I said it many many times on twitter but know that 2021 is the year Asian readers are winning everything. There are so many releases I’m excited about and that I can’t wait to read. With this article, I hope you all find some books to be excited about with me. Don’t forget to preorder them if you can because all these authors deserve to be supported!
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le ★ February 9th 2021
Short summary: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.
Why I can’t wait to read it : Do I really have to tell you why I can’t wait to read it? As a Vietnamese person, I just can’t wait to finally have a chance to read more books with two Vietnamese mcs. But also the Romeo and Juliet vibe? The enemies-to-lover trope? A story centering about food and especially pho? I’m in, I can’t wait.
Yolk by Mary H.K Choi ★ March 2nd 2021
Short summary: From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives.
Why I can’t wait to read it: First of all, look at this cover and tell me it’s not a good reason to buy this book. I’ve been waiting to read more books featuring siblings and this one features two sisters who knew nothing about each other and then one of them has to save the over. I’m sorry but doesn’t it sounds fabulous?
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur ★ April 20th 2021
Short summary: After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.
Why I can’t wait to read it: There is a thing with 2021 releases by Asian authors with absolute amazing cover and this book is no exception. Like I said just before, I want to read more book with siblings dynamic and this book is one of them. Add mystery, a creepy village and its secrets and you have everything I needed in a book.
From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn ★ May 11th 2021
Short summary: Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in this intensely personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart.
Why I can’t wait to read it : I absolutely love I Love You So Mochi by this author and I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to write next. I like the idea of reinventing fairy tales especially if it features Asian-American characters and the fact that the main character doesn’t quite fit the image of Disney princess? Sign me immediately for this book.
Made in Korea by Sarah Suk ★ May 18th 2021
Short summary: Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
Why I can’t wait to read it: The enemies-to-lovers vibes i’m LIVING FOR IT. Also I’m just in love with all those books written by Korean authors which features characters who are Kpop idols or who wants to become Kpop idol. I can’t wait to read all of them, especially this one which features teens who are running businesses? Korean beauty businesses?
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar ★ May 25th 2021
Short summary: Everyone likes Humaira « Hani » Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita « Ishu » Dey.
Why I can’t wait to read it: I absolutely loved Adiba Jaigirdar’s debut novel and I know I have to read her second book too. It has everything I need in my life: the fake dating trope, a bisexual main character and the nerd/popular girl dynamic.
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee ★ May 4th 2021
Short summary: Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teens first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.
Why I can’t wait to read it: First of all, this cover is just absolute perfection — it’s cute, lovely and the art is perfection. I love the idea of a main character having a blog and posting cute stories on it. I’m also working on reading more stories which feature trans main characters and I feel that I will absolutely love this one.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He ★ May 4th 2021
Short summary: Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Why I can’t wait to read it: Know that I will always and immediately buy anything Joan He writes. Her debut novel, Descendant of the Crane was an amazing book, and now that she’s writing one of my favorite genre — SciFi, I can’t wait to have this book in my hands. Also, this cover? Please? How pretty it is? I also heard from early readers that this book has one of the most shocking plot twist and now I can’t wait.
Love Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura ★ June 8th 2021
Short summary: When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind. That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.
Why I can’t wait to read it: Misa Sugiura wrote one of my favorite 2020 read, This Time Will Be Different, and now I just need to read everything she wrote. Add to that the fake dating trope with sapphic characters of colors and also!! two sapphic couples on the cover? I believe I need nothing more than that.
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta ★ June 29th 2021
Short summary: Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they’re fighting for a common purposeand falling for each otherin Zoe Hana Mikuta’s high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu’s Legend series.
Why I can’t wait to read it: I lived until now for this book. I didn’t know I needed a book which features mechas until now. Also, sapphic characters, enemies-to-lovers trope? In a scifi context? It is also pitched as the perfect book for fans of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising which is one of my favorite saga ever. Anyway Zoe Hana Mikuta could actually slap me with this book and I’d be thankful for that.
An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi ★ June 1st 2021
Short summary: From bestselling and National Book Award–nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy—even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.
Why I can’t wait to read it: I love Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me saga but never got the chance to read one of her contemporary work and I believe An Emotion of Great Delight is the perfect chance for me to rectify that. The fact that this novel is about loneliness and reclaiming your right to joy is highly intriguing too. AND LOOK AT THE COVER?
XOXO by Axie Oh ★ July 13th 2021
Short summary: Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
Why I can’t wait to read it: give me all the Kpop books written by Korean authors. Slap me with all of them I don’t care. The young me is living for all those new story and this one? Sounds absolutely the type of book I’d like. And there is something with this cover — the colors, the art, the atmosphere… idk I just love it.
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao ★ August 3rd 2021
Short summary: In a YA thriller that is Crazy Rich Asians meets One of Us is Lying, students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.
Why I can’t wait to read it: How We Fall Apart is honestly one of my most 2021 anticipated read. I just can’t wait for August to finally arrive so I can jump and read this book. I like the idea of smart Asian characters trying to outsmart each other and I can’t wait to feel absolutely dumb while reading it. Also, I’ve seen on the author’s twitter some art for her characters and they look absolutely stunning. (I’m all in for the dark academia vibes too!)
You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao ★ Publication date TBA
Short summary: If I Stay meets Your Name in this heartfelt novel about love and loss and what it means to say goodbye. Heartbroken after her boyfriend’s death, Julie calls him to hear his voicemail—but he picks up. It’s their second chance at goodbye, but the connection’s temporary. The longer they talk, the more impossible it is to let him go.
Why I can’t wait to read it: read the short summary and tell me this isn’t the book we’re all waiting for. I already know I’m going to cry all the tears in my body and I honestly don’t care because I also know this book is going to cleanse my soul (and who doesn’t need that?) I also can’t wait to see what the cover will look like!
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao ★ Publication date TBA
Short summary: Iron Widow is a YA Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. The duology will follow an 18-year-old re-imagining of her as she avenges her sister’s murder by an intensely patriarchal military system that pairs boys and girls up to pilot giant magical mecha based on creatures from East Asian myth (Nine-Tailed Fox, Moon Rabbit, etc.), but in which boy pilots are treated like celebrities, while girl pilots must serve as their concubines.
Why I can’t wait to read it: Like I said before, I need more books which features mechas and in this one, they’re based on creatures from East Asian myth? How cool does that sound? I also believe that this book features a polyam relationship and I’m so ready for it (we need more book like those I swear). Also, Iron Widow is going to be translated in French and even though I still don’t know if I’m going to read the book in French or in English but in any case I’m just so excited to read it.
That’s it! As you can see, there are so many releases I’m excited about. Obviously, there are many more releases by Asian authors in 2021 and that’s why I’m going to link you this amazing database made by Shealea where she gathered all the 2021 Asian-Authored books. Please check it if you’re looking for more books written by Asian authors. I’m also going to write another article like this one but for MG and Adult books. See you soon!