A selected list of notable fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels for young adults by and about Asian Americans, chosen by LAPL librarians. More books for young adults are at LAPL Teen Web.


American born Chinese

Yang, Gene Luen.
Call Number: 740.9999 Y22

This book explores different facets of Chinese American identity with pop culture and alternating points of view and style.

The best we could do : an illustrated memoir

Bui, Thi.
Call Number: 740.9999 B932

Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

Boxers

Yang, Gene Luen, .
Call Number: 740.9999 Y22-7

The first of two companion graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion in China. Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, a farmer's son who joins the rebellion, while Saints is told from the point of view of Four-Girl, a young Chinese girl who has visions of Joan of Arc and converts to Christianity. The difference in perspectives adds a greater depth to the story and makes for a very compelling read.

Control

Kang, Lydia.
Call Number: YA

In 2150, when genetic manipulation has been outlawed, seventeen-year-old Zelia must rescue her kidnapped sister with the help of a band of outcasts with mutated genes.

Dust of Eden

Nagai, Mariko,
Call Number: YA

Thirteen-year-old Mina Tagawa and her Japanese-American family are forced to evacuate their Seattle home and are relocated to an internment camp in Idaho in this novel in verse.

An ember in the ashes : a novel

Tahir, Sabaa.
Call Number: YA
When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover at an elite military academy to spy for the resistance in hopes of saving him.

Escape to gold mountain : a graphic history of the Chinese in North America

Wong, David H. T., 1959-
Call Number: 740.9999 W8725
Based on historical documents and interviews with elders, the book is also the epic story of the Wong family as they traverse the challenges of discrimination and separation from loved ones with hope and determination, creating an immigrant's legacy in their new home of North America.

Everything I never told you

Ng, Celeste.

This slender debut novel is deceptively quiet and elegantly restrained on the surface, but packs a knock-out punch. The story of how and why teenager Lydia Lee, the beautiful, brilliant, best-loved child of a 1970's mixed-race Ohio family, meets her shocking death is much more than just a Midwestern mystery. Within her very specific rendering of one family's tragedy, author Celeste Ng illuminates America's poisonous history of racism, sexism, and homophobia, but never at the expense of a suspenseful plot and a compellingly original cast of characters.

Gaijin : American prisoner of war : a graphic novel

Faulkner, Matt.
Call Number: 740.9999 F263
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Koji, a thirteen-year-old California boy who is half Japanese is sent to an internment camp. This story is based on the history of the author's great-aunt. (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Literature Award - Winner in the Children’s Literature Category)

Girl in reverse

Stuber, Barbara, 1951-
Call Number: YA
Lillian Firestone is Chinese, but the kids in her 1951 Kansas City high school can't separate her from the North Koreans that America is at war with. Sick of the racism she faces at school and frustrated that her adoptive white family just sees it as 'teasing,' Lily begins to search for her birth mother.

I am Malala : how one girl stood up for education and changed the world

Yousafzai, Malala, 1997-
Call Number: 370.95491 Y82-1

Learn the story of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever, who risked her life to fight for the rights of girls in Pakistan to attend school.

If You Could Be Mine : a novel

Farizan, Sara.
Call Number: YA

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

Ink & ashes

Maetani, Valynne E,
Call Number: YA

When Japanese American Claire Takata finds out that her deceased father was once a member of the yakuza, a Japanese crime syndicate, danger enters her life that could end up killing someone. (2016 Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Literature Award - Honor Titles in Young Adult Category)

The inker's shadow

Say, Allen,
Call Number: 740.9999 I563
A follow-up to Drawing From Memory recounts the author's coming-of-age at a military academy, where he endured harsh racism before embarking on a journey to discover himself as a Japanese-American artist.

The kidney hypothetical, or, how to ruin your life in seven days

Yee, Lisa,
Call Number: YA
When Higgs Boson Bing’s girlfriend asks him if he’d hypothetically give her a kidney if she needed one, his answer sets off a chain of events that cost him his relationship, his popularity, his best friend, and possibly his admittance to Harvard - unless Higgs is willing to take a hard look at himself and how he turned out this way.

Lair of dreams : a diviners novel.

Bray, Libba.
Call Number: YA
In this sequel to the Diviners, Evie O’Neill struggles to forget the horrifying secrets that her power has revealed to her as a mysterious sleeping sickness seeps into more and more neighborhoods in 1920s New York City. Chinatown resident Ling Chan soon discovers that in order to help fight the illness, she must use the gift she has kept hidden for years.

Ms. Marvel. Vol. 1, No normal

Wilson, G. Willow, 1982-
Call Number: 741.5 C2547Wi v.1

Kamala Khan is like every other nerdy 16-year-old Muslim girl from Jersey City. That is, until she sneaks out to a party one night and gets caught in a green mist, giving her superpowers that once belonged to Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel! The series follows Kamala as she comes to terms with her powers and the responsibilities that they bring, all the while trying to balance her undercover superhero life with school, her family, and life as a teenager in general.

Out of the dragon's mouth

Zeiss, Joyce Burns, 1942-
Call Number: YA

After the fall of South Vietnam, fourteen-year-old Mai is forced to flee to a refugee camp on an island off the coast of Malaysia, where she must navigate numerous hardships while waiting to find out if her uncle will sponsor her for entry into the United States.

