20 Books by Asian Authors to Read in 2021

A collage of the covers included in this article

Make room, readers, your 2021 TBR is about to be stacked! We rounded up 20 books by Asian authors hitting shelves in 2021—some are available now, and you can look forward to the others over the next few months. Whether you prefer romance, YA, mystery, literary fiction, or fantasy, there’s a book here for you.

Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow

On shelves this August, Kat Chow’s memoir explores the bonds of family, the weight of loss, and moving forward. After her mother died of cancer in 2004, Chow began closely examining her mother’s life—from her childhood in China to her marriage and life in Connecticut to her final days.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Romance readers have been eagerly awaiting Helen Hoang’s third novel, and this summer they’ll be able to reunite with Quan Diep and meet Anna Sun, the woman who will steal his heart. What starts as a one-night stand spirals into something far more as Quan and Anna realize their feelings for each other go beyond attraction.

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

Sujata Massey takes readers to 1920s Bombay in the Perveen Mistry series. In this third volume, the arrival of Edward VIII sparks protests in the streets to speak out against colonial rule. Meanwhile, Perveen, India’s first and only female lawyer, is working to uncover the truth behind the death of an 18-year-old student.

We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen

Lena Nguyen’s debut is perfect for fans of both psychological thrillers and science fiction. The survey ship Deucalion is traveling towards an icy planet to assess its living conditions. But when a storm leaves the crew trapped onboard, psychologist Dr. Grace Park notices both humans and androids acting strangely.

Rising Like a Storm by Tanaz Bhathena

Tanaz Bhathena’s YA fantasy duology is coming to an end this summer. Set in a world inspired by medieval India, this final volume catches up with Gul and Cavas, whose role in the late king’s death has made them enemies of the new queen. When Cavas is captured, it’s up to Gul to raise an army to save him and all of Ambar.

The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler

After her father’s death, Lexa Thomas learns that she’s been left an estate in Taiwan. She hasn’t returned in years, not since a disastrous trip that left her estranged from her Taiwanese family. Though she’s unsure of the welcome she’ll receive, she decides to travel across the world from New York to return to the place she once hoped to call home.

The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu

Looking for a sweet treat? Pick up Julie Tieu’s rom-com debut! Jasmine Tran is working at her parents’ donut shop and dreaming of a break from her dull routine. The shakeup she hoped for comes in the form of Alex Lai, her college crush. Could he be what she’s been searching for?

Mimi Lee Cracks the Code by Jennifer J. Chow

Mimi Lee, her boyfriend Josh, and their cat Marshmallow think they’ve lucked out when a client offers them a getaway at her island vacation home. Unfortunately, their fun is cut short when the last renter is found dead. Cozy mystery readers will want to make room on their TBRs this November for the third Sassy Cat Mystery!

The Archer by Shruti Swamy

Shruti Swamy transports readers to 1960s and ’70s Bombay in this coming-of-age novel. It follows Vidya throughout her life as she finds herself torn between the expectations placed on her by her family and society and her deep love of Kathak, a demanding and stunning form of dance.

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso

The Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy comes to a dramatic and thrilling close this season. New readers will want to start with book one, while those who have been following since the start will be eager to reunite with Queen Talyien to see how she maintains her hold on the throne.

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles

Janella Angeles returns this October with the second book in the Kingdom of Cards series. The competition may be over, but danger still lurks around every corner for Kallia, who is now trapped in a strange world by a powerful magician. Meanwhile, Daron is determined to find her, no matter how treacherous the journey.

Hard Sell by Hudson Lin

Romance readers who enjoy the best friend’s brother trope won’t want to miss Hudson Lin’s Hard Sell. Danny is shocked to come face-to-face with Tobin at WesTec, the company he’s looking to acquire. They haven’t seen each other since the one heated night they spent together, and they’re both about to realize one night wasn’t enough.

Version Zero by David Yoon

David Yoon’s adult debut follows a tech genius working at a social media company, who begins to question the ethics behind the data being gathered from members and sold. Fired and blacklisted for speaking up, Max teams up with his old coworker, Akiko, to take the company down.

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

Sanjena Sathian’s debut is a coming-of-age tale with a hint of magic. As teenagers, Anita Dayal and her neighbor Neil Narayan brewed a potion to harness ambition that had tragic consequences. When they reunite years later, they decide to try again in the hopes of helping Anita’s mother.

Hollywood Heroine by Sarah Kuhn

The fifth installment of Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series reunites readers with superheroines Evie, Aveda, and Bea! Evie and Aveda are on their way to LA to oversee the filming of the TV show inspired by their adventures. But a superheroine’s work is never done, and soon they’re investigating a supernatural threat.

The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Logan believes he knows his classmate Delilah based on what he sees on her social media. But when he witnesses her kill her abusive stepfather, he realizes that there’s far more to her than he ever imagined. Jesse Q. Sutanto’s YA thriller is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until you’ve turned the final page.

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara’s latest historical mystery transports readers to 1944 and draws from true events. Chicago police claim that Rose died by suicide, but her sister Aki Ito (newly arrived from California) doesn’t believe them and starts to comb the city for clues as to what really happened.

The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale

The premise of Lillie Vale’s rom-com debut is certain to grab the attention of romance readers: To prove to her mother that she’s over her ex, Rita Chitniss signs herself and her boyfriend up for a Desi matchmaking site to show that they’re the perfect match. She’s shocked when the site instead pairs her with her ex, Milan.

The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart

Readers who devoured Andrea Stewart’s debut, The Bone Shard Daughter, will want to clear their schedules this fall when the sequel releases. Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne, but discovers that ruling comes with far more problems than she bargained for—from the mistrust of her people to a gathering rebel army.

An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi

Bestselling author Tahereh Mafi returns this summer with a young adult novel set in 2003, months after the United States declared war on Iraq. Shadi, a Muslim high schooler who wears a hijab, struggles to pretend everything is alright while navigating a broken heart and caring for a grieving mother.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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