In 1978, Congress established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, and in 1992, this celebration was expanded to the whole month of May. In 1997, AAPI Heritage Month was further divided into two groups—Asian and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
There are many up-and-coming AAPI authors who have anticipated titles set to be released in 2023. Take a look at some of these hot new books below and discover a new author to fall in love with.
Role Playing by Cathy Yardley
Bogwitch is Maggie’s screen name, perfectly encapsulating her unapologetically grumpy hermit vibes. When her son strikes up a deal to make them both practice being more social, she can't say no and joins a new online gaming guild led by a friendly healer named Otter. Otter is Aiden, a 50-year-old trying to use the guild as an emotional outlet from his family drama—caring for his aging mother while trying to make peace with his brother playing house with Aiden’s ex-fiancée. The pair become fast friends but assume the other is too young or too old to be friends in real life. When they finally do meet face to face, these opposite personalities attract. But can Maggie and Aiden see past their old trauma and make this new virtual connection work in real life?
Cathy Yardley is an award-winning author of romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy, who has sold over 1.2 million copies of books for publishers like St. Martin's, Avon and Harlequin. She writes fun, geeky and diverse characters who believe that underdogs can create good and that sometimes being a little wrong is just right. She likes writing about quirky, crazy adventures, because she's had plenty of her own: she had her own army in the Society of Creative Anachronism; she spent a New Year's on a three-day solitary vision quest in the Mojave Desert; and she had VIP access to the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Check out her website here.
Jana Suleiman has spent her whole life building walls to protect herself and has never really fit in—she is too aloof, too cool, too perfect. The one time she let her guard down she ended up with a broken heart and a baby on the way. With those walls built right back up and stronger than ever, it is time to test them out. As a bridesmaid for a destination wedding in Serengeti National Park, she will be facing almost everyone she knows—her 5-year-old daughter, her mom, her friends, her potential new boss and, of course, her gorgeous-but-not-to-be-trusted ex. As Jana celebrates this wedding, will her walls fall down again?
After a childhood filled with Bollywood, Monty Python, and Jane Austen, Farah Heron constantly wove uplifting happily-ever-afters in her head while pursuing careers in human resources and psychology. She started writing her stories down a few years ago and is thrilled to see her daydreams become books. The author of Accidentally Engaged and The Chai Factor, Farah writes romantic comedies for adults and teens full of huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, Brown people falling stupidly in love. Farah lives in Toronto with her husband and two teens, a rabbit named Strawberry, and two cats who rule the house. Check out her website here.
Olivia Huang Christenson is about to start her life as a Matchmaker. Taking over the family business from her grandmother, Olivia is excited and nervous for this new adventure—until a new dating app threatens her traditional business. Even worse, this app was created by L.A.’s most-eligible bachelor, Bennett O’Brien. Liv knows better than to fall in love with the enemy, and as the businesses face off, they make a deal. Bennett and Liv agree to find each other's match, and whoever falls in love loses.
Lauren Kung Jessen is a mixed-race Chinese-American writer with a fondness for witty, flirtatious dialogue and making meals with too many steps but lots of flavor. She is fascinated by myths and superstitions and how ideas, beliefs, traditions and stories evolve over time. From attending culinary school to working in the world of Big Tech to writing love stories, Lauren cares about creating experiences that make people feel something. When she’s not writing novels, she works as a content strategist and user experience writer. She also has a food and film blog, A Dash of Cinema, where she makes food inspired by movies and TV shows. She lives in Nashville with her husband (who she met thanks to fate—read: the algorithms of online dating), two cats and a dog. Check out her website here.
Samantha Song knows she is destined to write for a high-society magazine, and she isn’t afraid of putting in the work to get there. Unfortunately, her life and chance to write for this magazine are as far from reality as they could be. In the meantime, Samantha finds herself working whatever will pay the bills. Settling for what she has, she lives vicariously through her wealthy coworker and friend, Anya Chen. All seems fine until she meets Timothy Kingston. Timothy is the disillusioned son of one of Singapore’s elite families. To Samantha’s surprise, Timothy and Anya both agree to help her make a name for herself on Singapore’s socialite scene. But borrowing designer clothes and tagging along as a plus-one to glamorous events can only get her so far. Samantha must impress the editor-in-chief of Singapore’s poshest magazine herself. But the deeper she wades into the lies, the more detrimental the truth becomes.