Outrun the moon

Lee, Stacey (Stacey Heather),
Call Number: YA
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from poverty in Chinatown, and she gains admittance to a prestigious finishing school through a mix of cunning and bribery. She soon discovers that getting in was the easiest part, and must carve a niche among the spoiled heiresses. When the earthquake strikes on April 18, Mercy and her classmates are forced to a survivor encampment, but her quick-witted leadership rallies them to help in the tragedy's aftermath.

Prophecy

Oh, Ellen.
Call Number: YA

A demon slayer and the prince she is sworn to protect must flee a demon invasion and unravel a prophecy to save the kingdom. The other books in this series inspired by Korean folklore are Warrior (2014) and King (2015).

The rose and the dagger.

Ahdieh, Renee.
Call Number: YA
In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her in an attempt to break Khalid's curse, save the empire, and reunite with her one true love.

Sacrifice

Pon, Cindy, 1973-
Call Number: YA
When Zhen Ni discovers that her new husband, the strange and brutish Master Hou, may not be all he seems, Skybright and Stone must travel through the terrifying underworld to save her.

Saints

Yang, Gene Luen, .
Call Number: 740.9999 Y22-8
The second of two companion graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion in China. While Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, a farmer's son who joins the rebellion, while Saints is told from the point of view of Four-Girl, a young Chinese girl who has visions of Joan of Arc and converts to Christianity. The difference in perspectives adds a greater depth to the story and makes for a very compelling read.

Saving Montgomery Sole

Tamaki, Mariko,
Call Number: YA
Montgomery Sole doesn’t quite fit in to her conservative small town, but she doesn’t mind as long as she has her two best friends and the Mystery Club, devoted to exploring paranormal occurrences. However, when she and her family encounter intolerance, Montgomery begins to explore mysterious phenomena in the real world, too.

The secret sky : a novel of forbidden love in Afghanistan

Abawi, Atia.
Call Number: YA
Two teens from different ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan must fight their culture, tradition, families, and the Taliban to stay together as they and another village boy relate the story of their forbidden love.

Serpentine

Pon, Cindy, 1973-
Call Number: YA

Skybright, a foundling taken in by a wealthy family, makes startling discoveries about her origins in this story inspired by Chinese mythology.

The shadow hero

Yang, Gene Luen,
Call Number: 741.5 Y22
Award winning author and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Yang revives 1940s super hero The Green Turtle, comics's first Asian American super hero.

Since you asked--

Goo, Maurene.
Call Number: YA

When fifteen-year-old Holly Kim’s snarky article is accidentally published in the school newspaper, she lands a weekly column and rants her way through the school year. But can she manage mean girls, jocks, being a normal teenager, and her parents’ old-school Korean values without going completely insane? This smart, insightful debut will have you laughing so hard you cry.

A single shard

Park, Linda Sue.
Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters' village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

The star-touched queen.

Chokshi, Roshani.
Call Number: YA
Sixteen-year-old Maya's arranged marriage turns out much better than she expected, but her husband's magic - and her curiosity - may threaten more than her life.

Step from heaven

An, Na, 1972-
Call Number: YA Ed.a
A young Korean girl and her family adjust to life in America.

Tell me again how a crush should feel

Farizan, Sara.
Call Number: YA

Leila’s managed to get all the way to junior year without letting romance complicate her life, but when a beautiful new girl starts attending her school, Leila finds herself taking chances - and figuring out how to come out to her friends and family.

This One Summer

Tamaki, Mariko.
Call Number: 740.9999 T1535-2
Every summer, Awago Beach is a refuge for Rose and her family, but this summer everything feels different. This award-winning graphic novel is an affecting story of friendship, family, secrets, and being on cusp between childhood and adolescence.

A time to dance

Venkatraman, Padma.
Call Number: YA

In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

To all the boys I've loved before

Han, Jenny.
Call Number: YA

Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent. Don’t miss the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You either, which was the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Literature Award - Winner of the Young Adult Category.

Under a painted sky

Lee, Stacey (Stacey Heather).
Call Number: YA

Two teenage girls - one of them Chinese American, the other African American - on the run from the law disguise themselves as boys and set out on the Oregon Trail in this tale of adventure and friendship set during the Gold Rush.

The wrath and the dawn

Ahdieh, Renee.
Call Number: YA

In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad volunteers to marry the vicious Khalid, but she has a plan to outlast him and to avenge the women he’s killed. However, once she is inside the palace, Shahrzad realizes that things are not what they seem. The sequel, The Rose and the Dagger was released in April 2016.

Written in the stars

Saeed, Aisha.
Call Number: YA
A Pakistani American teenager discovers that her parents want to force her into an arranged marriage during a family vacation to Pakistan.

The Young Elites

Lu, Marie, 1984-
Call Number: YA

Adelina Amouteru survives a deadly illness only to be cast out of society for the strange markings that set her apart. With nowhere else to turn, Adelina joins The Dagger Society and learns that she may have supernatural gifts as well. The sequel, The Rose Society, was published in 2015.

Zeroboxer

Lee, Fonda.
Call Number: YA
Seventeen-year-old Carr “The Raptor” Luka becomes a zero gravity boxing celebrity, but when he uncovers a criminal conspiracy, everything he’s worked for is put at risk in this sci-fi sports thriller.