neil. She soon learns that the heart wants what the heart wants, however, when her attentions turn to Sahil and the temptation is too much to resist.
Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi
New in town for college, Penny doesn’t plan on getting too close to anyone. Her roommate wears her down, however, and leads her to a coffee shop where she meets her roommate’s, er, sort-of uncle -- a cute guy with tattoos and his own emotional baggage named Sam -- and the two keep bumping into each other, including one wildly awkward encounter. Everybody needs somebody sometimes, and so Penny and Sam develop an agreement to support each other via text -- each other’s contact in case of personal emergency. As they open up and lean on each other, they develop a close bond that could be love -- if they let it.
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
After rescuing her friend Ghaz from house arrest (thanks to a risqué photo of Ghaz appearing in Times Square, much to her parents’ upset), Mariam and her devout-but-closeted friend Umar embark on a roadtrip with Ghaz through the American South. The trio encounter everything from unexpected racists and Islamaphobes to unexpected allies while journeying not just through space, but through themselves to find out who they really are individually and as friends.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Priyanka wishes she knew more about her family’s origins and why her mother left India so many years ago, but it’s never been a topic up for discussion. She gets a glimpse into the colorful world of her family’s homeland, however, when she discovers a magical pashmina hidden away in her home. With the pashmina to spur her on, Priyanka finally finds a way to travel to India in the real world and spend time with her aunt, all the while learning more about her family and the tragedy behind why her mother left in this stunning graphic novel.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Not long after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Shirin and her family continue to feel the effects of the violence. Day after day, she endures scrutiny, racism, Islamaphobia, and hate, particularly from white Americans. To protect herself, Shirin generally assumes the worst in people until she meets Ocean, a boy with an easygoing smile and a desire to learn more about Shirin. She can’t keep him out forever, she learns -- after all, the sea is a powerful thing.
American Panda by Gloria Chao
Mei is only pursuing medical science to make her family happy -- after all, the idea of blood, guts, and germs makes her sicker than she can describe. After her brother disappointed her family so sharply, however, it’s up to her to make her parents proud. This becomes more difficult when she meets Darren, who is perfect in every way except that he’s Japanese. As Mei starts seeing Darren on the sly and tries to manage her new college classes and experiences, it gets harder and harder to hide the truth from her family -- especially when she reaches out to her estranged brother for help.