Kyla Zhao had her first women’s magazine byline at the age of 16, writing about weddings for Harper’s Bazaar Singapore before she even had her first kiss. Since then, she has also written for the Singapore editions of Vogue and Tatler—experiences which helped shape the settings in this book. A native Singaporean, Kyla now works in Silicon Valley after graduating from Stanford University in 2021 with an MA in communications and BA in psychology. Check out her website here.
The Year of Cecily by Lisa Lin
Cecily Chang, San Francisco attorney, is ready to tackle the New Year head on. Her list of resolutions guaranteed to reboot her life is ready to go, and all she needs to do is visit home to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for the Lunar New Year before she starts her list. As long as the food is delicious, Cecily is determined to face her critical, meddling mother, nosy relatives, and the chaos and drama that family togetherness brings. As long as she doesn't see "Him".
Lisa Lin writes light contemporary romantic comedies with a liberal dash of snark and banter. She enjoys delving into the complexity of Asian and immigrant family experiences, and celebrates female friendships in her trademark dry, witty style. As an Asian-American author writing own voices Asian American stories, Lisa hopes that her books will show the diversity of the Asian-American experience, and the importance of every reader being able to see themselves represented on the page. Having grown up in Pennsylvania and helping out at her parents’ restaurant, Lisa has never bothered to learn to cook. She has two liberal arts undergraduate degrees and a J.D, and in her former life she was an intern, then a legislative assistant for a Pennsylvania state representative. She also worked as a paralegal at a boutique law firm. Lisa is a politics junkie (don’t get her started on the wonder that is The West Wing!), indulges in naps whenever possible, and believes Netflixing in her pajamas and ordering take out qualifies as the perfect weekend. Check out her website here.
Ariadne Hui plans her whole life down to the second, and that is just the way she likes it. To become a lawyer at Toronto's best law firm, she will have to go all out working her way to the top. But when she returns home after a hard day's work, she finds a beautiful man in her living room. When her roommate explains this is Choi Jihoon, her cousin freshly arrived from Seoul to mend a broken heart, all of Ariadne’s focus goes out the window. How can she focus when Jihoon is kindness and chaos personified? It doesn’t take long before Ariadne is falling hard, and off her path to become a lawyer in the spotlight.
Lily Chu loves ordering the second-cheapest wine, wearing perfume all the time, and staying up far too late with a good book. She writes romantic comedies with strong Asian characters and The Stand-In is her rom-com debut. Lily lives in Toronto with her family, including two almost-toothless cats. Check out her website here.
Grace Johnson is rocked out of her monotonous life when her husband announces he is done with their marriage. Instead of wallowing in the break-up, Grace reluctantly joins her mother for her 70th birthday road trip all the way to Graceland. Join this mother-daughter duo on this chaotic wish trip from El Paso to Memphis as they try to heal and love again.
Raised in Jersey, Kristen Mei Chase escaped the accent and hairspray addiction, but does appreciate good water ice, soft pretzels, and WaWa coffee. Previously a college professor and music therapist, this busy mom does more than just drive her four kids to hockey, horseback riding, and other activities that may or may not start with the letter “h,” she shows other people how to use social media and writes a lot. Check out her website here.
Scent of a Garden by Namrata Patel
Poppy Patel’s gift of a heightened sense of smell flourished at her grandmother's aromatic garden in California. After moving to Paris and creating scents as a perfumer, Poppy loses her gift. Faced with the reality of her now-muted world, she returns to that garden in hopes of rediscovering her skill. She returns to find this garden gone, along with a lot of her ties to the past. Poppy is still determined to pull away from her family's opinions and make a new, unscented path, to walk down.
Namrata Patel is an Indian American writer who resides in Boston. Her writing examines diaspora and dual-cultural identity among Indian Americans and explores this dynamic while also touching on the families we’re born with and those we choose. Namrata has lived in India, New Jersey, Spokane, London and New York City and has been writing most of her adult life. Check out her website here.
Vietnamese refugees Debbie and Phil Tran must choose between saving their no-frills salon and keeping their family intact when a new high-end salon opens up across the street in Toronto. When their daughter, Jessica, returns and teams up with their son, Dustin, and niece, Thuy, to sabotage the new competitor, the lines between right and wrong will become blurred.
