A Year into Asian YA and New Beginnings

It’s been about a year since I first launched Asian YA on tumblr and started my database, so I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the experience and look forward to new beginnings and change.

When I first decided to start Asian YA, I brought it up to a few trusted friends who have been nothing but encouraging every step of the way. Thank you to Sue and Mana, who have been champions of my efforts since I launched this website and the idea behind it. For every text message where I’ve asked for advice and motivation and encouragment, for every time you’ve cheered for me as Asian YA has expanded. I would be nowhere without you and I love and appreciate you both so much.

Over the course of the year, I’ve slowly expanded the database of Asian YA to over 300 titles (as well as an additional 100 or so that are slowly being added to the physical database), although I have far to go before I can say I can be close to satisfied.

I want to thank every person who has contributed a title or boosted or promoted this website. It’s been overwhelming how much support that I’ve received from the community and I appreciate it so much. Special thanks to Shenwei, who’s been instrumental in adding titles and perhaps is even more obsessed than me at searching for new Asian Lit titles lmao.

To all the Asian authors who have added a title to this list, thank you for being a source of inspiration to me. Seeing Asian authors thrive in this community, while writing and telling their stories has been nothing but a joy. As I see more and more upcoming authors to add on here, it honestly moves me to tears. Asia is such a rich and diverse continent, with so many cultures and nations.

In the months to come, there will be several changes. First of all, the name Asian YA is quite outdated, and while it has become somewhat of a nostalgic brand for me, it clearly does not reflect the space I’m trying to build on here. While I’m still working on mechanics and details, expect to see a re-branding of this website to reflect the goals of this space, a database of Asian authors writing fiction. There is still a tremendous lack of books that are non-kidlit, and as well as adult genre and literary fiction authors, I hope to get a chance to add on by including Asian comic and graphic novel writers/artists.

I’m currently partnered with an organization to combine both resources and expand upon them to build a better curated list. I hope that you’ll get to see a more comprehensive database after we’re done, and I can’t wait to tackle and complete this project.

I’ve also opened applications for Asian bloggers/readers/writers to join the team of Asian YA, to help out with some of the day-to-day tasks of running this site. I’ll link the form here if you’re interested, and I’m excited to see what this fresh blood will bring to the site.

I hope that this database and the community that it builds, continues to grow in the future.


Eri ❤

Asian MG/YA Slaying Covers 2018

The past month or so has been pretty magical with cover reveals and I wanted to feature some of the covers I’ve seen revealed in the past few weeks that have been both gorgeous and centered Asians! I’m so excited for all of these books and I hope you are too ❤

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Justina Chen cover
Lovely, Dark and Deep by Justina Chen

What would you do if the sun became your enemy?

That’s exactly what happens to Viola Li after she returns from a trip abroad and develops a sudden and extreme case of photosensitivity — an inexplicable allergy to sunlight. Thanks to her crisis-manager parents, she doesn’t just have to wear layers of clothes and a hat the size of a spaceship. She has to stay away from all hint of light. Say goodbye to windows and running outdoors. Even her phone becomes a threat when its screen burns her.

Viola is determined to maintain a normal life, particularly after she meets Josh. He’s a funny, talented Thor look-alike who carries his own mysterious grief. But the intensity of their romance makes her take more and more risks, and when a rebellion against her parents backfires dangerously, she must find her way to a life — and love — as deep and lovely as her dreams.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang cover
Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk tells the story of 10 year old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed!

Front Desk is a middle-grade novel from debut author Kelly Yang. Based on the author’s life, the story follows Mia—the daughter of first generation Chinese immigrants.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi cover
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from their latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert cover
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father’s closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there’s much more to his family’s past than he ever imagined.

Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family’s blessing to pursue the career he’s always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can’t stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.

When Danny digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed fa ade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of summer love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With her signature warmth and humor, Maurene Goo delivers a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.