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6 Asian Authors to Support This Asian Heritage Month

With the semester coming to a close, I can’t be the only one looking forward to May and the joys of a 4-month break. After longingly flipping my calendar ahead, I was reminded that, as well as providing academic freedom, May is also Asian Heritage Month.

The spring breeze brings with it the celebration of Asian culture and it is the perfect time to support the Asian community. What better way to celebrate the rich and diverse stories of these cultures than to read some amazing Asian authors? From books on Asian history to Asian love stories, there’s something here for every TBR.

1. Jenny Han

Han is a young adult fiction and children’s fiction author. She is best known for her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, which follows a girl named Lara Jean who secretly writes love letters for the boys she has crushes on. Lara Jean never intended for her letters to leave her hat box, but one day when they are mysteriously sent out, her non-existent love life becomes a lot more complicated. 

Han is also well known for her The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, which tells the story of Belly as she spends her summers away at her family’s vacation house in Cousin’s Beach. She is accompanied by her mom’s best friend’s sons Jeremiah and Conrad who are both Belly’s best friends and long-time crushes.

2. Helen Hoang

Hoang is a romance novelist, best known for her debut novel The Kiss Quotient. This mathematical love story follows protagonist Stella Lane who is tired of her lack of love-life experience. To fix this issue, Stella hires male escort Michael Phan to help her check off all the boxes on the list. Stella and Michael’s arrangement turns into a full-on practice relationship which leads her to realize that feelings can’t be as easily solved as equations.

Hoang followed up her popular debut with The Bride Test, which tells the story of Khai Diep who is convinced he has no feelings due to his autism and actively avoids relationships. Seeing how unhappy he is, his mother decides to take matters into her own hands and flies back to Vietnam to find Khai the perfect bride. She returns with Esme Tran who tries her best to get Khai to return her affections. Will Esme convince Khai that he really can feel love, or will it all end in vain?

3. Ocean Vuong

Vuong is a poet, essayist, and novelist. A popular work of his is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, which is a semi-autobiographical novel that follows a Vietnamese American boy named Little Dog.  The novel is written in the form of a love letter to his mother who cannot read.While uncovering family history, Little Dog navigates his family’s past of surviving the Vietnam War and their struggles to build a life in America. Throughout his journey, Little Dog portrays a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.

Vuong is releasing a collection of poems titled Time is A Mother later this year. The book is available for pre-order and is expected to be released April 5th, 2022. The collection delves into Vuong’s grief following his mother’s death and explores the themes of personal loss and the meaning of family.

4. Loan Le

Le is a short story writer, fiction novelist, and editor at Simon & Schuster. Her debut novel A Phở Love Story is a YA romantic-comedy that follows Vietnamese teenagers Bảo Nguyễn and Linh Mai who work at their families’ competing phở restaurants. Due to the feud, they have avoided each other their whole lives. After a surprise and chance encounter, the two meet and their instant chemistry makes them question all of the hate that their families aim to maintain.

Le is releasing a companion novel titled Solving For The Unknown that is expected to be out in the summer of 2023. The novel follows Bảo’s best friend, Viet, and Linh’s sister, Evie, who grow closer during their college’s forensic science competition.

5. Kevin Kwan

Kwan is a novelist and writer of the hit romance Crazy Rich Asians. This fun-filled story follows Rachel Chu as she spends the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend Nicholas Young. However, upon arrival, Rachel soon discovers that Nick’s family are of opulent wealth, and that Nick is none other than the heir to that fortune. Sensing that she has a target on her back, Rachel is forced to navigate the judgements of the Chinese upper class. Kwan’s debut is accompanied by two novels titled China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems which further continue Nick and Rachel’s love story.

Kwan followed up his popular trilogy in 2020 with a novel titled Sex and Vanity. The book follows protagonist Lucie Churchill as she finds herself sharing a kiss with George Zao while on a vacation in Capri. Lucie denies her feelings for George and leaves him to return to New York and her real life. But years later, George shows up in the East Hamptons where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé. Upon seeing him, Lucie can’t help but feel drawn to him once again. Will she finally have the courage to be with him this time?

6. Celeste Ng

Ng is a writer and novelist who released her first novel Everything I Never Told You in 2014. Ng’s debut book follows a Chinese American family who lives in a small town in Ohio in the 70s. Marilyn and James Lee have high hopes for their daughter Lydia, and strive for her to pursue all of the dreams they were unable to. However, when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the Lee family is thrown into chaos. The Lees desperately try to discover the guilty party, but will they do so at their own demise?

Ng released her second novel in 2017 titled Little Fires Everywhere. This story follows two families in Shaker Heights, Ohio; the Richardsons (a middle class suburban family) and single mother Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl. When these two families find themselves in a custody battle over the adoption of a Chinese baby, secrets are revealed, and their lives are changed forever.

As a Vietnamese woman myself, cultural representation in literature is something that I value. Reading Jenny Han’s books was one of the first instances where I felt culturally represented and I am honoured to support her and many other Asian authors throughout my time as an avid bookworm. Whatever your background, these titles are a great way to expand your understanding of various cultures and are the perfect way to relax after you hand in that final exam. Yet, regardless of the month, the astonishing works of these authors can, and should, be enjoyed all year round.

Emily Mason

Western '22

Emily is a fourth year student at Western pursuing an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English, Language & Literature. This is her second year as a writer for Her Campus Western. She has a passion for writing and aspires to take on journalism as her career. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, watching Friends, and singing to Disney songs in her car.
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