Mai Nguyen is a Canadian writer whose work has appeared in Wired, the Washington Post, Marie Claire, Maclean’s, Toronto Star, and more. She has been nominated for a National Magazine Award twice and holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mai currently lives in Toronto. Check out her website here.
After living in Athena Liu’s shadow, June Hayward witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident and seizes the moment—and Athena’s manuscript. Destined to be great writers, Athena and June were supposed to be the same, the same year at Yale and the same debut year as authors. After Athena’s rising success and June’s rough start, June attempts to pass off Athena’s work as her own. Taking on a pseudonym and pretending to be the author, June Hayward becomes Juniper Song. How far will June go to keep this secret and stolen success?
Rebecca F. Kuang is the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy and Babel: An Arcane History. She has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford; she is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale. Check out her website here.
Moving to paradise, Annie should be at ease, feeling safe in her new Kauai home with her husband and son. She hopes being close to her family can calm and reground her. But faced with returning panic attacks and the feeling of being watched, Annie can’t help but feel like her past is being thrown back at her. At the onset of a brewing storm, a woman arrives at Annie’s house looking for shelter. Annie is relieved to have someone, even a stranger, with her. Yet as the night progresses, Annie realizes the woman is not a stranger.
Lyn Liao Butler was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States when she was 7. Before becoming an author, she was a professional ballet and modern dancer, and is still a personal trainer, fitness instructor and yoga instructor. She is an avid animal lover and fosters dogs as well as volunteers with rescues. When she is not torturing clients or talking to imaginary characters, Lyn enjoys spending time with her FDNY husband, their son (the happiest little boy in the world), their three stubborn dachshunds, sewing for her Etsy shop, and trying complicated yoga poses on a stand-up paddleboard. So far, she has not fallen into the water—yet. Check out her website here.
Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to. Then, one morning, Vera stumbles upon a dead man in the middle of her tea shop and a new mystery to solve. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. After calling the cops like any good citizen would, Vera swipes the flash drive from the body and safely tucks it into the pocket of her apron, because Vera is sure she would do a better job than the police possibly could. Nobody sniffs out wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands.
Jesse Q. Sutanto is the author of adult, YA, and children's middle grade books. She has an MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University and a BA in English Literature from Berkeley, though she hasn't found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. Her adult books include Dial A for Aunties and its sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding. Her YA books include The Obsession, The New Girl and Well, That Was Unexpected. Her middle grade books include Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit and its sequel, Theo Tan and the Iron Fan. Learn more about Jesse on Penguin Random House's website.
Living in a dead-end town, Justin Warren has had his life defined by the suspicious deaths of his grandparents. The unsolved crime happened long before Justin was born, but the effects are still felt 38 years later. One day, Justin crashes into the path of Rose Yin. Justin and Rose live in the same town and attend the same school, but have never met—because Rose lives in 1985. Justin won’t be born for another 20 years. And his grandparents are still alive for now.
Lauren Thoman lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two children, and a rotating number of dogs and fish. When she's not writing, she's probably on the hunt for tacos or coffee, or buried underneath a pile of dogs. Check out her website here.
Peeraphan Rahttana lives in Seattle unaware of the magical world just on the other side of a veil of shadows and mist—until a sudden violent clash outside her dance rehearsal has her literally whisked off her feet. Vampire Bennett Andrews claims to represent a secret organization dedicated to locating objects of myth and magic and hiding them away where they can’t harm anyone. Peeraphan learns she is actually a Thai bird princess of legend. The curse won't kill her immediately, but it is only a matter of time. Bennett pulls Peeraphan deeper into this supernatural world to try and cure her while she learns about her new powers.
Bestselling author Piper J. Drake is best known for her romantic suspense series, the True Heroes, of which the fourth book is acknowledged as a RWA Trailblazer as the first own voices Thai American romance in the USA. Piper is also the author of the Safeguard series, the Triton Experiment series, and the London Shifters series, as well as several standalone novels, short stories and RPGs. Piper is the cohost of the 20 Minute Delay podcast with Gail Carriger. Check out her website here.
Every year thousands in the kingdom of Talin will travel to its capital, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. Competitors across San-Er will fight to the death to win unimaginable riches. Five years ago, a massacre killed almost the entire royal family and left the palace of Er empty. Princess Calla Tuoleimi was the only one spared—because she was the one who did it. King Kasa’s forces in San are trying to catch her before she can finish bringing down the monarchy.
