MORE 2019 BOOKS BY ASIAN AUTHORS YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR

Hullo, bookdragons!

This is my third post for @thatbookshelfbitch‘s #Project14Lists and today I’m going to list more books by Asian authors coming out in 2019! There are just so many great books coming out next year that my Asian heart is full to the brim. ADD ALL THESE BOOKS TO YOUR TBR TO HAVE CLEAR SKIN! Thank you very much.

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1. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Publication date: 2019

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A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

• • •

You see that book cover?? That’s the cause of my death. Gorgeous things make my heart stop. Send help.

Cover aside, I’m looking forward to this book because it touches a relevant subject, especially to Filipinos. Do you ever have that feeling that a book is going to turn your life upside-down even though you haven’t read it yet? That’s what I feel about Patron Saints of Nothing.

(And yes, you’re reading it right. Your fantasy-loving bookdragon is 100% hyped on a non-fantasy book)

2. ‎My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva

Publication date: 2019

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Superstitious soon-to-be 11-year-old Sab believes her fate is sealed when she spots an ominous black butterfly. Determined to reconcile her journalist older sister and their father before her time is up, Sab embarks on a quest that sends her on a collision course with the realities of Manila and the war on drugs.

• • •

This is yet another non-fantasy book I’m dying to read. Like Patron Saints of Nothing, this book also touches the subject of the war on drugs in the Philippines. For a Filipino like me, a book like this holds importance. My Fate According to the Butterfly is also set in the Philippines with a Filipina MC. THINKING ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS MAKES ME WANT TO CRY OKAY??? Just leave me sobbing here for a minute.

3. ‎The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Publication date: February 5, 2019

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A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.

But there are things that Melati can’t protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.

With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.

**Content warnings: Racism, graphic violence, on-page death, OCD and anxiety triggers.**

• • •

I got an e-ARC of this book from edelweiss (omg what a shocker) and I’m both excited and afraid to read it. I’m afraid because HELLO I SMELL TEARS JUST READING THIS BLURB. I’m not ready to cry yet. I’m going to read this book soon though because its publication date is getting near. WISH ME LUCK AND SEND ME TEN BUCKETS FOR FUTURE TEAR STORAGE.

4. ‎Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

Publication date: January 29, 2019

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To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…

Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart, and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.

• • •

When I first read this book’s synopsis, I wanted to jump through time as well. I’m a simple person, really. When I see a very good book, I go ahead and dream to rip the bounds of space and time just to read it. See? Small dreams. Highly achievable. I haven’t succeeded yet so I might just wait for the publication date. You should too. MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND WATCH OUT FOR THIS BOOK.

5. ‎The Love and Lies of Rukshana Ali by Sabina Khan

Publication date: January 29, 2019

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Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

• • •

I don’t read much YA contemporary but this book obviously got my attention. Its intriguing title worked its magic and now I’m excited for this. THIS BOOK IS GOING TO BE RELEASED IN A FEW WEEKS, Y’ALL. Let’s all join Ruskshana through her journey of love and lies.

6. ‎Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Publication date: June 11, 2019

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Lush and visual, chock-full of delicious recipes, Roselle Lim’s magical debut novel is about food, heritage, and finding family in the most unexpected places.

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

“Vivid and lyrical with a touch of magic.”–Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

• • •

I swear I heard the angels sing when I saw this book’s cover art. Scroll back up and look at it again. Hard to look away now, right? That book cover is a void and you can’t convince me otherwise.

Also, THIS BOOK IS ABOUT FOOD. And family. But also food. FOOD. Look I have my priorities straight here. I’m completely fine. I’m sure this book has a lot to offer us (especially the food). You definitely do not want to miss it.

7. ‎There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Publication date: May 14, 2019

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Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

• • •

This is a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi and even though I haven’t read that yet (I’m missing out I know), I’m still excited about this book because bookdragons in the community are excited for it as well. THE HYPE IS A BUBBLE I CAN’T GET OUT OF OKAY?? It has quite the effect on me. I’m glad that we’re finally getting the fat MC we all deserve. Give me all the non-toxic and non-problematic fat rep please and thank you.

8. ‎Internment by Samira Ahmed

Publication date: March 19, 2019

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Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

• • •

Even without reading it yet, I know that this book is going to be powerful and impactful to every reader. Let’s claim it. I’ve already heard lots of positive things about this and I’m aware that this is going to be one emotional book. Now, go ahead and get ready for Internment because I have a feeling that Samira Ahmed will be drinking our tears.

9. ‎The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Publication date: May 14, 2019

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Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

• • •

Look, I tried okay? This list was supposed to be just about non-fantasy books but I can’t help myself. How was I able to miss this book on my previous lists?? Now I’m correcting that mistake. The Candle and the Flame deserves a spot here because it’s a book that boasts magic and a strong female MC. AND LOOK AT THAT COVER. A lowlife such as me doesn’t deserve to be in the same world as that beauty.

10. ‎Stronger than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Publication date: June 11, 2019

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When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

• • •

If someone drops a book title with “dragon” in it, expect me to come running. Okay, I have a feeling that this book DOESN’T focus on dragons but hey, it’s better than zero. Even without the dragons, I would’ve been sold just by the phrase “across the land and into the Courts of Hell”. Can you hear that hum? That’s a sound of an upcoming epic book. DON’T YOU DARE IGNORE IT.

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10 more books for your TBR yahoo! (yes there are still people who say “yahoo”) I’m sure your TBR is so tall right now that it’s just one step away from toppling over and smashing you to dragon putty. THIS IS OUR LIFE. We all have to embrace it.

I hope this post was helpful to you (yes increasing your TBR pile is helping). LET’S SUPPORT ASIAN AUTHORS, OKAY? They’re all going to save your 2019.

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What are your most-anticipated non-fantasy books written by Asian authors? What book are you looking forward to the most in my list? Tell me your thoughts below! 

12 thoughts on “MORE 2019 BOOKS BY ASIAN AUTHORS YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR”

  1. I can’t wait for The Weight of Our Sky. It’ll feel so much closer to home (geographically) and it’ll be the first time that I read a book set in KL. Also, can’t wait for The Candle and The Flame, it sounds like it’s going to be an awesome story.

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  2. OMG YES so many of these on my TBR!!!
    And I actually got an ARC fir There’s Something About Sweetie AND OH MY GOD YOU WILL LOVW IT JUST PURE FLUFF AND ADORABLE CHARACTERS!!

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