15 upcoming books from Asian authors that your radar may have missed

I am extremely happy that there seems to be a wonderful ton of upcoming releases from Asian authors this year. We’ve reached a point in time where we can actually build two-digit lists(!!!) about them, and although that may appear to be a small, irrelevant feat to some, I think it’s a tiny victory worth recognizing.

However, although it’s great to see a bit of progress in the publishing industry, I cannot help but feel that books written by authors of color are still promoted and hyped significantly less compared to releases from privileged white authors. No spilled tea, just a casual observation from a woman of color. It may seem like there is a lot of hype surrounding diverse books, especially in the online book community, but the reality is that this community is not representative of the entire reading population.

I mean, there are a lot of avid readers out there who aren’t even aware that the online book community exists, much less the diverse titles that book bloggers and book Twitter are hyping up. I have a lot of friends who like to read but aren’t up to date regarding book releases. But this is a (very important) discussion for another time, I think.

The only point that I want to make for the time being is that, although there are a few upcoming books from authors of color that have been given a lot of time in the spotlight, there is still an alarmingly huge number of diverse books that fall through the cracks and aren’t given the same amount of support and exposure, especially by their publishing companies.

Which brings us to the heart of this post: diverse books that our radars may have missed. Over the next week or so (depending on my schedule and workload), I will be writing lists of diverse books that, in my humble opinion, aren’t being sufficiently promoted. Of course, with the recent introduction of the reading challenge (Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019) that I, along with a few incredibly talented book bloggers, am organizing, I’ve decided to kick off this mini-series with underhyped books written by Asian authors! Hopefully, this post can help you build your TBR for the challenge (or you know, just help other readers in general).

Let’s get to it! Here are 15 upcoming 2019 releases by Asian authors that your radar may have missed!

Patron Saints of Nothing Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune My Fate According to the Butterfly

🌟 Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Inspired by the current political climate in the Philippines, Randy Ribay’s upcoming novel is a powerful coming-of-age story revolving around a Filipino-American teenager who’s trying to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder. Patron Saints of Nothing promises to tackle the realities of President Duterte’s war on drugs (or more acccurately, his war against the poor), family, and immigrant identity.

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

🌟 My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva

With a superstitious 11-year-old Filipino protagonist, My Fate According to the Butterfly is a socially relevant middle-grade novel that also revolves around the realities of Manila and the ongoing war on drugs. In a previous blog post, I announced that I, together with Kate @ The Backwards Bookshelf and Cara @ The Little Miss Bookworm, will be organizing a book blog tour for this novel. I hope y’all are as excited about Gail D. Villanueva’s debut as I am!

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🌟 Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Roselle Lim is a Filipino-Chinese author, and her debut follows Natalie Tan, who returns home after hearing the news of her mother’s death and ends up inheriting her grandmother’s restaurant. With a splash of an endearing romance, of course. (Naturally, I was sold the moment I learned that Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune has strong family themes and food descriptions!)

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

This Time Will Be Different A Match Made in Mehendi

🌟 This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Misa Sugiura’s sophomore novel is a YA contemporary with a Japanese-American protagonist (look at how gorgeous she looks on that book cover!!!). This Time Will Be Different promises to touch on the idea of family, identity, and World War II.

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

🌟 A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

In A Match Made in Mehendi, 15-year-old Simi comes from a long line of Indian vichole (matchmakers) with a history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. This seems to be a lighthearted and fun read, and I can’t wait to devour it!

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🌟 Misaligned by Gloria Chao

I, unfortunately, did not love American Panda as much as I hoped to, but I’m definitely looking forward to Gloria Chao’s sophomore novel because I know she’s a good writer. Misaligned is about a teen outcast who is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white Midwestern town.

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Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon The Chai Factor

🌟 Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is a YA steampunk fantasy that features mechanical dragons (yes, I gasped aloud, too). I haven’t had the opportunity to pick up any of Mary Fan’s books, but it’s most likely that I’ll dive into this one first. I’m so excited!

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

🌟 The Chai Factor by Farah Heron

In The Chai Factor, thirty-year-old engineer Amira Khan has one rule: no dating until her grad-school thesis is done. But one day, she arrives home to find that her grandmother has rented the basement to a barbershop quartet. With a unique premise and a South Asian STEM heroine, I’m definitely looking forward to this adult romance novel from Farah Heron.

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

🌟 The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

After my reading experience with The Bone Witch trilogy, I officially deemed Rin Chupeco as my queen and goddess. Coincidentally, her upcoming book is about twin goddesses scrambling to fix a world slowly dying of horrific man-made and destructive climate change. Need I say more? I’m all heart-eyes emojis for The Never Tilting World for sure!

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🌟 Caster by Elsie Chapman

Pitched as a Chinese-inspired Fight Club with magic, Caster is set in a world where magic is dangerous and illegal. However, Aza soon finds herself in an underground casting tournament — where the stakes couldn’t be higher. Real magic, real consequences.

Add this on Goodreads | Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository

🌟 Rumor Game by Sona Charaipotra

Rumor Game follows the lives of three troubled teenage girls as a high school rumor begins to spiral out of control with dangerous consequences, and only one girl has the power to set things right.

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🌟 Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo*

Set in 1950s San Francisco, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a story of love and duty that explores the complicated overlap between the city’s Chinese-American and LGBTQ+ communities. Why this title isn’t being heavily promoted is beyond me. I want it so badly.

* Edit (01/21/19): The author has informed me that her book won’t be released within this year. I feel betrayed by Goodreads.

🌟 The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Coming out this August, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is a heartfelt portrayal of love, culture, family, and mental illness set in Sydney’s Inner West.

