Hi everyone! I’ve been seeing this 5 star predictions posts EVERYWHERE and always wanted to give it a try. I also drafted a post about 2021 releases by Asian authors that I planned to post during the Lunar New Year, but I missed the moment so I decided why not combine the two of them?? So today I’m going to share with you 7 books by Asian authors that are going to be released in 2021 and I’m 10000% SURE will love.
Let’s get this post going!
01. XOXO by Axie Oh
Synopsis: Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
Why: Even typing this post make me SO EXCITED because it just sounds perfect??? One night adventure that reminds me of Before Sunrise and when they meet again, it turns out the love interest is the biggest k-pop idol??
02. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Synopsis: Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries in this irresistible story about Izumi, a Japanese-American girl who discovers her senior year of high school that she’s really a princess of Japan.
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?
Why: It might say Crazy Rich Asians meet Princess Diaries, but it also gives me Princess Hours vibes! Plus, I always empathize with characters who felt like they’re not “enough” for both sides of their family so I can see myself connecting with the character already.
03. Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Synopsis: Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.
A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.
It’s the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding.
A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested.
But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.
And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.
Why: I’ve discovered my love for horror and thriller last year and have been in the mood to read more! This cover gives me nightmares but that’s exactly why I added it. And since Japanese horror always scared the crap out of me, I know I’m going to have a fantastic time being scared by this book!
04. Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap
Synopsis: “Am I dead?”
Mebuyen sighs. She was hoping the girl would not ask.
Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, “A Spell for Foolish Hearts” to the terrifying tension of the urban legend “Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.”
Why: More horror! As with Nothing But Blackened Teeth, this book sounds deliciously creepy- especially with urban legends type of stories.
05. How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
Synopsis: In a YA thriller that is Crazy Rich Asians meets One of Us is Lying, students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.
Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.
They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.
Why: At this point, anything comped with Crazy Rich Asians is an instant TBR for me, but How We Fell Apart is so much more: prep school! murder! secrets! It’s something I’m always in the mood for tbh.
06. Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan
Synopsis: Told in a dual POV narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by East Asian mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.
Her Destiny. His Revenge.
In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic.
Why: Comped with ATLA is already enough for me to add this book to my TBR, but the fact that everyone has been screaming zutara?? Watch me running to the nearest bookstore on its release date.
07. Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto
Synopsis: A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.
1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!
When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.
But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?
Why: Last but not least; in fact, this is the book that inspired this whole post! I’m super excited for this one because it will be the first Indonesian book I can read AND review on this blog, since it will be written in English. Not only this book has Indo rep, but specifically Chinese-Indonesian which is me???? I’m so excited to see myself in the pages and to be able to share them with the rest of the world. Watch me promote this book in every post until its release date 😂
Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Can you predict any of your 5 star reads?