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4 Books to Read During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (Bonus Blog)

1. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

This YA magical realism novel follows 15 year old Leigh who is convinced that her late mother has turned into a bird. Following what she believes to be her mother's instructions for her to connect with her estranged grandparents, she travels to Taiwan to meet them. This novel is full of Taiwanese culture and is beautifully written. It is one of my all time favorite books. There is a trigger warning for mental health/suicide.

2. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

This YA fantasy novel follows a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to compete to be the imperial tailor. The characters are well developed and the romance is truly swoon-worthy. The world is inspired by Chinese culture and is well thought out from its religion to fashion to environment and social groups.

3. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

This YA fantasy follows Lei who becomes an unwilling concubine to the demon king. Lei is a strong female character and had a lot of character development. Her romance with a fellow paper girl was beautiful. The world was inspired by Malaysian culture and the author describes it as a "love letter to her heritage." There is a trigger warning for sexual assault.

4. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This is an adult romance so please only read it if you're old enough to handle mature content. This novel is about Khai, a successful Vietnamese-American who has difficulty forming relationships and whose mother sets him up with a potential bride. The woman his mother chooses is Esme, a sweet, hardworking Vietnamese woman. Despite rocky beginnings, their relationship grows into a touching love that made me cry happy tears.

*The Bride Test is not pictured in the photograph as I do not own a physical copy of the book but rather an audiobook version of the book.

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