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Diverse YA Books @ SCF Libraries: Asian American & Pacific Lit for YA

Recommended books for young adults (13+ years old)

Recommended YA Titles* by and about Asian Americans

American Born Chinese

"American Born Chinese" tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. 

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's a Fractional Persian-half, his mom's side-and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. Darius has never really fit in at home, and he's sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn't exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root--that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.  But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown.

The Night Diary

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries- Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home.

We Are Not Free

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco.   Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted.   Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.   In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.

A Single Shard

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch'ulp'o, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter's craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated -- until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min's irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself -- even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min's work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

A Time to Dance

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance--so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who's grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers.

Written in the Stars

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila's fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Almost American Girl

For as long as she can remember, it's been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation, Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes.

A Pho Love Story

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families' age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.

Disclaimer

*What does "recommended" mean?

To be included in this page, books have been read and selected by SCF professional librarians, who recommends them for quality, originality, and portrayal of the culture represented.

*What does YA mean?

Books in this guide are intended mainly for teenagers: 13-19 years old. Of course, people of all ages might enjoy them, but the maturity level and themes addressed in these books have special appeal for that age group. 

*Disclaimer:

The books on this list are recommended by librarians and have received major awards or accolades. SCF Collegiate School students in grades 6-10 check out books under the supervision of the CS teachers. SCF Collegiate School students taking college-level classes have free access to these resources.