As an avid romance reader, I am always looking for a variety of authors to add to my collection, and I am happy to have discovered a variety of AAPI writers. Whether it’s friends to lovers, enemies to lovers or fake dating, they have the tropes covered and execute them beautifully. Here are seven AAPI writers to support this May:
- Helen Hoang
If you have read any of my other romance novel pieces, you know I am a big fan of Helen Hoang, which is why she is receiving the #1 spot on my list for AAPI Heritage Month. Helen Hoang is a Vietnamese American novelist known for her Kiss Quotient trilogy. Her first book follows Stella, a highly successful woman who struggles with love and sexual relations due to being on the spectrum. Stella hires Michael, an escort, to teach her about sex and being in a relationship, and the lines quickly become blurred. Hoang’s writing is witty, sentimental and a little spicy. The other two books in the trilogy are also amazing reads, and it’s probably my favorite series.
- Ana Huang
I have not read any of Ana Huang’s work yet, but she has been recommended to me many times. If you are on BookTok, you are no stranger to this author. Huang is a Chinese American author most known for her Twisted Series. Twisted Love is the first book in the series that follows a forbidden romance between a girl and her best friend’s brother. Both are haunted by their pasts and have secrets that could ruin them. It seems to have all the angst a romance novel lover would want.
**Note: Goodreads does give a warning for this book, and Huang’s male main characters tend to have morally gray, alpha male mindsets. There is no cheating, but they are not your typical hero.
- Sara Desai
Another author I recommend frequently, Sara Desai is an Indian American author who writes about Indian and Indian American characters. I have personally read The Dating Plan, which has a fake dating trope as the two main characters decide to fake a relationship and have a marriage of convenience. That way, the female protagonist can get her family off her back and her male counterpart can inherit the land that is left to him. Desai’s trilogy also explores an “enemies to lovers” situation and other deals of convenience. The side characters and family bring such laughs, and Desai is someone who can do it all as she has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. How can you not want to support her?! I just learned she also has a new book coming out, To Have And To Heist!
- Lily Chu
Lily Chu is one of the top authors on my TBR list. Her first book, The Stand In, follows Gracie as ends up being a stand-in for a famous Chinese movie star because of their resemblance. However, she has to be escorted by a man she finds infuriating, but eventually, she doesn’t seem to mind him. Chu’s next novel, The Comeback, comes out May 9th, and there’s no better way to celebrate AAPI authors than going out and grabbing this new release!
- Amy Lea
Amy Lea has shown up on my lists before, and for good reason. She’s technically Canadian, but we’ll say “Asian American” includes all of North America for this case. Her books always cause a stir in the romance community, with her latest being Exes and O’s. However, she first made a name for herself with her book Set on You. For all my gym rat girlies, this one’s for you as it follows a curvy fitness influencer who doesn’t seem to get along well with the newest patron at her gym.
- Jen Frederick
Jen Frederick was adopted from Korea and grew up in the Midwest. Her book Heart & Seoul seems to have a little bit of a self-insert as the main character is also a Korean adoptee who goes back to Korea to explore her roots, and she happens to fall in love along the way. Reviews say if you love K-dramas, then this is the book for you!
- Emery Lee
We couldn’t end this list without having some LGBTQ+ representation, and Emery Lee was able to contribute the perfect book to this list. His book Café Con Lychee has not only queer representation, but also representation for readers who are neurodivergent. The story follows two boys, one Chinese-Japanese-American, the other Puerto Rican and their families who have rival cafés. However, a new fusion café in town may cause them to put their differences aside.
It’s spring! The weather is getting warmer, and we are having more and more days to lay outside somewhere with a good book. Consider one of these authors as you enjoy the month of May! Less than 20% of romance authors are minorities, so support and elevate the few voices that give us so many good stories. Happy AAPI Heritage Month!