YA Books with Asian American Characters
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Representation in literature is essential. It gives a voice to groups of people who feel silenced and unseen and provides role models for readers of various ethnic backgrounds. Being part Asian, I am happy to see that Asian representation is happening more frequently within YA books. With authors like Jenny Han, Maurene Goo, and Gloria Chao, more YA books with Asian American characters have a platform to create space for diverse stories.
The books I’m sharing shed light on the traditions, cultural expectations, and family units of various Asian cultures. These books all feature Asian Americans as the main characters in the story.
This reading list has diverse characters, sweet love stories, and Asian culture woven throughout the story. It also opens up a discussion about the delicate balance of upholding your family’s traditions; while doing your best to fit into the cultures within The United States.
These books touch on the stigmatization Asian American teens can experience within interracial relationships, whether from society or their parents. I recommend the books on this list for upper middle and high school. If your teen is looking for something to read over summer break, these novels are light enough to read leisurely.
Asian YA Romance Books
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
- Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Teen Books with Asian Female Leads
- The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
- American Panda by Gloria Chao
- The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Books with Asian Representation
- Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
- The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
- Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
This handful of YA books does a great job of encapsulating and displaying the cultural traditions, responsibilities, and family dynamics of teenagers with an Asian American background. Personally, my favorite picks from this reading list are American Panda and The Downstairs Girl.
Hannah | Reading Obsessed