After a week of eyeballing this challenge (in between studying for exams, and actually taking my exams part of this week & next week) and starting two books on my compiled list already (because procrastination!), I think it’s about time I made a solid list of the books I’d like to read for Asian Lit Bingo this month. However, since it’s a bingo challenge, I’ll only be focusing on 5 books and occasionally highlighting other books from different spots on the board that I loved. If you’ve read any of the ones I’ve chosen, let me know what you think! If you’re doing a different row or column for this month’s challenge, let me know what books you chose! I’m always looking for new recommendations and so many have been suggested to me already that I had never heard of before. Credits and a cacophony of shout-outs to the original creator of the challenge, Shenwei at Reading (As)(I)an (Am)erican (thank you, you’re awesome!) Without further ado…
I’ve decided to focus on 3-across for my bingo, but I’ll also be using other weekly tags such as my Mid-Week Mini Review, Book Traveling Thursday, and Standalone Sunday to highlight books that fill different spots on this board. If you’re looking for recommendations for other spots, keep checking back here for links to my reviews as I upload them throughout the month! ♥
→ SFF with Asian MC: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
To be honest: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Star-Touched Queen. I thought there was a lot that it could have, should have done, but did not. So far, I’ve heard that the follow-up and end of this duology has everything I wanted from the first book and did not get, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to give it a shot. (If you’ve read it, please let me know what you think in the comments. Motivate me to pick up this book!)
→ Historical Fiction with Asian MC: Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
I’ve already read two of Stacey Lee’s follow-up novels, but haven’t had a chance to pick up the debut that made her a staple of young adult literature. I’m a big fan of Gold Rush era stories, so I have no doubt I’ll love this one just as much as what came after.
→ Free Space: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Also a part of my Beat the Backlist Challenge for 2017, Everything I Never Told You is one of those books that I don’t see often on young adult lists (despite being marketed as a young adult book?) but is one that is recommended by fellow bloggers again and again. I’m glad to finally be picking this up, and yes, I have tissue boxes on hand just in case.
→ Retelling with Asian MC: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace. Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
I am super excited for Flame in the Mist to come out on the 16th, and have been very much looking forward to this reimagining of Mulan by the same author who retold another of my favorite myths not that long ago. Plus, I’ve heard all good things so far, so I have high hopes for this new release!
→ Contemporary with Asian MC: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
I bought the Target edition of this book that has a playlist AND 3 recipes in the back to make baked goods while I read! Is this not the greatest thing ever?! I can’t wait! ♥
That’s my list! Are you participating in this challenge? What books are on your Asian Lit Bingo list? Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Happy blogging!