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🌟 Guardians of Dawn by S. Jae-Jones

Inspired by East Asian influences and girl-centric narratives like (gasp!) Sailor Moon, four girls must combine their elemental magic to defeat a growing evil and restore the rightful heir to the throne. My childhood is actually shaking.

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🌟 Color Outside the Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna

This upcoming diverse YA anthology tackles interracial relationships and the complicated, rewarding, and sometimes hilarious dynamics between friends, family, and first love. I’m happy to say that some of my favorite people are contributors to this anthology, such as Sangu Mandanna, Elsie Chapman, Lori M. Lee, and Anna-Marie McLemore. Other featured talents are Karuna Riaz, Lydia Kang, L.L. McKinney, Lauren Gibaldi, Tara Sim, Eric Smith, Caroline Tung Richmond, Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker, Samira Ahmed, and Adam Silvera.

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I’d love to hear from you!

🌻 Do you think diverse books still aren’t heavily promoted or marketed by their publishers compared to the support received by non-diverse titles?

🌻 Which of these featured books are new or unfamiliar to you? Which ones caught your attention?

🌻 Have you signed up for this year’s Year of the Asian Reading Challenge?


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21 thoughts on “15 upcoming books from Asian authors that your radar may have missed

  1. Ahhhh! How did I NOT know Rin Chupeco had a second book coming out in 2019?! I obviously knew the 3rd book of The Bone Witch series was coming out this spring, but I had no idea she had another one coming! Happy 2019 to us 😉

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  2. I am proud to say that I only seem to have missed a couple of these books 😄
    AND OMG MECHANICAL DRAGONS I GASPED BEFORE I EVEN SAW THAT YIU WROTE YOU GASPED 😱💖💖

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  3. The Chai Factor sounds just for me! I’ve been waiting for Colour Outside the Lines considering my parents are an interracial couple! 😆

    A fantasy book addressing climate change?? Holy shit, I already love Rin Chupeco

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  4. Darn it, I was trying to block out ‘Never Tilting World’ from my memory because IT IS TOO FAR AWAYYYY. Rin Chupeco is seriously such a great writer, I adore her books and I need this!!!

    The cover for ‘This Time Will Be Different’ is beautiful! and that Sailor Moon-esque book definitely caught my attention, ooooh

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  5. YES I completely agree that diverse books are often not as hyped up as white-centric books. Like. An Ember in the Ashes is a huge book, but there’s still hardly any fanart for it or anything?? While books like The Cruel Prince will have a TON of fanart. Also, seriously, for 2019 the most hyped books are mostly white, like Wicked Saints or King of Scars and other similar books. I don’t have ANYTHING against them but like…………….. if you compare their hype to the hype of diverse books, it’s a LARGE ratio. (ALSO! thank you for this list! I’m NOT PROUD to admit that I didn’t know all of these, and I’ve now added them to the gr list I have here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/126446.Asian_MG_YA_2019 (if you have any others that aren’t on this gr list, you can add them!)

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  6. I absolutely love this list, thank you!! As a Swede, most bookshops or online stores promote books that are either North European or North American, so we do not see much representation from other parts of the world. I honestly don’t care for ‘re-tellings’ of Norse myths – I can tell the originals in my sleep and none have been actually creative with their re-tellings. Diversity in authorships means diversity in stories, and honestly who doesn’t love that? My list of Asian authors is tragically short, but I hope to make it longer. You don’t happen to have made another list like this with recommendations for more Asian authors with already released books? x

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  7. Omg this is one of my fav blog posts I’ve read in awhile, thank you for uplifting these authors and their art, I’ve added a bunch of them to my to-read list on Goodreads! No need to cross out the “white” in the first part of the post, it’s definitely true that white authors have more privilege and power in the publishing industry (and pretty much everywhere else) so it’s so necessary that we support POC authors or else they’ll get swept under the rug. And within these 15 titles there’s good diversity in terms of genre of book and Asian ethnic group, so that’s cool too. Thanks again for this post.

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  8. I haven’t even heard any of this book, except for Patron Saints of Nothing and Match Made in Mehendi. I have read Girl From the Well series by Rin Chupeco, it’s perfectly creepy and gives explanation about the Japanese culture and lores really well. I think it’s incredibly underhyped, which is sad as they are fantastic!

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  9. Watch me add all of these to my to-read list. Well, the ones that weren’t on there already, of course. Thank you so much for creating posts like this one! I always want to support marginalized authors more, especially those who don’t seem to receive as much promo.

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  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS LIST!!!! I feel like I’ve been living off scraps when it comes to Asian rep and stories in YA in particular and knowing there are so many upcoming ones makes me cry with joy these stories are so important to me

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  11. Oooh, some of the fantasies look interesting.

    I feel that I was very lucky growing up in Singapore – I read Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, and Saffy’s Angel, but I also read Bookworm Club (all Singaporeans), Mr Midnight & Mr Mystery (also all set in Singapore iirc), Sing to the Dawn, etc. So I never felt like there was underrepresentation. In fact, I look at a lot of diverse books now and I notice that a lot of them (if they are YA or non-fantasy) deal with Asian-Americans, which isn’t representative for Asians like me. So in a way, these books don’t do anything for me 🙈 But more Asian-inspired fantasy and steampunk is definitely welcome – I loved The Grace of Kings and thought that the Three Body Problem was fascinating.

    YARC sounds interesting! I wish I heard of it sooner but I’m trying to read more SEA books this year (which is surprisingly difficult because apart from SingLit, a lot of stories from SEA don’t seem to be translated to English unless they’re ‘literary’, which is a huge pity imo).

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