Chloe Gong is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of critically acclaimed novels. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in English and international relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Chloe is now located in New York City, pretending to be a real adult. Check out her website here.
This historical novel is based on the life of actress Anna May Wong, the first and only Asian American woman to gain movie stardom in the early days of Hollywood.
While America falls in love with silent movies, Wong Liu Tsong sees her chance to grow from the daughter of Chinese immigrants who own a laundry to a flourishing actress. Wong Liu and her older sister Lew Ying (Lulu) are taunted and bullied for their Chinese heritage. But while Lulu diligently obeys her parents, Wong Liu sneaks away to the local nickelodeons. Wong Liu choses a stage name, Anna May Wong, and at age 16, leaves high school to pursue her Hollywood dreams, defying her disapproving father and traditional Chinese upbringing.
Gail Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, California to a Chinese mother from Hong Kong and a Japanese father from Hawaii. Gail is currently the Executive Director of WaterBridge Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides books and access to water in developing countries. Check out her website here.
Evergreen by Naomi Hirahara
This historical mystery is about a Japanese American nurse's aide navigating the dangers of post-WWII and post-Manzanar life.
In Los Angeles, 1946, it has been two years since Aki Ito and her family were released from Manzanar detention center and resettled in Chicago with other Japanese Americans. Now the Itos are finally able to return home to California—but everything is different now. The entire Japanese American community is starting over, with thousands of people living in dismal refugee camps while they struggle to find new houses and jobs in over-crowded Los Angeles. When Little Tokyo is rocked by a murder at a low-income hotel, the cops start sniffing around Aki’s home, and she begins to worry that the violence tearing through her community might threaten her family.
Naomi Hirahara is an Edgar Award-winning author of multiple traditional mystery series and noir short stories. Her first historical mystery is Clark and Division, which follows a Japanese American family’s move to Chicago in 1944 after being released from a California wartime detention center. She has also written a middle grade novel, 1001 Cranes. Check out her website here.
This powerful, lush memoir is about a Hawaiian woman who ran away from paradise to discover who she is and where she belongs. Jessica Machado may have been born and raised in Hawai’i by her Indigenous father, but her mother came from the American South and she just doesn’t feel like a local. Being immersed in mainland exports, Jessica doesn't feel connected to Hawaiian culture and the local people—viewing her home as an uncomplicated paradise. However, with her parents’ divorce, an ailing mother, and growing anxiety, Jessica is not living the ideal life. Convinced leaving her family will allow her to define herself, she moves to Los Angeles. But L.A. brings isolation, and Jessica learns her dying mother has followed her to California.
Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids, but all that changed when a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding of All Time. They haven’t spoken since. Liya discovers her family's wishing lantern store is struggling and decides to start secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may boost sales and save the store, but she can't do it alone, and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help.
Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of four books. After a brief stint as a dentist, she now spends her days in fictional characters’ heads instead of real people’s mouths. When she’s not writing, you can find her on the curling ice, where she and her husband are world-ranked in mixed doubles. Check out her website here.
This horror novel is about a house haunting a broken family. Jade only needs to survive five weeks pretending to be happy visiting her dad, Ba, in Vietnam. But the house has other plans, leaving Jade paralyzed night after night while the walls and bugs close in. Ba and her sister Lily have no idea what horrors the house inflicts on Jade.
Trang Thanh Tran writes about food, belonging and the Vietnamese diaspora with lots of feelings. They grew up in a big family in Philadelphia, then abandoned degrees in sociology and public health to tell stories in Georgia. When not writing, they can be found over-caffeinating on iced coffee and watching zombie movies. Check out their website here.
Back to the Future meets Freaky Friday meets The Joy Luck Club in this delightful time-traveling romance. Korean American teen Sam is sent back to the ’90s to help her teenaged mom win Homecoming Queen, and in the process develops feelings for sweet, mysterious football player Jamie, who just might be the right guy in the wrong era.
Twelve-year-old, part-Hawaiian Anna Leilani Kamaʻehu doesn't believe in the curses of her grandmother’s folktales. But when Anna accidentally insults Pele the fire goddess by destroying her lehua blossom on her vacation back to Hawaiʻi, a giant hawk swoops in and kidnaps her best friend, and she quickly learns just how real these moʻolelo are. If Anna hopes to undo the curse, she will have to dig deep into her Hawaiian roots and learn to embrace all of who she is.