Happy February, friends! In time for the new month, let’s take a look at all the February book releases written by Asian authors. With more and more Asian authors being given a chance to tell their stories to the world, I guess we can say that they’re on the rice. 📈
This post is part of my newly introduced series unironically entitled ‘Books on the Rice‘. It’s a recurring series dedicated to spotlighting Asian-authored books that are nearing their release date. Check out last month’s post for January 2021 releases.
I’m particularly excited for this month’s collection of Asian-authored books because I was lucky enough to be an early reader of several titles — which I’ve marked with a cute sunflower emoji (🌻). Moreover, I look forward to seeing these books get into the hands of more readers. I sincerely hope that you take the time to support these authors.
A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen 🌻
[ 02 February 2021 from Razorbill ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The one thing Liza Yang and her mother agree on is their love of baking. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery’s annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she’s more than her rebellious tendencies.
But when she arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there’s a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.
Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease
[ 02 February 2021 from Flatiron Books ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: In this highly anticipated sequel to All That Glitters, Camille Durbonne gambled everything she had to keep her and her sister safe, and now the Vicomtesse de Seguin seeks a new life in Paris. But revolution roils the bloody streets and “aristocrat” is a dangerous word. Safety may no longer be possible.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Camille prints revolutionary pamphlets, sharing the stories of girls.
Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
[ 02 February 2021 from Mariner Books ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers depicts the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.
Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited.
Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon
[ 02 February 2021 from St. Martin’s Griffin ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings — these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”
High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars — these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.
Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again.
On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu
[ 02 February 2021 from Erewhon ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Firuzeh and her brother Nour are children of fire, born in an Afghanistan fractured by war. When their parents, their Atay and Abay, decide to leave, they spin fairy tales of their destination, the mythical land and opportunities of Australia.
As the family journeys from Pakistan to Indonesia to Nauru, heading toward a hope of home, they must rely on fragile and temporary shelters, strangers both mercenary and kind, and friends who vanish as quickly as they’re found.
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
[ 02 February 2021 from Quill Tree Books ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: This verse novel follows Reha, an Indian American girl who feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays.
But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart.
The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto
[ 02 February 2021 from Sourcebooks Fire ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”
But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le 🌻
[ 09 February 2021 from Simon & Schuster ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.
But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect.
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard 🌻
[ 09 February 2021 from Tordotcom ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: As a child, Princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to Ephteria. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.
Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home.
Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap 🌻
[ 09 February 2021 from Small Beer Press ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, “A Spell for Foolish Hearts” to the terrifying tension of the urban legend “Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.”
The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa 🌻
[ 09 February 2021 from Inkyard Press ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before.
With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
[ 16 February 2021 from Avon ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one.
Nonetheless, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle Jia’s family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar
[ 24 February 2021 from Tu Books ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Risking everything, Meera runs away, escaping into the chaos of the rebellion. But her newfound freedom is short-lived, as she is forced to become a servant in the house of a high-ranking British East India Company captain.
Slowly through her work, she gains confidence, new friends, new skills–and sometimes her life even feels peaceful. But one day, Meera stumbles upon the captain’s secret stock of ammunition, destined to be used by the British to continue colonizing India and control its citizens.
Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan by Usman T. Malik
[ February 2021 from self-published ]
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: A Lahori orphanage for girls is haunted by birds and eerie visions. Two lovers are set adrift amidst rising floodwaters in 1960s Old Lahore. A woman chaperoning a school trip to the ruins of a pre-Islamic city in Sind faces ancient horrors as boys go missing and the fog rolls in.
With a meticulously designed cover and beautiful black-and-white illustrations by seven different Pakistani artists, Midnight Doorways is a unique community project highlighting the scope of speculative art and literature in Pakistan.
More 2021 Asian book releases?
I got you! I’ve compiled more than 170 upcoming Asian book releases in one color-coded, lovingly organized database. This can help you look through titles not only by release date, but also by genre, age group, publisher/imprint, and what-have-you.
This database took me several days to put together, and I’ll continue to update it throughout the year. If you find it helpful, please consider supporting me by leaving a one-time tip (via ko-fi). Thank you very much! I hope you find a book that sparks joy in your heart.
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Finally, if you really enjoy my content, consider further supporting me by leaving a one-time tip ☕ or joining my sunflower garden. 🌻🍃
I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 Which upcoming releases in February are you most excited about? Did any of them appear on this list?
🌻 I know that everyone and their mom make blog posts about upcoming releases, be it on a weekly or monthly basis. Do you enjoy reading them? Are they helpful to you?
🌻 And finally, the most important question: are you sick and tired of my puns yet?